Post Tagged with: "privacy"

2017 Jumping Happy New Year 2018 New Year Design, CC0 Public Domain

Looking Back at 2017: My Top Ten Posts

With 2018 nearly upon us, many sites are taking a moment to reflect back on the past year and the posts and issues that attracted the most attention. On my site, the top issues are easy to spot: net neutrality, privacy, copyright, website blocking and Netflix issues dominate the top ten. My top ten new posts published in 2017:

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December 28, 2017 3 comments News
IBC CTV Central Equipment Room by Josh Tidsbury (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Canadian Position on Data Localization Rules in Trade Deals Revealed: Protection for Government Data Only

Data localization rules, which require data to be stored locally, have emerged as an increasingly popular legal method for providing some additional assurances about the privacy protection for personal information. Although heavily criticized by those who fear that it harms the free flow of information, requirements that personal information be stored within the local jurisdiction is an unsurprising reaction to concerns about the lost privacy protections if the data is stored elsewhere. Data localization requirements are popping up around the world with European requirements in countries such as Germany, Russia, and Greece; Asian requirements in Taiwan, Vietnam, and Malaysia; Australian requirements for health records, and Latin America requirements in Brazil. Canada has not been immune to the rules either with both British Columbia and Nova Scotia creating localization requirements for government data.

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December 18, 2017 5 comments News
Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam with Hand by Jeff Djevdet (CC BY 2.0)

Industry Committee Calls for CASL Clarification, Rejects Demands for Anti-Spam Law Overhaul

The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology has released its final report on CASL, Canada’s anti-spam legislation. While some groups pleaded for a legislative overhaul – Scott Smith of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce “urge[d] this committee to take a stand on this legislation and make recommendations for a significant overhaul” – the committee adopted a far more cautious tone, limiting the recommendations on substantive provisions to “clarifications” of the law. The emphasis on clarification (it even appears in the study title) is clearly intentional, stopping short of specifying any precise legislative amendments. I appeared before the committee, arguing that spam and spyware pose real risks and that there is evidence that the law has been effective in reducing spam and improving the effectiveness of electronic marketing.

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December 15, 2017 2 comments News
Texting Emoji by Intel Free Press (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Supreme Court of Canada Rules Text Messages May Attract Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

The Supreme Court of Canada has issued a landmark decision concluding that text messages may attract a reasonable expectation of privacy even after they have been sent and received. The case recognizes the importance of electronic communications and the privacy implications of electronic messaging, establishing a standard that is likely to have a significant impact on investigations across the country. Further, the court’s emphasis on a functional approach to privacy in the digital world could have implications that extend well beyond conventional text messaging. The court was divided on the issue: four judges comprised the majority (written by Chief Justice McLachlin), Justice Rowe concurred, and Justice Moldaver wrote a dissent (joined by Justice Cote). The court also released a second decision today involving text messaging which examined the intercept provisions that will be the subject of a future post.

The heart of the case was characterized by the majority in the very first paragraph:

Can Canadians ever reasonably expect the text messages they send to remain private, even after the messages have reached their destination? Or is the state free, regardless of the circumstances, to access text messages from a recipient’s device without a warrant? The question in this appeal is whether the guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure in s. 8  of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms  can ever apply to such messages.

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December 8, 2017 8 comments News
Android Dev Phone 2 (aka Google Ion & HTC Magic) by Cedric Sam (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Bell’s Latest Privacy Solution: Enhance Internet Privacy By Blocking Access to It

The Canadaland report on Bell’s plans to apply to the CRTC to create a website blocking agency unsurprisingly sparked immediate widespread concern. I provided further detail on the proposal, noting the danger of establishing a blocking system without court review of the block list and the very weak case Bell makes to justify it. A critical aspect of the Bell proposal is that it must convince the CRTC that website blocking would further Canada’s telecommunications policy objectives. Given that the CRTC has already ruled that the law prohibits blocking without its approval, that is a difficult standard to meet. I argue that the three justifications raised by Bell – that piracy “threatens the social and economic fabric of Canada”, that the telecommunications system should “encourage compliance with Canadian laws” and that website blocking “will significantly contribute toward the protection of the privacy of Canadian Internet users” – is very weak.

In fact, the privacy argument is not only weak, it is incredibly hypocritical. Bell is arguably the worst major Canadian telecom company on user privacy and its attempt to justify website blocking on the grounds that it wants to protect privacy is shameful. There are obviously far better ways of protecting user privacy from risks on the Internet than blocking access to sites that might create those risks. Further, with literally millions of sites that pose some privacy risk, few would argue that the solution lies in blocking all of them.

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December 5, 2017 6 comments News