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Sony Rootkit Redux: Canadian Business Groups Lobby For Right To Install Spyware on Your Computer

The deadline for comments on Industry Canada’s draft anti-spam regulations passed earlier this week with a group of 13 industry associations – including the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Marketing Association, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association and the Entertainment Software Association of Canada – submitting a lengthy document  that, if adopted, would gut much of the law. The groups adopt radical interpretations of the law to argue for massive new loopholes or for the indefinite delay of several provisions. I will focus on some of the submissions shortly, but this post focuses on the return of an issue that was seemingly killed years ago: demands to permit surreptitious surveillance by the copyright owners and other groups for private enforcement purposes.

During the anti-spam law debates in 2009, copyright lobby groups promoted amendments that would have allowed for expansive surveillance of user computers. Coming on the heels of the Sony rootkit scandal, the government ultimately rejected those proposals (the Liberals had plans to propose such amendments but backed down), leaving in place an important provision that requires express consent prior to the installation of computer software. The provision states:

8. (1) A person must not, in the course of a commercial activity, install or cause to be installed a computer program on any other person’s computer system or, having so installed or caused to be installed a computer program, cause an electronic message to be sent from that computer system, unless
(a) the person has obtained the express consent of the owner or an authorized user of the computer system and complies with subsection 11(5); or
(b) the person is acting in accordance with a court order.

The law adds several wrinkles to this general requirement, including the need for clear and prominent descriptions of the functionality of the software in certain circumstances (including the collection of personal information, changing user settings, or interfering with user control over their computer) and exemptions for programs such as cookies, HTML code, and javascripts.

The industry groups are now demanding that the government overhaul these requirements. Its preferred approach is to simply kill the provision altogether by referring it to a “Review Body”, which it says could be a task force or another public consultation, before taking effect. In other words, despite considerable debate and approval on this specific provision by Members of Parliament from all parties, these industry groups still want it placed in legislative limbo. 

Alternatively, the groups want at least ten kinds of computer programs excluded from the express consent requirement. The very first should set off alarm bells for all Canadians:

a program that is installed by or on behalf of a person to prevent, detect, investigate, or terminate activities that the person reasonably believes (i) present a risk or threatens the security, privacy, or unauthorized or fraudulent use, of a computer system, telecommunications facility, or network, or (ii) involves the contravention of any law of Canada, of a province or municipality of Canada or of a foreign state;

This provision would effectively legalize spyware in Canada on behalf of these industry groups. The potential scope of coverage is breathtaking: a software program secretly installed by an entertainment software company designed to detect or investigate alleged copyright infringement would be covered by this exception. This exception could potentially cover programs designed to block access to certain websites (preventing the contravention of a law as would have been the case with SOPA), attempts to access wireless networks without authorization, or even keylogger programs tracking unsuspecting users (detection and investigation). Ensuring compliance with the law is important, but envisioning private enforcement through spyware without the involvement of courts, lawful authorities, and due process should be a non-starter.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and other business groups want to ensure that the anti-spam law does not block their ability to secretly install spyware on personal computers for a wide range of purposes. In doing so, these groups are proposing to turn the law upside down by shifting from protecting consumers to protecting businesses. The comment period on the draft regulations may have closed, but it is not too late to tell Industry Minister Christian Paradis or your local Member of Parliament to reject demands that would gut the anti-spam bill and legalize spyware for private enforcement purposes.

95 Comments

  1. Devil's Advocate says:

    That continuing sense of entitlement
    Big Business is a psychopathic force that doesn’t care how many boundaries of common sense, privacy, decency, freedom, or property it has to cross in order to continue its mission.

    This particular “mission”, by any definition, is to be able to SPREAD MALWARE. That is clearly psychopathic.

    This tremendous sense of entitlement we keep seeing from the business world needs to be corrected, and soon!

    Even if they get their way on this, various entities on the “user side” will likely decide to start getting even with them. Big business should be asking itself how it could even begin to deal with that kind of threat.

  2. Legal issues?
    So what are the legal ramifications surrounding what would happen if they get their root kit on a computer that is used to create content for sale? Wouldn’t that be considered corporate espionage?

  3. Ashley Zacharias says:

    I like it!
    Do these idiots think that sword cuts in only one direction? I self-publish stories and earn a couple of thousand dollars in annual revenue. That means that I own the copyright on content with small but measurable commercial value. Soon I’ll be able to hire a Russian teenager to write a virus for me so that I can sneak into corporate computers and examine everything on their disk drives. And when the RCMP comes knocking on my door: “I’m a law-abiding citizen. I’m just making sure that nobody in those companies has an illegal copy of one of my stories. I have a right to protect my intellectual property.”

  4. I urge people to ask there local chamber if they know of this and if they support it. Maybe it will start a bottom up grassroots movement to stop the Canadian Chamber of Commerce from supporting this.

  5. I doubt it would fly
    The invisible double standard always applies vis a via individuals and corps. A corp can do but a person cannot. Forget corporate personhood. Corporate godhood is more appropriate.

  6. Michel Matton says:

    take that Corporate Canada
    Well said Ashley! You’ve got them thinking now. I would do the same just to make sure that none of my photographic images aren’t being used as wallpaper on those corporate desktops. :)

  7. Ashley Zacharias says:

    Now That I Think about It…
    …why should I pay a Russian or Chinese teenager to write a virus? They’re already writing them. I can ask them to pay me to provide a legal context for spreading their virus. And if I have to be a corporation to do it? The cost of incorporation is small compared to the value of legal immunity.

  8. spyware
    i never bought a Sony product since they did this the first time.
    it’s the best revenge on these gready assholes.

  9. Sandy Harris says:

    Just say no
    One solution is to run a Microsoft-free system, Linux or any of the several BSD-based distributions out there, even Open Solaris. I’m not certain where the Mac fits in; is it also infected with DRM (Digital Restrictions Management)?

    (Two caveats: First, what follows has a non-lawyer using a technical legal term, which is almost as dangerous the proverbial programmer with a screwdriver. Second, the example I use is from Canadian law when I looked at it circa 1970, so it may be horribly out of date.)

    There are cases where the “burden of proof” shifts in the course of a court proceeding. For example, if I am busted with a lump of hash, it is up to the prosecution to prove possession beyond reasonable doubt. If it is a two-kilo lump, though, then once they prove possession I automatically get convicted for possession with intent to traffic unless I can prove it was for personal use. The burden of proof is now on me, and it is heavy burden since the penalties for possession with intent are much heavier than for mere possession.

    I think it would be good to have a legal principle that when a company commits a crime — invading and infecting computers, polluting, whatever — the burden of proof in then on senior executives to show why they should not be jailed; they are automatically responsible unless they can prove they had appropriate measures in place to avoid such incidents.

  10. I’m fine with this…
    …provided that in return the Canadian public is allowed to secretly install spyware on these company’s computers for the sole purpose of making sure they aren’t breaking the law.

  11. Not Technically Spyware
    You use the term spyware to describe this type of program, but that doesn’t cover it. The document you are quoting describes a program that “prevents…or terminates activities…” on a consumers computer/device. Spyware only collects information. This type of program is more like a virus or trojan, in that it can take control of a computer without the owner’s consent.

  12. Like Scott, I stopped buying anything Sony after the rootkit fiasco. Never again. Time to make a list of other slimy corps to run away from.

  13. Sandy Harris says:

    Going Microsoft-free
    I wrote above “One solution is to run a Microsoft-free system …” Here’s a primer on that which I wrote some years back; context is a foreigners-in-China discussion board.
    http://raoulschinasaloon.com/index.php?topic=2460.0

    One good reason to drop Windows is that all versions since Vista include DRM code that gives partial control of your machine to movie & music companies.

  14. Sandy Harris says:

    Link correction
    Link above should be http://raoulschinasaloon.com/index.php?topic=2460.0

  15. Not a smart move by Canadian businesses. They could soon find their way on to an EU black list if this keeps up. EU looks to be heading down the road of protecting citizens privacy, and the embedded video in my most recent post might serve as a warning to Industry Canada on how to handle this:

    http://jkoblovsky.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/eu-mep-agrees-with-privacy-on-the-broadband-internet/

  16. A lot of companies should wonder whether they are properly represented by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. All these slimy DRM / spyware / rootkit antics have been proven time and again to be BAD FOR BUSINESS. Therefore, they should fire the idiots who wrote those proposals and find better representatives who understand that serving the interest of the customers and delighting them is the only way to do business on the long term.

  17. Chris Brand says:

    When will they learn ?
    It’s *my* computer. I paid for it. Even if I use it to play games you wrote, watch movies you created, listen to music you recorded, or read books you wrote, it’s still *my* computer. Basic property rights say that if you can’t come up with a business model that doesn’t support that use without you taking control of my computer, you should not be in that business.

    Honestly, where else would you see such nonsense ? “Sorry, but my lemonade stand will only be profitable if I set it up in your driveway, so I’m getting the law changed so that you’re not allowed to park your car there”.

  18. Charles the Great says:

    I really doubt this will happen for a lot of reasons
    One it is DRM/spyware that causes the vast majority of bad sectors in hard drives on either PC or on a Mac and create a very big problem for computer makers. It would also be a problem for the government since it would be legal for anyone to install spyware on a government computer and it is too much of a security risk for government departments to handle since those same companies could use it to spy on government activity or even law enforcement. Also, most importantly it would violate Canada’s Privacy Act.

  19. justpassingby says:

    I for one can not wait for this… and the inevitable rise of the hackers who figure out how to use the back doors that get created.
    I for one can not wait for this… and the inevitable rise of the hackers who figure out how to use the back doors that get created.

    Banker trojans were so much easier to write when Sony did have the work for them.

  20. Charles the Great says:

    Also
    These companies would be place on a blacklist in the European Union and in the United States since this was the reason why Sony had to remove the root kit from their music. Also it was a result of Microsoft causing to many issues with Windows operating system and the creation of bad sectors in hard drives from Hard Drive manufactures that forced Sony recall since it would force them to pay for a replacement hard drive under their warranty and it was the root kit that caused all of these problems with their product.

  21. justpassingby says:

    ,,,
    funny thought… So what happens when somebody at CSIS listens to a CD? No more need for Russian spies?

  22. “… the contravention of any law … of a foreign state.”

    Am I reading this right? These industry groups want to install spyware on the machines of any Canadians who *may* be in contravention of any law of say, Iran or Syria?

    As a commercial software developer however, I have every confidence that such spyware will not interfere with the legal operation of my computers or provide inadvertent backdoors that will provide unauthorized access to my personal data by hackers or other third parties.

  23. Although running something like Linux is a good way to avoid this sort of stuff, I’m wondering how long it will be before the act of running a non-mainstream operating system on your computer is going to be considered equivalent to circumventing this kind of crap, and therefore outlawed.

  24. To Anonymous says:

    Considering the entire idea of spyware/malware they want to develop is to provide said access/information to the companies in question, I have every confidence that it would do exactly that (provide all your information to anyone looking).

  25. And fully backed by the CPC(“promise breaking was our founding”), how sad.

  26. I’d personally WELCOME this move!
    Hey – Just think of the fun we could all have.

    Seriously, they’ve just exploded all anti-spyware software. So, I’d be taking their root-kitting stuffs and turn it against them! I’d have my own interface that, when deployed over millions of computers, would spray crap into their databases – choking them under billions and billions of new “infringements” per hour!

    We’d be able to force all the big media sites from the internet, by using their blocking technology against them.. Oah – it would be fun to turn the tables on them…

  27. @anonymous
    “Am I reading this right? These industry groups want to install spyware on the machines of any Canadians who *may* be in contravention of any law of say, Iran or Syria?”

    Nah, they just don’t care if the Iranian or Syrian secret service do it – as long as they get to accidentally collect your banking and health information on the off chance it contains references to sharing works under copyright.

  28. Anonymous Coward says:

    So basically passing this into law would bring another meaning to a “state sponsored terrorism.” At least that’s how I would see some person (a corporation) logging into my computer without my permission, messing with my files, and dictating how I should be using my own property.

    These corporations are already telling many citizens in all walks of life how to live their lives through endless campaigns of propaganda, manipulation, indoctrination and brainwashing in all and every form of media, for the last 90 or so years.

  29. This is what happens when the blind are leading the dumb towards the cliff at full speed…
    I am still amazed that the lawyers and business executives can think that the demand for spyware on all ‘personal’ computers is a good idea. Apparently you can’t cure stupid.

    There are so many facets to the problems companies and citizens face in an ‘Information Age’, and the change from copyright as a granted right to an inherent right has become the single biggest folly by US politicians, since the rest of the world has to dance to the tune they call. The current rules are being used as a hammer to extract every penny possible from the information based economy, and to stifle any possible competition.

    Unfortunately for the genius’ advising these corporations, they are forgetting one important detail: ever file on the internet is a copy of a copy in the first place. And the information in that file is open to manipulation, for better or worse, by anyone with a file editor. In the early stages of the current internet, the only restriction was if the file could be modified and still have it work with the other files.

    I’ve been toying with the idea that the internet is like an eco-system, with a wild areas that grow in an evolutionary model, and a heavily structured side that is tended by an over protective and reactionary gardener. If you value innovation, creativity and thinking outside the margins, the wild side is where you see the most promise for the future, while if you want control, you favour the garden. What’s needed is a DMZ or fence.

    A DMZ would create the best options to balance the two, but it takes both sides to do the work needed to maintain it. To many on the garden side are ignorant or lazy or a malicious combination of the two, and don’t take even the most basic steps to mitigate the risks from the wild side. On the wild side, if you want access to the garden, you either dig a gopher hole, or float over like a dandelion seed, and in rare cases, become so widespread on wild side, you are invited over.

    We really need both I think to appreciate the benefits that arise from both. Giving one side unrestricted access or control will only poison the whole. And unfortunately the people making the rules for the garden side don’t see it, and are picking up speed.

    D,

  30. just read the submission
    I just read the submission -it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with spyware -just software and updates to networks. Michael -can you clarify?

  31. This may or may not come to pass, but the sheer audacity of such a scheme is appalling. You would think the Sony debacle would have been a strong enough fable to deter any such further endeavors.

    Like many others, I have avoided Sony like the plague and I do think their current financial decline has a fair amount attributed to that.

    Trying to hijack computers in this fashion will be viewed as an ‘act of war’ to many of the technically competent out there. Not really a demographic you want to anger further. And for what, to catch a few teenagers getting the latest Bieber?

    The people running the media industry must be some of the densest people on the planet, or the most desperate. All of the above I suppose.

  32. Joe the Toad says:

    Not a ‘Law’ but a ‘Right?’ They think they are Gods
    We have rule of Law here in Canada.

    A judge needs to sign a warrant. There needs to be a good reason for the warrant. Then a real cop goes to your house and looks for something specific in regards to a specific crime.

    You then get your day in court, the right to see the evidence and the right to face your accusers.

    What these guys are proposing is:

    Corporations going around evading anyone and everyone’s privacy

    Going on Fishing Expeditions

    Secretly installing of software unknown quality that could cause loss or damage and introduces another attack vector

    Arbitrarily shutting down and / or deleting stuff?

    An absolute trust in these companies that they are not agents for foreign governments, that they will not sell the information, that they will not steal proprietary information and use it for their own gain.

  33. Reality_bytes says:

    @ a
    “I just read the submission -it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with spyware -just software and updates to networks.”
    That’s what I thought as well. Maybe Geist really meant “maybe” or, it “might” later on … ?

  34. Michael Geist says:

    @Reality_Bytes and a
    Spyware is defined as “Spyware is software that aids in gathering information about a person or organization without their knowledge and that may send such information to another entity without the consumer’s consent, or that asserts control over a computer without the consumer’s knowledge”

    The provision allows for the installation of software without express user consent “to prevent, detect, investigate, or terminate activities” with a wide range of issues covered. Fits the definition.

    MG

  35. This is what happens when the blind are leading the dumb towards the cliff at full speed…
    I am still amazed that the lawyers and business executives can think that the demand for spyware on all ‘personal’ computers is a good idea. Apparently you can’t cure stupid.

    There are so many facets to the problems companies and citizens face in an ‘Information Age’, and the change from copyright as a granted right to an inherent right has become the single biggest folly by US politicians, since the rest of the world has to dance to the tune they call. The current rules are being used as a hammer to extract every penny possible from the information based economy, and to stifle any possible competition.

    Unfortunately for the genius’ advising these corporations, they are forgetting one important detail: ever file on the internet is a copy of a copy in the first place. And the information in that file is open to manipulation, for better or worse, by anyone with a file editor. In the early stages of the current internet, the only restriction was if the file could be modified and still have it work with the other files.

    I’ve been toying with the idea that the internet is like an eco-system, with a wild areas that grow in an evolutionary model, and a heavily structured side that is tended by an over protective and reactionary gardener. If you value innovation, creativity and thinking outside the margins, the wild side is where you see the most promise for the future, while if you want control, you favour the garden. What’s needed is a DMZ or fence.

    A DMZ would create the best options to balance the two, but it takes both sides to do the work needed to maintain it. To many on the garden side are ignorant or lazy or a malicious combination of the two, and don’t take even the most basic steps to mitigate the risks from the wild side. On the wild side, if you want access to the garden, you either dig a gopher hole, or float over like a dandelion seed, and in rare cases, become so widespread on wild side, you are invited over.

    We really need both I think to appreciate the benefits that arise from both. Giving one side unrestricted access or control will only poison the whole. And unfortunately the people making the rules for the garden side don’t see it, and are picking up speed.

    D,

  36. Reality_bytes says:

    @ M. Geist
    “Fits the definition” That’s a stretch even for you Mr Geist!
    Keep up the good work!!! :)

  37. Frustrated Nerd says:

    Oh, come on, really??
    Y’know, I attempt with great adamancy to subscribe to Hanlons Razor, but things like this make it exceedingly difficult.

    (Heh, captcha: sickens neyworse)

  38. Reality_bytes said: “That’s a stretch even for you Mr Geist!”
    How is that a stretch? Can you actually explain yourself, or are you just astroturfing? Software installed without consent that is able to monitor and modify a user’s computer is definitely some sort of malware, and the specific wording would appear to certainly allow for spyware to meet the exemption.

  39. no technology is the best technology
    no technology is the best technology check it out friends http://www.blogoftheworld.com/technology/item/189-no-technology-is-the-best-technology.html

  40. Drew Wilson says:

    Quite Unprecedented
    Took a look at the submission and thought through all of the spyware related laws that happened around the world. The only thing that comes close to this is LOPPSI 2 in France and even the French wanted police to make the call on such decisions at least. This appears to go further and eliminates law enforcement altogether. My analysis of this if anyone is interested: http://www.freezenet.ca/canadian-industry-groups-want-to-legalize-spyware/

  41. TheTundraTerror says:

    Email your MP
    Google your city and “MP” and email that ************ and tell him you do not approve of this!

  42. Canuck in the UK says:

    Double Edged Sword
    A rather half thought through idea, but…

    An interpretation, as you describe above, that would permit malware might also provide a cover for corporate espionage and other forms of malicious network behaviour.

  43. @Reality_bytes
    So I assume your perfectly okay with something installing software on your computer you may not be able to find that sends information back to some unknown entity about what you do on your computer?

    There’s an entire industry of software developers out there who do nothing but find and detect these things (here’s a hint, they generally recommend you run them on any computer connected to the internet) so that they can be removed before they do harm. And even if these do nothing but send information back to, say, Sony, they make computers less secure than they already are because it opens more holes for someone to get access to your machine and do malicious things with it.

    Not calling this spyware has got to be the stupidest thing I’ve seen said here in a while, since that is pretty much what it is. Just because it’s made in the name of protecting copyright doesn’t change that.

  44. @Canuck in the UK
    If the law can be interpreted in such a way, you know that someone is going to use those lines of thinking to defend such behaviour. They may not win, but it will be tied up in courts for a while.

  45. GOOGLE YOUR MP…………..LMAO
    better off looking for someone who’s not on the gig biz payroll.
    reality_bytes always get the impression your a schill or troll. just the impression you leave me with.
    it is indeed spyware, it’s not hard to see unless your selling another agenda.

  46. Russell McOrmond says:

    Letter to my MP
    Commercial infringers demanding government gut laws protecting technology owners. http://teklaw.ca/5494 #cdnpoli

  47. I just read the proposal and it seems as though they are trying to clarify the regulations to ensure that legitimate software that most of us likely use on a daily basis now doesnt become illegal as a result of the new regulations. I didnt see anything about installing spyware to collect your personal info and do all of the dubious things that are being suggested. When did we become so paranoid? Seriously. Any company knows very well that getting busted for anything spywareish these days is not going to go over very well and its abundantly clear in the proposal that that is not the intent. Did anyone even bother to read it?

  48. If we allow these people access to our computers, will they indemnify us for any losses we incur through the hole they’ve made in our security? That is, will they take responsibility for all the potential harm they cause? I suspect it hasn’t crossed their minds.

  49. @confused
    I don’t want anything installed on my computer without my knowledge. Doesn’t matter what information it communicates back, it needs to ask me first. If I decide I don’t want it, and they think I need it, then they can decide to not allow me to do something. Of course, I would then decide that I don’t want to do business with them if they lock me out completely.

    To be clear, I don’t even let Windows talk back to Microsoft without asking me first if I want to send the information. Even if it’s a crash report.

  50. My letter to my MP
    A cop following you around everywhere is creepy enough. But what if, instead of a police officer, a fedora clad thug is following you around? Listening to every phonecall. Reading your messages. Now it gets even worse: many thugs following you around! And if you try to call for help, they snatch the phone out of your hand. Creepy, indeed.

    This is exactly what copyright lobby groups are proposing. Akin to a kid claiming that they will not be successful unless their stand is set up in your driveway (so move your car, mister, and don’t come back!), they’re attempting to sneak this into legislation by amendment to the draft anti-spam regulations.

    One of their proposed amendments to the exclusions list reads thusly: “a program that is installed by or on behalf of a person to prevent, detect, investigate, or terminate activities that the person reasonably believes (i) present a risk or threatens the security, privacy, or unauthorized or fraudulent use, of a computer system, telecommunications facility, or network, or (ii) involves the contravention of any law of Canada, of a province or municipality of Canada or of a foreign state;”

    Essentially, they wish to legalize spyware, so long as it’s released by a CORPORATION. Imagine what would happen if this made it into the exclusions list: Canadians would be routinely spied on for wearing neckties (Micronesia), not covering face (Iran), copying a book 50 years after the author’s death (USA), “making a potentially threatening statement” (a little town in Alberta). Worse, you wouldn’t even have to be suspected of a crime: spyware would be installed “just in case”! Yes, they want to read everything, including banking info, just in case you copy something.

    You wouldn’t want to be followed by a cop. You shouldn’t want others (or yourself) to be followed by thugs.

    Reject copyright lobby demands.

  51. Reality_bytes says:

    @ confused
    “Did anyone even bother to read it?” probably not, like most “important” issues it seems the bulk of the people commenting read what Geist (spun) and wrote.
    I’m surprised there’s no template posted for what to write to your local MP.

    @ Ki
    you say: “@Reality_bytes
    So I assume your perfectly okay with something installing software on your computer you may not be able to find that sends information back to some unknown entity about what you do on your computer?”

    With such an absurd opening line do you really think I’m going to wast my time communicating with you???

  52. @reality_bites and @confused
    I genuinely want to understand your opposing viewpoints. The text Dr. Geist discusses is in the proposal (yes, I read it). It asks for an exemption for, “(a) a program that is installed by or on behalf of a person to prevent, detect, investigate, or terminate activities that the person reasonably believes (i) present a risk or threatens the security, privacy, or unauthorized or fraudulent use, of a computer system, telecommunications facility, or network, or (ii) involves the contravention of any law of Canada, of a province or municipality of Canada or of a foreign state;” Could you please give me an example of what types of programs you think this refers to? I’m not doubting you, I’m just asking for clarification. If you disagree with Dr. Geist’s interpretation, then you must have an alternative interpretation? I am definitely open to being convinced.

  53. Reality_bytes says:

    @ Kim (Ki)
    Kim (Ki) says: “I am definitely open to being convinced.”
    (and very self-important.)

    So to be perfectly clear, I am definitely NOT open to any attempts to convince you or anyone else for that matter, let’s leave that up to people like M. Geist and of course another ‘authority’ on the topic Mike Masnick he ran with the same idea gathered from this blog:
    “Canadian Chamber Of Commerce Wants To Legalize Spyware Rootkits To Help Stop ‘Illegal’ Activity” by Mike Masnick

    You believe whatever you choose (who ever you are.)

    My questions are and were directed at the person who wrote the piece, NOT his faithful followers.

  54. Reality_bytes says:

    @ Kim (Ki)
    Like this follower:
    “schultzter said: who is Barry Sookman?
    I’ve been reading all your articles in this series, and it seems to me Barry Sookman is some internet crank who got his 15 minutes of fame over this issue. Why don’t you just ignore him and give us your interpretation without the sideshow?”

    Someone needs to inform schultzter that Barry Sookman is one of the leading technology lawyers in Canada and the author of a six volume book on Computer, Internet and e-Commerce Law, the most authoritative book on these subjects in Canada. He’s also an adjunct Professor of intellectual property law at Osgoode Hall Law School.

    Follow on Kim Ki.
    I’d much prefer to research.

  55. @ Kim (Ki)
    the examples we are all pretty familiar with would be windows (you may “think” its not doing anything behind the scenes to prevent misuse), your xbox, playstation, netflix, any of the “premium” services and toys that people pay good money for. whats wrong with these guys promising their users a safe and bug free environment and why shouldnt they have the ability to cut you off if you try to compromise that? Nobody is talking about rootkits here, im pretty sure sony learned a great deal from that fiasco… If it wasnt for all the wannabe hackers and crazy free culture folks we wouldnt even be in this spot anyways, but the internet has taught business and government that people will not maintain even a modest level of respect on the internet. if you read the proposal they really are trying to maintain whats already in place as opposed to open up more avenues. i really need to get me one of those tinfoil hats, i must be missing something because im not scared at all

  56. Reality_bytes says:

    @ confused
    If you’re interested one of the best on line blogs I’ve come across in years is: copyhypeDOTcom

  57. peawormsworth says:

    The article is correct
    It appears that the Act is trying to prevent installation of programs that ‘do things’ without the computer users consent. Where ‘do things’ are things like collecting and transmitting private data from the owners pc. It does not seem to prevent a computer from releasing this data when the user has been specifically informed and agreed to the conditions.

    The suggested amendments by the corporate interests suggest that programs should be able to be installed without the computer owners permission or knowledge. And that these programs should be able to monitor the activities of the user and report secretly without the owners knowledge whenever the program suspects that the user is breaking ‘any law’. Where ‘any law’ is: “any law of Canada, of a province or municipality of Canada or of a foreign state”.

    Logical conclusion:
    - these corporations want to install programs that monitor and control your computer usage and secretly collect this information.
    - these corporations want to limit the usability of your computer when it conflicts with their interests (profits).
    - these corporations want you to abide by arbitrary laws of foreign states!!! Circumventing our own legal process.

    A reasonable solution:
    - do NOT allow these changes to be implemented into the Act.
    - require these corporations to provide all users with consent prior to installing what is effectively corporate backed spyware.
    After all… with the existing act, the corporations are still allowed to have these programs installed on your computer. The only difference is that as the law stands, you will be informed about it and you will be able to decide whether or not you want to install software that would allow them to monitor and control what you can do with your own computer.
    - do not allow foreign states to dictate how we are allowed to operate our own computers within our own borders.

  58. @Reality_Bytes “So to be perfectly clear, I am definitely NOT open to any attempts to convince you or anyone else for that matter”

    In one fell swoop you have defined yourself.

    Empty.

    Moving on.

  59. What were SOPA, PIPA, ACTA? Apart from a tedious repetition of four letter acronyms, they were attempts by incumbent legacy industry to maintain their status quo.

    Free of all the blithe, this is fully understandable, even expected, yet should it just be accepted? If your job, property or interests were threatened would you not make every effort to safeguard them?

    All try enough, but that is not were progress and human innovation is found. We are in an every increasing sphere access to information, magnitudes greater than ever before. Looking back into history where have advances that benefit human kind bloomed? Sanskrit, papyrus, printing press, telegraph, radio, film, internet …

    With the ability to disseminate and pool knowledge, we find the rate of innovation to increase on a logarithmic curve.

    Am I a free culturalist (or freecult as so lovingly coined)? Not in the sense of anyone should be forced work for free, but that freeing information can lead to increased welfare for all.

    The attempts of incumbent industry to stifle innovation for expediency of preservation is understandable yet counterproductive to the true purpose of copyright.

  60. Reality_bytes says:

    @ Crock
    And your meds wore off, pity. But better to have you back Crock this way no surprises.

  61. I was just saying Reality_bytes, if you have something meaningful to contribute then great.

    Juvenile name calling & “why would I ever talk to someone like you” certainly does not fit the bill, why waste everyone’s time?

  62. Reality_bytes says:

    @ Crock
    moving on

  63. Black, burnt kettle.
    @Reality_bytes “I’m surprised there’s no template posted for what to write to your local MP.”

    Oh yes … unlike the form letters at think-for-yourself sites backed by CRIA during the C-11 consultations. To even get access you first had to register and auto send ‘your’ opinion to your local MP.

    This is actually one of the few sites about copyright in Canada that allows unedited opinions. Try that at Sookman or Degan.

  64. @Reality_Bytes and @confused
    There is no commenter on this post named Kim (Ki). I’m Kim. That’s my name. Short for Kimberly. I have no idea who Ki is. @Confused, thanks for the responsive comment.

  65. Reality_bytes says:

    @ Crock
    for real now, moving on (OCD much?)

  66. Reality_bytes says:

    @ Kim
    My bad I had assumed you were the same person.

    Kim I don’t respond well to arrogance and I felt your line about convincing you to be just that, unbelievably arrogant.
    I have no idea who you are nor you me, given that, why on earth would any person need to convince some random stranger off the net about anything? And who are you to even ask?

    You don’t have to agree with anything I post and that’s perfectly fine.
    All the info is out there for anyone and everyone who truly wants to be informed.

  67. @Reality_Bytes
    Respectfully, I was not being arrogant – you assumed I was being arrogant. Much like you assumed I was someone other than who I professed to be. I find that weird, to be honest. My name is *Kim* – there’s like, *millions* of us! The reason I expressed myself the way I did is BECAUSE you seem to always make these (in my opinion paranoid) assumptions. I was trying to convey to you that I was interested in a responsive discussion rather than posting for the purpose of disagreeing with you. Maybe convinced is a trigger word for you – that’s your problem. I want to learn from this forum, and your belief that that is in any way inappropriate is really [insert many swear words here] offensive. I would genuinely ask this question – if you don’t want to share your actual viewpoints, why do you even comment on these posts? – but I am not going to ask that question, because I really hope that you never direct any comments to me again. Ever.

  68. Un-Trusted Computing says:

    Linux for the masses
    I think it’s plenty evident from the industry’s demands and its sympatizers’ responses that the answer to the problem is running an OS on which this spyware cannot be installed.

    Install Linux and be done with it, boot into windows when you need it and do everything else on an OS that you own.

  69. Reality_bytes says:

    @ Kim
    “I really hope that you never direct any comments to me again. Ever.”
    Ditto

    Feel better Kim.
    Bye bye

  70. @Reality_bytes

    “Kim I don’t respond well to arrogance” – most arrogant people don’t

    “why on earth would any person need to convince some random stranger off the net about anything” and yet your here trying to convince others that spyware is a good thing.

  71. Reality_bytes says:

    @ db
    “yet your here trying to convince others that spyware is a good thing.”
    not here or anywhere would I ever suggest that spyware is a good thing.
    I take great pride that I live in a country that has such strong attitudes toward rights to privacy (and laws that reflect that.)

  72. Reality_bytes says:

    @ db
    As a matter of fact once I knew that google had the right to read my emails I refused anything google related.

  73. please, oh please
    Reading the comments from Reality_Bytes and confused, I doubted Mr. Geist’s post and read the document. From my understanding, they are both right in that the proposed exemptions do not specifically mention the use of monitoring softwares to track users’ habits, but only to prevent misuse of telecommunication services (read: spamming). I must mention that the wording tends to target businesses and not the general public, although it is debatable because there is more ‘person’s than ‘employee’s. In the end, these are good intentions except that users must be aware of the presence of such software (issues brought to light during Sony’s scandal are still relevant). Adding the fact that one should have to install deep packet inspection technologies (and probably a key logger) to be efficient (detecting a URL in a message).

    I believe the concern is not about the proposed intent but about the possibilities. Say I install cameras in your house to prevent illegal activities (federal, provincial _and_ municipal) from happenning, how would you feel? “No worries, it will only alert us if there is actually something and every hours to check for updates”.

    P.S. That is all pretending that Canada is a spamming country.

  74. Reality_bytes says:

    @ claire
    “Say I install cameras in your house to prevent illegal activities”
    in my view that’s the big difference Claire; what we do in the privacy of our own homes is absolutely private, once we transmit on a public network it’s public.

  75. What happens on your own computer is the last thing these fascists cannot spy on. They’ve got your phones and Internet being spied on, but not what goes on on your computer. This’ll change that. I’m just amazed it wasn’t the Americans that came up with this first. We know how corrupt they are. The Harper government is following in their footsteps.

  76. @ Reality_Bytes
    “once we transmit on a public network it’s public.”

    So you would not mind allowing me to setup a camera in front of your house? Not directly at your window, but just at your door. While we are at it, because you use public roads, you would not mind allowing me to install a tracker on your car, or on you in case you walk; because after all, you are in public space and you may drive faster than limits.

    You said “As a matter of fact once I knew that google had the right to read my emails I refused anything google related.”. Why not take cautions by demanding everyone to be informed of who tracks who and what data it collects, for how long, and for what? You once gave Google permission to inspect what you send to them, yould you give Canada (would probably be a private firm doing the job) permission to collect and inspect what you send? For spam?

    There is a big difference between monitoring what you _send_ on the public network and what you do on your computer. There is absolutely no right that could allow the installation of monitoring softwares on Canadians’ computers; I think we are on the same page here. As for allowing _hidden_ monitoring (which could only be applied by making DPI) to take place to prevent spam, that is one of the absurdest thing I have heard. But, would you allow someone to read your communications through regular mail? You know, in case.

  77. Reality_bytes says:

    @ claire
    “So you would not mind allowing me to setup a camera in front of your house? Not directly at your window, but just at your door. While we are at it, because you use public roads, you would not mind allowing me to install a tracker on your car, or on you in case you walk; because after all, you are in public space and you may drive faster than limits.”

    WHERE did you read me saying anything close to any of the above?
    AND why the hell do people like you keep doing exactly that? Inserting words into people’s posts that aren’t there in the first place?
    It’s a rather disturbing way to validate your own argument, and does it ever really work Claire?
    1. I took great offense to google outside my bloody window, still do!
    And am still really pissed that Canada let it fly.
    2. You never noticed the CAMERAS on public roads and highways Claire?
    3. You never noticed the CAMERAS in every public store and shopping mall either Claire?
    4. You never noticed the CAMERAS on every public sidewalk Claire?

    “Why not take cautions by demanding everyone to be informed of who tracks who and what data it collects, for how long, and for what? You once gave Google permission to inspect what you send to them, would you give Canada (would probably be a private firm doing the job) permission to collect and inspect what you send? For spam?”

    1. Read the TOS for every ISP and what’s collected and for how long.
    Because you may have been to busy (or lazy) to read the terms that doesn’t mean they didn’t inform.
    2. I never gave google my express permission to read my emails, when I was informed they were I cancelled my gmail account(s).
    3. And yes Claire I am much more comfortable having MY Government involved in it’s business than a U.S. corporation; you know, in case.

  78. Maybe Claire lives on one the Indian reserves? I’m just sayin

  79. @ Reality_Bytes
    “WHERE did you read me saying anything close to any of the above?”

    Nowhere, that is why the first sentence ends with a question mark. You were arguing that there is no concern about data sent on the public network being inspected without knowledge nor consent, hence I propose that roads are a good analogy and that you would not mind neither… I guessed you missed it.

    I do read some tos just like I read contracts, but there are some places I couldn’t care less. If you do you know that ISPs do not store or analyze packet payloads (well they shouldn’t), which is what they would do.

    “I never gave google my express permission to read my emails, when I was informed they were I cancelled my gmail account(s).”

    You really believe that?

    Letting these things aside, do you think DPI would stop at spam detection? Do you think it would remain under government control? Do you think whoever is in charge is going to respect your human privacy? The problem is that the wording of the proposed exemptions is imprecise; which is typical when you want something but should not name it.

    Do you remember Vic Toews pushing DPI last year?

  80. Reality_bytes says:

    @ Claire
    and again! “You were arguing that there is no concern about data sent on the public network being inspected without knowledge nor consent”
    where did I post (or even imply) that!?

    “”I never gave google my express permission to read my emails, when I was informed they were I cancelled my gmail account(s).”

    You really believe that?”

    oh I don’t know Claire, you tell me!

    As for the rest of your comment Claire, not to be rude or disrespectful, but I have no interest in your personal paranoia.

  81. Reality_bytes says:

    @ netty
    “Maybe Claire lives on one the Indian reserves? I’m just sayin”
    I guess that was meant to be funny? It isn’t.
    Maybe Claire really is oblivious to the degree we are all monitored in public places? Who knows?

  82. And here I was thinking of canada of a possible emigration option. f this. where’s my self-sufficient space ship?

  83. Reality_bytes says:

    @ Kevin
    Wow, you’re one of the first Americans that actually spelled Canada right and you’re aware it’s a country! Good for you Kevin!

    “where’s my self-sufficient space ship?” it may have bottomed out with the Death Star you Americans were petitioning for?

  84. @kevin
    kevin there is a sign at the border that says you must be this tall….. maybe you should consider other emigration options

  85. @ Reality_Bytes
    “where did I post (or even imply) that!?”
    > “[...] once we transmit on a public network it’s public.”
    So I ask again (because you never answer): would you allow someone to read your communications through regular mail? I must because it is a public service.

    “I never gave google my express permission to read my emails, when I was informed they were I cancelled my gmail account(s).”

    ‘https://accounts.google.com/SignUp?continue=http://www.google.com/preferences?hl=en&hl=en’
    You must have known, you agreed to TOS and privacy policy, you read the contract or you were to busy?

    “[...] not to be rude or disrespectful [...]”
    Actually, you are being rude _and_ disrepectful simply by ignoring respectful requests for thoughts (although it is your right) but really for insulting people.

    Advice (take it or not): People are going to assume and judge whether you speak or not. If you want to clear confusion, speak clearly, but you cannot be angry for people assuming.

  86. Reality_bytes says:

    @ Claire
    “So I ask again (because you never answer): would you allow someone to read your communications through regular mail? I must because it is a public service.”

    Claire, to the best of my knowledge my emails are being read.
    My activity on my ISP is logged as well.
    Am I ok with that? Yes and no.
    I live in Quebec, and in the Quebec Charter my privacy is well protected.
    So I take some solace in that knowing.

    “You must have known, you agreed to TOS and privacy policy, you read the contract or you were to busy?”

    Do you remember when google started advising people of that? I do, and that’s when I cancelled my accounts.

    “Actually, you are being rude _and_ disrepectful simply by ignoring respectful requests for thoughts (although it is your right) but really for insulting people.”

    Agreed, and for that I can only offer my sincere apology.

    “Advice (take it or not): People are going to assume and judge whether you speak or not. If you want to clear confusion, speak clearly, but you cannot be angry for people assuming.”

    It’s not a question of clarity Claire; it’s more to do with any opposing view. Myself (like many others) can post facts beyond dispute but because it differs from what some want and need to believe the facts are tossed and mere “possibilities” or “what-if’s” become more important.

    I have no hidden agenda Claire, I don’t think of myself as a troll, I’m not a shill, I’m just a guy seeking truth.
    I have great respect for the arts and a greater respect for those who create it.
    I am a man who values my privacy, but I am aware that I live within a community.
    The internet became more than anyone ever thought it would be, the laws and regulations are not up-to-speed and never will be unless an honest and open approach is taken by all parties involved.

  87. @ Reality_Bytes
    “I live in Quebec, and in the Quebec Charter my privacy is well protected.”

    I live in Qc, too, and for those wondering, its not a reserve.

    “[...] google [...]”
    I still do not understand how people do not understand why G, FB, Tw, etc offer these services. Some are being more evil than others but still…

    “[...] for that I can only offer my sincere apology.”
    We’ll see in time.

    I already understood that you are more of a factual type from your first post. However, I do not understand your “hatred” for discussing “possibilities”. Actual laws are what they are because a whole range of possibilities have been stated and we found a middle ground for it. Anyone with enough insight will detect that they are “just” possibilities and, still, error is human.

    The current issue is not about copyright, its about inspecting people traffic due to spam. I would prefer to invest money in educating people how computer security than forcing up monitoring devices on them. They and DRM handcuffs are not viable solutions; getting in touch with reality would be much prefered. Creators can finally take control of their businesses: creation, production, relationships, the whys and the hows… like Guttenberg did not allow a whole new generation of artist to emerge.

  88. Reality_bytes says:

    @ Claire
    “I already understood that you are more of a factual type from your first post. However, I do not understand your “hatred” for discussing “possibilities”.”

    I, and many people I know and work with have been discussing the “possibilities” for *years*; as you must be aware, Canada’s Anti-spam Legislation is not new.
    For a woman with such strong opinion and solution I will assume you were very active in the dialogue over the years.

    “The current issue is not about copyright, its about inspecting people traffic due to spam. I would prefer to invest money in educating people how computer security than forcing up monitoring devices on them. They and DRM handcuffs are not viable solutions; getting in touch with reality would be much prefered. Creators can finally take control of their businesses: creation, production, relationships, the whys and the hows”

    Wonderful, I truly hope they heard you when you brought all that up during any of the meetings, debates and or public inquiry.

    “[...] for that I can only offer my sincere apology.”
    We’ll see in time.”

    How very gracious of you, but it’s not that important, really.

  89. Finally!
    Uh, I have been waiting for so long for keyloggers to be made legal. As soon as this is passed I am installing one on every computer in existence… just to make sure they ain’t stealing my shit ofcourse!

  90. When did the Canadian Chamber of Commerce become Dr Evil?
    When did the Canadian Chamber of Commerce become Dr Evil? I ask because the resemblance is startling! I know that there are courses in business schools about Ethics, and but I wasn’t aware that the purpose of an Business Ethics course is focused on how to avoid being ethical?

  91. Let me get this straight !
    If this passes, then a person (acting as an agent of another country) will lawfully be able to secretly install software onto my computer that is designed to detect activities that are in contravention of another coutries laws (let’s say Iran’s blasphemy laws for example)??

  92. until I saw the bank draft 4 $6921, I did not believe that…my… sister woz like actualey making money in there spare time from their computer.. there great aunt started doing this for only about sixteen months and resently cleard the morgage on their villa and bought a new Smart ForTwo. we looked here, http://www.bit90.com

  93. Anonymous Coward says:

    boycotts anyone
    Perhaps it’s time to start a nation wide conversation about the benefits of boycotting the goods and services offered by the 13 associations.

  94. Anonymous Coward says:

    boycotts anyone?
    Perhaps it’s time to start a national conversation about boycotting the goods and services offered the the 13 associations.

  95. They’re Proposing Their Solutions For Something Like Thought Crimes
    Talk about attitude eh? Well, They’ve got the power and can afford the attitude, unfortunately. Which is why I’ll never be satisfied with anything less than the complete removal of corporations’ political power.