Unmanned Air Vehicles
Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs), or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs), more commonly known as drones, are estimated to become a $100-$260 million industry in Canada by 2020. There is an increase in the number of individuals and companies that are interested in getting into commercial drone operations, but many do not know where to start. There is concern with privacy issues and potential liability. The federal drone regulations in Canada can be confusing and are due to undergo a complete overhaul in the Spring of 2017. In addition to Transport Canada, a number of other federal, provincial and municipal bodies are purporting to regulate the use of drones even for recreational use.
As part of its commitment to emerging technology, Field Law has developed a highly qualified group of lawyers with particular knowledge and experience relating to drone law both for commercial and recreational use. Our team can assist clients with advancing their business and personal interests to navigate the legal landscape for drone use including contractual, insurance, privacy, and intellectual property issues.
Field Law has now established one of the first drone practices in the country and was involved in the first case ever to address the federal drone regulation in Canada. Our lawyers have spoken on drone law issues in the US and across Canada.
Massive losses involving billions of dollars are being suffered because of cyber security and cyber-liability issues. Online hackers, negligence and environmental disasters have caused enormous losses to computer functions and data, as well as loss or theft of confidential computer records. This has become a serious problem in an age where people and organizations are becoming increasingly dependent on computers, electronic data and data transmission. More and more organizations are moving towards the paperless workplace. There has been rapid growth of online or electronic businesses. Many goods and services are now offered online where purchasers are required to disclose personal information that can become shared across connected multiple platforms. All of this has led to increased risks of breach of privacy, identity theft, fraud, cyber-extortion and inference with computerized operations of production lines, motor vehicles and medical devices (such as insulin pumps, pacemakers, and defibrillators). Fifty percent of business report having been the subject of a cyber-attack of which sixty percent of those have been small and medium-sized operations.
There has been an exponentially increasing amount of litigation, including multi-million dollar class action claims with respect to such losses. Canadian courts are recognizing new causes of action for privacy breaches. There has been a proliferation of dedicated insurance policies becoming available for the protection of organizations from cyber claims. Every organization’s needs for such insurance coverage are unique in terms of its particular systems (software and hardware) and its institutional culture such that selecting the appropriate insurance policy is a complex task. Organizations facing such claims are also seeking to rely on tradition forms of insurance policies which were not developed with cyber-liability in mind, which presents insurers with many challenges in determining whether or not their policies must respond to such claims.
Field Law lawyers are well versed with the issues of cyber-liability (including breach of privacy) as well as related insurance issues. We can assist our clients in determining their insurance needs. We are capable of prosecuting or defending cyber-liability and related insurance claims. We can provide legal advice as part of an organization’s team for assessing the organization’s cyber risk strategy, including the acquisition of appropriate insurance coverage.
Self-Driving and Autonomous Vehicles
Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) are a technology under rapid development and are of immense interest to both commercial and private users. Most vehicles sold today have some autonomous features, but this is quickly changing. Globally, at least 30 companies are working to make completely autonomous vehicles come true. Fully autonomous vehicles promise many benefits including safer travel, lower operational costs, lower emissions, and less traffic congestion.
AVs also pose a number of challenges and risks such as privacy of data, the legal & ethical dilemmas posed by collisions involving AVs, how to regulate the parameters of a driverless/autonomous vehicle, how insurance will adapt to the technology, and how to prevent “hacking” of such vehicles. Several countries already have laws in place to allow AVs to operate for testing and on public roads. Canada will follow suit.
Field Law has an in depth understanding of what a legal framework for autonomous vehicles will look like in Canada and is well prepared to assist its clients and others who can benefit from this technology to adapt and take advantage of the efficiencies that AVs will have to offer.
The Emerging Technology Group offers its client the opportunity to stay up to date and prepared for the introduction of AVs in Canada by offering lunch and learn sessions on the latest legislative movements, insurance trends and technology developments both here at home and globally.