privacy

Tim Cook Issues Press Release

Apple has issued a press release in regards to the United States Government’s request to unlock iPhones and access their user’s data. It can be read by clicking here.

Rolling Up The Sleeves

So, the election results are in and now it’s time to start asking questions.

What parts of Bill C-51 will remain unaltered and what changes are to be expected under the new government ? Will Canadians be burdened with extra costs to implement these surveillance programs ? What measures will be taken to keep the data secure ?

Does the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement include further intrusions into our copyright ? Will the public be consulted in regards to the key provisions of this agreement prior to signing ? Will our recent reforms be bypassed and superseded by foreign entities and lobbyists ?

We will of course all need to wait until the next budget to know what investments the new government is planning for our digital strategy. But we should know who will be assigned to the key cabinet positions shortly.

Cyberbullying vs Privacy

Bell Canada customers have just received noticed stating their internet bills will be raised by $5 per month, effective June 1st,2014. And of course people who are unaware of the issue would not know why I have just mentioned this in relation to cyberbullying and privacy.

Unfortunately people are unaware that Bill C-13 calls for an extensive amount of record keeping in relation to cyberbullying and other crimes than can be performed online. And this will require equipment and staffing by internet providers, whose associated costs will be handed down to customers.

As a victim of harassment online you might think that I would support such a measure but the costs to Canadians is not only limited to these higher rates. Bill C-13 proposes questionable leniencies in regards to privacy and even cyberbullying victims like Carol Todd are concerned about privacy :

“I don’t want to see our children to be victimized again by losing privacy rights. I am troubled by some of these provisions condoning the sharing of Canadians’ privacy information without proper legal process.” – Carol Todd, mother of Amanda Todd.

Carol Todd has asked a Parliament committee on Bill C-13 to separate to more controversial portions of the bill to "allow this bill to be free of controversy and to permit a thoughtful and careful review of the privacy related provisions that have received broad opposition". And I agree because these more questionable parts of the bill may be challenged legally, causing the whole bill to fail.

Harassment should be addressed as should the distribution of illegal photographs and video recordings. But other issues have been added to the bill to justify the loss of privacy and none of the proponents of this bill appear to want to address the possibly failures in the technicalities of this bill.

In interview after interview they deny it will cost Canadians their privacy yet are unable to explain why certain parts of the bill cannot be rewritten to address the concerns.

Warrants can be invalidated in law if certain conditions are not met and this bill proposes that no warrants are required to collect, share and store information, circumventing the conditions imposed on warrants. 

Warrants in no way facilitate luring and the creation and distribution of child pornography so why is it necessary to bypass warrants ? And warrants can address cases of cyberbullying that involve death threats, threats of bodily harm and threats to property because of our current criminal code.

Internet providers can also implement their own policing on other cases by enforcing their own terms of service agreements on their customers, some of which restrict the use of their services to impede the use of the internet by others and include provisions allowing them to provide information to the authorities when a crime is alleged.

Could they not restrict the use of their services to send unsolicited requests for a recipient’s suicide or threats involving the distribution of an image or recording of the recipient ? Could they not state that such acts would result in information being shared with law enforcement, with or without an account holder’s consent or knowledge ?

As a person who has never asked someone to commit suicide or threatened someone with death, bodily harm or with the distribution of an image or recording, my privacy would remain intact under a split Bill C-13. And a guilty party would be convicted under the conditions of a properly issued warrant, without the more controversial portions of the bill, so why am I being asked to sacrifice my privacy ? 

Bill S-4 – (The not quite) Digital Privacy Act ?

I had originally wanted to wait until the Privacy Commissioner of Canada released a report on Bill S-4 before commenting but decided that I should just go ahead and post something about this senate bill.

This bill was proposed to help in the cases of security breaches, to help control identity theft. But unfortunately it may also cause individuals to have their information given to third parties without their consent or knowledge.

“an organization may disclose personal information without the knowledge or consent of the individual if

(a) the disclosure is made to the other organization, the government institution or the part of a government institution that was notified of the breach under subsection (1); and

(b) the disclosure is made solely for the purposes of reducing the risk of harm to the individual that could result from the breach or mitigating that harm.” – Bill S-4, Section 10.2 (3)

Furthermore warrants may not be required under Bill C-13 and the costs associated to the infrastructure required to keep records of your online activities would be passed onto either consumers and/or taxpayers.

Are to believe this bill is meant to improve our situation ? We would be paying more for internet and give more private information to a government that was just hacked because of the Heartbeat Bug.

I think this bill needs to be re-written. And if you do too I think you should sign the Open Media petition on Privacy.

Thank you.

Bill C-30 Killed – Replacement On The Way

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has stated that Bill C-30 will not proceed in Parliament in response to the concerns brought up by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and members of the public.

This bill would have enabled police to access internet traffic without a warrant and would have required the installation and maintenance of extra equipment by internet providers, who would have passed the associated expenditures down to the consumer.

Canadians would not only have lost rights in regards to privacy but could have also been subjected to security breaches via the new aforementioned online spying equipment had this bill gone through.

A new bill will be unveiled shortly in Parliament so additional information will be posted to this blog a.s.a.p.

Parliament Is In Session

So, Parliament is now in session and several issues are back on the table.

Quite a few of the more controversial bills have passed through, some changed slightly like the Copyright Modernization Act. But the primary issue I’m having now is related to privacy in the internet.

We have progressed, the Office Of The Privacy Commissioner of Canada offering an online form for complaints. And the debate persists in the media, as it’s been since Bill C-12 was introduced in September 2011 by the Minister of Industry and Ministry of State (Agriculture).

The issue of course is the wording of the proposed amendments to Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act in Bill C-12 and other documents, which could cause problems later on in its interpretation and enforcement.

At the moment the member of parliament are concentrating on the budget, which will be tabled next week. But quite a few citizens are also wondering if they will be required to pay for technology to spy on every day citizens through their internet providers. And others wonder what will qualify as “probable cause” to start an investigation of an individual.

For example, will the past downloading of files from services like Megaupload result in an investigation in regards to piracy because of the accusations made against the service by the United States ? Will the viewing of a fundamentalist video on Youtube result in an investigation related to terrorism ?

Some people assume that they will be determined innocent with little to no effort if they were ever exposed to these issues. But what will be the due processes and how inconvenient will they be to the accused and the system ?

I am concerned about the mass prosecution of people and financial toll this will take on our internet providers and legal system. And having avoided the use of peer to peer transfer programs because of malware and spyware, I do not appreciate being exposed to the possibility of security issues through the implementation of a system that could have security issues of its own.

“Haste makes waste”. We need to tread slowly and thoughtfully through the process.