Canadian Law

Lawful Access – Consumer Unfriendly

The Conservative Government wishes to re-introduce legislation enabling law enforcement to access online communications without a warrant.

They believe that this would help them combat terrorism and crime. But unfortunately they may rely on internet providers to retain information on their behalf, which could be costly for the consumer because the internet providers would require more equipment and personel to do so.

In searching for illicit activity online our internet providers will be required to store vast amounts of information and these extra expendatures will be passed down to their subscribers.

According to a 2002 Statistics Canada report, law enforcement are hindered by the use of pseunomyms, anonymous remailers, dial-up connections and public wi-fi.

One can only imagine how much information would be required to keep track of suspects that use “public Internet stations in airports, bus depots, libraries, cyber-caf├ęs and convenience stores” alone, examples mentioned in the report.

Anyone using any of the above mentioned services would have their information catalogued and accessible for cross referencing and analysis, which is not only a burden on resources at the internet providers but may result in a violation of our privacy laws according to the Office Of The Privacy Commissioner Of Canada.

In an October 27th, 2009 letter to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, the Privacy Commissioner stated :

“Though isolated anecdotes abound, and extreme incidents are generally referred to, no systematic case has yet been made that demonstrates a need to circumvent the current legal regime for judicial authorization to obtain personal information. Before all else, law enforcement and national security authorities need to explain how the current provisions on judicial warrants do not meet their needs.”

The aforementioned 2002 Statistics Canada report may claim a lack of standard in cybercrime statistics, possibly resulting in a lack of classification or reporting of these crimes. But crime in Canada is down according to this June 2011 Statistics Canada report.

These costly, potentially insecure systems, are not required. Law enforcement has managed quite well with the current regulations, even with their limited manpower, and the flood of information will probably overwhelm them requiring costly automation.

This is, in my opinion, not the way to go. And this is why i’ve signed the following Openmedia.ca petition :

Please sign the above petition and contact your local Member of Parliament about this issue as soon as possible, preferably before September 19th. Thank you.

Is Your Internet Provider Net Neutral ?

Does your internet provider throttle traffic to and from legitimate sites because of favoritism ? Are they trying to steer you to specific sites by slowing down connections to and from those other sites ?

Internet providers are supposed to be neutral. But of course how does someone find out when they aren’t ? They certainly wont admit to doing it and no technology exists to analyze their transfers. Right ?

Well, researcher Dan Kaminsky has been working on a program called N00ter to do this.

Basically it times transfers to and from sites using different methods and compares the resulting information to find throttling.

Additional information on this new program can be found on Forbes.

4G Deals Near The Border ?

AllthingsD reported that the Canadian and American government has struck a deal to share the 700 MHz band along the border. This may result in 4G wireless broadband service deals for communities along the border after the implementation of digital television in Canada on September 1st.

Scammers On The Prowl

Warning – If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the “Software Maintenance Department of Online PC Care“, do not give them any information and do not give them access to your computer.

I’ve been receiving calls from these India based scam artists and identity thieves for a while now. And the routine is generally the same.

They call you at random from an VOIP site based in the states and with an Indian accent claim to be calling people in your city in regards to software that is alledgely downloading material without your knowledge or consent.

They ask you for five minutes of your time and ask to gain access to your computer remotely to correct the alledged issue. Then they proceed to install malicious software on your machine, in essence creating the issue they claim to be correcting whilst gaining access to sensitive financial and/or personal information on your hard drive.

Basically they peddle anti-virus software that they first ask you to install and then later demand renewal fees for, which is usually upwards of $150. And they can claim you consented to all of this nonsense because they’ve recorded you, if they happen to have charged your credit card using information they got from your hard drive.

An online version of this scareware scam can also be found at certain sites, that install software through your internet browser. But of course there are plenty of more reasonably priced anti-virus programs out there, some of which i’ve listed under “Consumer Security” on my Consumer Links page.

Not only do these programs address the issue alledged by the con artists but Microsoft itself issues patches against these problems via their web site. And no, Microsoft does not call people over these issues.

They will of course alter their pitch at will in their attempts to gain access to your computer. But in the end the results are the same if you allow these people access ; An infected computer and a large credit card bill, at least.

Meanwile, you can address any concern in regards to any infection by using Microsoft Safety Scanner, which costs nothing and does not conflict with your existing anti-virus software.

Postal Services To Resume Tuesday

Canada Post has stated in an email to customers that postal services will be restored Tuesday, the 28th of June, including mail delivery.

“Canada Post has initiated the process to resume operations following the passage of back to work legislation (Bill C-6, An Act to provide for the resumption and continuation of postal services). In accordance with the Act, employees will begin to report to work for their regularly scheduled shifts on Monday June 27 and on Tuesday June 28.”

All of the mailboxes will be unsealed on Monday but local post offices will open on Tuesday.