Privacy policy, and the interaction of privacy protection with other policy.

Privacy Commissioner of Canada awards $388,319 for research on privacy issues

A July 14, 2006 press release from Privacy Commissioner of Canada documents the awarding of $388,319 for research on privacy issues. This includes $50,000 to CIPPIC for "Digital Rights Management Technologies and Consumer Privacy: A Canadian Market Survey and Privacy Impact Assessment. Research use of Digital Rights Management technology in Canada and assess privacy implications."

Toronto Star: Privacy chief eyes U.S. border

A Toronto Star article by Tara Perkins includes:

Philippa Lawson, a lawyer and executive director of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, is asking a court to overturn the Privacy Commissioner Office's finding that it did not have the jurisdiction to investigate a complaint against a U.S.-based website that was selling personal information about Canadians.
Court documents filed by Lawson say "this case is about the scope of Canadians' legal privacy protection when a commercial organization with a foreign business address reaches into Canada to collect personal information about Canadians and discloses that information to other Canadians."

CBA Denounces Surveillance Bill

This Skyck article by Drew Wilson includes:

While many concerns have been raised over what was in Bill C-60, concerns are starting to surface over what was specifically in Bill C-74. These concerns come from the CBA (Canadian Bar Association).
According to the open letter, there was a concern over "a trend by internet service providers (ISPs) to monitor or investigate their customers' communications, similar to proposals in Bill C-74 from the 38th session of Parliament, the Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act

Bell Sympatico's "monitoring" announcement has privacy advocates worried

This ITWorld Canada article by Nestor E. Arellano includes:

A statement by a major Canadian Internet service provider that it will be monitoring customers' cyber activities for possible reporting to government agencies has sparked concern among privacy advocates.
"Lawful access is in the books," said Philippa Lawson, executive director of Ottawa-based Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) referring to a controversial bill covering access to information by enforcement agencies.
Current lawful access provisions embodied in the Criminal Code, already allow law enforcement agencies to conduct searches and seizure of information through a court order. The proposed update, seeks to allow authorities to obtain specific subscriber data from telecom service providers (TSP) even without a warrant or court order.

Census officials must explain online security

I was pleased that the Ottawa Citizen printed my letter to the editor today. Below is the original draft for your reading pleasure.

Census officials must explain online security
Re: Privacy Paramount, June 06

In response to the Director General of the Census’ letter, I would like to set the record straight on some critical points concerning data confidentiality. Security through obscurity is no security at all. Likewise trust built on secrecy is no trust at all.

Last month, Statistics Canada conducted the census for the first time with the ability to respond online – an option which they vigorously promoted. However, did you ever stop to ask yourself, “How exactly do they secure my data?” The answer is: no one in the public knows, you’ll just have to trust them.

Canada’s Privacy Community Releases Open Letter, Background Paper on Copyright and Technological Threats to Privacy

(Covered by p2pnet,


Canada’s Privacy Community Releases Open Letter, Background Paper on Copyright and Technological Threats to Privacy

Privacy Commissioners of Canada, Ontario and British Columbia Release Own Letters of Concern

Ottawa, ON – May 17, 2006 – A group of public-interest oriented organizations and privacy and civil liberties experts have released an open letter to the Ministers of Canadian Heritage and Industry along with a Background Paper detailing their concerns over how proposed changes to Canadian copyright law implicate privacy, freedom of expression and civil liberties. The open letter focuses on dangers to privacy posed by the extension of legal protection to “digital rights management” (DRM) technology.

The census online application now accessible to Linux operating system

A notice on the Census Website indicates that, "In response to demand, Statistics Canada has removed the restriction for Linux. This change takes effect May 13th, 2006."

While this addresses those who were concerned about Linux, this does not address the most critical concerns that have been expressed.

a) The vendor dependency still exists, which is the requirement for "Java virtual machine (JVM) from Sun Microsystems Inc. (Version 1.4.2_3 or higher), Microsoft virtual machine (any version), or Apple JVM (1.4.2_5 or higher)". This is a programming language option that is not installed on and/or available for all computers. This creates a technical barrier not only for those using alternative computing platforms, but for the majority of citizens who are not technical people who could download/install additional programming languages on their computer.

Computers, Freedom, and Privacy Conference Reviewed

The venerable TidBITS mailing list, a Macintosh computer-oriented list operating since 1990, sent members to the 16th annual Computers, Freedom, and Privacy Conference (CFP) in Washington DC last week, one of whom posted a revealing conference rewiew in this week's issue.

TidBITS 828: "CFP 2006: Life, Liberty and Digital Rights"

The conference is typically an intense 4 days of discussions and presentations on privacy, security, social, and technical issues. The reviewer states that if you want a "master's degree in privacy and social issues related to technology, and you only have four days, CFP is an excellent bet." A wide range of critical international topics were covered this year, from current NSA wiretapping practices, privacy & the constitutionality of surveillance and the state of laws to this effect in Canada, the US & EU, DRM & Fair Use, Electronic Voting Systems, Cell Phone Tracking, and more.

Everyone Wants to 'Own' Your PC

Bruce Schneier is the CTO of Counterpane Internet Security and the author of Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World.

His recent article for Wired Magazine includes:

When technology serves its owners, it is liberating. When it is designed to serve others, over the owner's objection, it is oppressive. There's a battle raging on your computer right now -- one that pits you against worms and viruses, Trojans, spyware, automatic update features and digital rights management technologies. It's the battle to determine who owns your computer.

Study shows widespread violation of privacy laws

NEWS RELEASE: Ottawa, May 1, 2006
(See also: Ottawa Citizen,

Study shows widespread violation of privacy laws

In a report released today, the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) provides the results of the first Canadian survey assessing the compliance of retailers with data protection laws. The results show widespread non-compliance with federal laws requiring openness, accountability, consent, and individual access to personal data.

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