understanding the importance and impact of anonymity and authentication in a networked society
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Ian Kerr 







Ian Kerr
Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law & Technology – University of Ottawa
Principal Investigator

Stream 1 - nature and value of identity, anonymity and authentication

Stream 2 - constitutional and legal aspects of anonymity

e-mail: iankerr(at)uottawa.ca


Prior to his appointment to the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa in 2000, Ian Kerr held a joint appointment in the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of Information & Media Studies and the Department of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario. His devotion to teaching has earned six awards and citations, including the Bank of Nova Scotia Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the University of Western Ontario’s Faculty of Graduate Studies’ Award of Teaching Excellence, and the University of Ottawa’s AEECLSS Teaching Excellence Award. Professor Kerr currently teaches a graduate seminar in the LLM concentration in law and technology (Technoprudence: Legal Theory in an Information Age), as well as a unique seminar offered each year during the month of January in Puerto Rico that brings students from very different legal traditions together to exchange culture, values, and ideas and to unite in the study of technology law issues of global importance (TechnoRico). Professor Kerr also teaches in the areas of moral philosophy and applied ethics, internet and ecommerce law, contract law and legal theory.

In 2001, Professor Kerr was awarded the Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law and Technology. He has published writings in academic books and journals on ethical and legal aspects of digital copyright, automated electronic commerce, artificial intelligence, cybercrime, nanotechnology, internet regulation, ISP and intermediary liability, online defamation, pre-natal injuries and unwanted pregnancies. His current program of research includes two large projects: (i) On the Identity Trail, supported by one of the largest ever grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, focusing on the impact of information and authentication technologies on our identity and our right to be anonymous; and (ii) An Examination of Digital Copyright, supported by a large private sector grant from Bell Canada and the Ontario Research Network in Electronic Commerce, focusing on various aspects of the current effort to reform Canadian copyright legislation, including the implications of such reform on fundamental Canadian values including privacy and freedom of expression.

Dr. Kerr is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Academic Coordinating Committee of the Centre for Innovation Law and Policy, the Centre for Ethics and Values, the Canadian Association of Law Teachers, the Canadian Bar Association, and the Uniform Law Commission of Canada’s Special Working Group on Electronic Commerce. He is an associate editor of Kluwer’s Electronic Commerce Research Journal, a guest editor for Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments (MIT Press), and sits as a member on the Advisory Board of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic and on the Advisory Board of Butterworths’ Canadian Internet and E-Commerce Law Newsletter. He is also co-author of Managing the Law (Prentice Hall), a business law text used by thousands of students each year at universities across Canada.

Read our interview with Ian Kerr



"DRM {and/or/vs.} PRIVACY: musical lessons for the electronic health care record", keynote address presented at the Pan-Canadian Privacy Forum on EHR Information Governance, Toronto, November 14. 

"smells like teen spirit: emanations, snoop dogs & reasonable expectations of privacy" presented at the CIPPIC Summer Seminar Series, July 11, 2007.

"Tessling on my brain: reasonable expectation of privacy, technology, & the future" presented at “A Reasonable Expectation of Privacy? You be the Judge!”, Workshop presented at the Computers, Freedom & Privacy Conference, Montréal, May 1, 2007.

"New Identifiers for Victims of Abuse" presented at the Shirley Greenberg Chair for Women and the Legal Profession Greenberg Lunch-Time Workshop, University of Ottawa, March 14, 2007.

"Using Implantable RFID to link Patients to Health Records" presented at the Electronic Health Information & Privacy Conference, Ottawa, November 13, 2006.

"Health Privacy, Patient Autonomy and the Coming Merger of Humans and Machines" presented at Dalhousie University Health Law Institute Health Law and Policy Seminar Series, Halifax, October 20, 2006. 

"Soft Surveillance, Hard Consent" presented at the Ontario Bar Association Year End Meeting, Toronto, June 20th, 2006.

"add this to your cart? digital locks and autopia/myopia/distopia" presented at "Who Can You Trust? Privacy and Security is Everyone's Responsibility," the 7th Annual Privacy and Security Conference,  Victoria, BC, February 10, 2006. 

"anonymity, smart networks and the internet for dummies" presented at IP3: Intellectual Property, Innovation Policies and International Perspectives Conference, December 10, 2005.  

"digital copyright reform & the piracy of personal information" presented at the Third International Conference on the Intellectual Property Protection of High Technology: Intellectual Property Protection of Computer Software at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, on December 9, 2005.

"stuck in the middle with you: isps, p2p & cybercrime" presented at Bell Canada Enterprises Innovations Breakfast Series in Toronto on December 2, 2005.

"On the Identity Trail: Anonymity and Authentication in a Networked Society," presented at the PRIME Meeting of the Social Scientific Research Working Group at the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society, Tilburg University, The Netherlands, on November 25, 2005.

"Add This to Your Cart: DRM and Autopia/Myopia/Distopia" presented at 6th Annual Privacy and Security Workshop, Privacy and Security: Disclosure, University of Toronto on November 3, 2005.

"TPMS, DRMS, COPYRIGHT REFORM & PRIVACY," presented to the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal Education Seminar: Intellectual Property, April 22, 2005.

"dognymity" presented at Privacy and Identity: The Promise and Perils of a Technological Age, DePaul College of Law Center for Property Law & Technology Symposium, Chicago, October 15, 2004.

"Automation & Ecommerce: How Turing's Fast Friends are Under-Mining Consumer Privacy," presented at the Instituut voor Informatierecht at the Universiteit Van Amsterdam, June 25, 2004.

"Anonymity, Identity and the Role of Libraries and other Info-Mediaries," presented at Freedom 2.0: Distributed Democracy, Washington D.C., May 22, 2004.

"Chief Treasures of the World: what happens when law is used to protect the technologies that protect copyright" presented at The Seventh ETHICOMP International Conference on the Social and Ethical Impacts of Information and Communication Technologies, Syros, Greece, April 16, 2004 (presenation with Jane Bailey).


“Emanations, Snoop Dogs and Reasonable Expectation of Privacy” (2007) 52:3Criminal Law Quarterly 392-432 (co-authored with Jena McGill)

“The Medium and the Message: Personal Privacy and the Forced Marriage of Police and Telecommunications Providers” (2006) 51:4 Criminal Law Quarterly 469-507 (co-authored with Daphne Gilbert and Jena McGill)

"Soft Surveillance, Hard Consent" (2006) 6 Personally Yours 1-14 (co-authored with Jennifer Barrigar, Jacquelyn Burkell and Katie Black)

"Hacking@Privacy: Anti-Circumvention Laws, DRM and the Piracy of Personal Information" (2005) Privacy Law Review

"Two Years On the Identity Trail" (2005) Canadian Privacy Law Review (co-authored with Hilary Young) 

"BuddyBots: How Turing's Fast-Friends are Under-Mining Consumer Privacy" (2005) 14 Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments 647-655 (co-authored with Marcus Bornfruend)

"If Left to Their Own Devices…How DRM and Anti-Circumvention Laws Can Be Used to Hack Privacy" in In the Public Interest: The Future of Canadian Copyright Law (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2005)

"Not So Crazy About the Chips" in Innovate Magazine, Centre for Innovation Law and Policy, Spring 2005.

"Not That Much Room? Nanotechnology, Networks and the Politics of Dancing” (2004) 12 Health Law Journal  103-123 (co-authored with Goldie Bassi)

"Bots, Babes, and the Californication of Commerce" (2004) 1 University of Ottawa Law and Technology Journal  285-324.

"Building a Broader Nano-Network" (2004) 12 Alberta Health Law Review 57-63. (co-authored with Goldie Bassie)

"The Implications of Digital Rights Managemen for Privacy and Freedom of Expression"  (2004) 2:2 Info, Comm & Ethics in Society 87 (co-authored with Jane Bailey)

"Virtual playgrounds and buddybots: a data-minefield for tinys & tweeneys," Panopticon, The 15th Annual Conference on Computers, Freedom & Privacy, Keeping an Eye on the Panopticon: Workshop on Vanishing Anonymity, Seattle, April 12, 2005. [co-authored with Valerie Steeves]

" NYMITY, P2P & ISPS: Lessons from BMG Canada Inc. v. John Doe" in Privacy and Technologies of Identity: A Cross-Disciplinary Conversation, ed. K.J. Strandburg and D.S. Raicu (New York: Springer, 2005).  [co-authoured with Alex Cameron]

"The Role of ISPs in the Investigation of Cybercrime," in Information Ethics in an Electronic Age: Current Issues in Africa and the World, ed. Thomas Mendina and Johannes Brtiz (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland Press, 2004. [co-authored with Daphne Gilbert]

.:works in progress:.

"TO OBSERVE AND PROTECT?  How Digital Rights Management Systems Threaten Privacy and What Policy Makers Should Do About It" PENULTIMATE DRAFT of a chapter forthcoming in Intellectual Property and Information Wealth: Copyright and Related Rights (vol.1), Edited by Peter Yu, Praeger Publishers, 2007.

"Let’s Not Get Psyched Out of Privacy: Reflections on Withdrawing Consent to the Collection, Use and Disclosure of Personal Information" (2007) 40 Canadian Journal of Business Law  (forthcoming) (co-authored with Jennifer Barrigar and Jacquelyn Burkell)


.:id trail mix:.


Too Many Cameras 

HACKING@PRIVACY: Why We Need Protection From The Technologies That Protect Copyright 

my way, or the spyway? 

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Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

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