Archive for September, 2013

Canada Complicit in Undermining Internet Privacy

As the tidal wave of disclosures on widespread U.S. surveillance continues – there is now little doubt that the U.S. government has spent billions creating a surveillance infrastructure that covers virtually all Internet and wireless communications – the question of Canada’s role in these initiatives remains largely shrouded in secrecy.

The Canadian government has said little, but numerous reports suggest that agencies such as the Communications Security Establishment Canada (the CSE is the Canadian counterpart to the U.S. National Security Agency) are engaged in similar kinds of surveillance. This includes capturing metadata of Internet and wireless communications and working actively with foreign intelligence agencies to swap information obtained through the data mining of Internet-based surveillance.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes the active connection between Canadian and U.S. officials moved to the forefront last week with reports that Canadian officials may have played a starring role in facilitating U.S. efforts to create a “backdoor” to widely used encryption standards. That initiative has been described as “undermining the very fabric of the Internet.”

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September 17, 2013 8 comments Columns

Canada Complicit in Undermining Internet Privacy

Appeared in the Toronto Star on September 14, 2013 as Canada Complicit in Undermining Internet Privacy As the tidal wave of disclosures on widespread U.S. surveillance continues – there is now little doubt that the U.S. government has spent billions creating a surveillance infrastructure that covers virtually all Internet and […]

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September 17, 2013 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

UBC Sets the Record Straight on University Spending on Copyright Materials

UBC President Stephen Toope has written an important letter responding to criticism from the Writers’ Union of Canada over his university’s reliance on fair dealing. Consistent with many universities across the country, UBC has moved away from the Access Copyright licence, focusing instead on a combination of fair dealing, open access, and site licences. The Toope letter notes how much the university community still pays for copyright materials and how little course pack sales are in relationship to overall spending:

UBC pays in the neighbourhood of $25 million to publishers and authors every year. In fiscal 2011/12, UBC spent approximately $2 million on book acquisitions, $2 million on print serials, and $10 million on digitally licensed subscriptions for students and faculty to access through its library system. UBC also sold approximately $14 million of books directly to students and faculty (for which UBC paid publishers about $10 million). In the same period, total course pack sales were about $1 million, less than 4% of the total spent on learning materials. Responsive to the needs of today’s students, UBC’s faculty members are increasingly utilizing online modes of content delivery, which means that course pack production volumes will form an even smaller percentage over time.

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September 16, 2013 Comments are Disabled News

Decoding the Trans-Pacific Partnership: The Free Speech Implications

Earlier this week, I joined Jesse Brown for an online discussion on the Trans Pacific Partnership. The event, which was hosted by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, focused on the free speech implications from the deal, particularly in light of the copyright and privacy provisions. Moreover, we spent some time […]

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September 13, 2013 1 comment News

Canada Facilitated NSA’s Effort To Weaken Encryption Standards

The NY Times reports that Canada played a notable role in assisting the NSA to weaken encryption standards. The Times reports: internal memos leaked by a former N.S.A. contractor, Edward Snowden, suggest that the N.S.A. generated one of the random number generators used in a 2006 N.I.S.T. standard – called […]

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September 11, 2013 2 comments Must Reads