Lawful Access

Proposals to give "law enforcement" surveillance capabilities over communications networks without the need for warrants or necessary checks and balances.

Does it Matter Where Your Data Lives?

This is a question that Michael Geist asks in his blog, and I have problems with the focus of this article. The suggestion is that the physical location of where the CPU, RAM and hard disks data is stored on should be our primary concern.

The primary concern should be who controls the software authors who write the software that accesses and manipulates our data. While there are a narrow set of circumstances where geography of the hardware matters, the reality is that we need to be able to trust the vendors who write the software running on computers physically located close to us as much as we do cloud software services.

Privacy/security battleground in your computer, not just on network and in cloud

I want to highlight and frame something said by Christopher Parsons in a recent interview on CDNTech network.  When asked about encryption (time 6:12), he clarified that surveillance will most often involve going around encryption, such as by installing malware on the computer of the person being surveilled.  The alternative would be to intercept the communication on the network or as stored in the cloud, and try to decrypt.

This should point to an often forgotten truth:  that the question of who controls your computer is just as, if not more, important than how Internet Access Providers (IAP's) or services (Facebook, Google, etc) are regulated when it comes to protecting your rights and interests.

(Un)Lawful Access Legislation – Ottawa Forum on Feb 8

FORUM LOCATION: Wednesday, Feb. 8 Amphitheatre - St. Paul University 223 Main Street, Ottawa, ON 6-10 pm

More information via

OECD Public Consultation

The OECD has launched a public consultation for the Ministerial Meeting on the Future of the Internet Economy.

There's a preparatory meeting in Ottawa 3rd October, with various options for online participation, and there's an online questionnaire asking for comments in 4 areas :
* Using the Internet to improve future economic performance and social welfare
* Benefiting from convergence
* Fuelling [sic] creativity
* Building confidence

The dangers of Lawful Access

A superb illustration of the risks of mandating that a system be easily wiretapped by law enforcement has just been published.
(There's still a very strong push for lawful access legislation in Canada).

The lawful access infrastructure in the Greek phone system was used by persons unknown to tap the phones of over 100 people, including the Prime Minister, the Mayor of Athens, and an employee of the US embassy.

All the gory details are in the article in IEEE Spectrum

Tech-thinkers stand on guard for all of us

A Business Edge News Magazine article by Tom Keenan talks about a recent Computers Freedom & Privacy conference in Montreal earlier this month.

The previous Liberal government introduced a bill to force Internet service providers to help spy on Canadians. It died on the order paper and the Harper government has not re-introduced it. However, Liberal MP Marlene Jennings gave first reading to a substantially similar bill this past March.

It's sure to inspire controversy, and you can track the bun fight at, the excellent website of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. The majority of the CFP gurus don't like the idea one bit.

Emily of the State - Internet Spying Short

The Comedy Group Cynically Tested has a video called Emily of the State that talks about some of the harm of the mis-labeled "lawful access" style legislation which the Liberals re-introduced as official opposition in the current minority government. (Current bill: C-416: An Act regulating telecommunications facilities to facilitate the lawful interception of information transmitted by means of those facilities and respecting the provision of telecommunications subscriber information)

The video is great, but was written on the assumption that the Conservative Party would introduce a bill after the Liberal bill dropped from the order paper due to the previous election. In fact, the Liberal party re-introduced their proposal as a private-members bill, with it being the Liberal party, not the Conservative party, that are pushing this specific attack on our rights.

Canadian Surveillance Bill Returns

Drew Wilson has published an article on Slyck that describes the private members bill tabled by the Liberals (Specifically Marlene Jennings, Liberal "Justice" critic) to increasing surveillance on online activities, and circumvent much of the privacy rights of Canadians.

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.

Election 2006 leaves technology legislation in limbo

This article by Shane Schick includes:

With Martin's government near collapse, the fate of Bill C-60 and Lawful Access hangs in the balance. Legal experts tell us what to expect after Canadians hit the polls again

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