Surveillance: America's Pastime by Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: naixn, Jason Smith / feastoffun.com) (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Surveillance: America's Pastime by Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: naixn, Jason Smith / feastoffun.com) (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Surveillance

Rod Breakenridge Interview Discussing the Impact of CSEC Collecting Metadata

I appeared on Rob Breakenridge’s Show to discuss the impact of CSEC collecting metadata. Listen to or download the podcast here.

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February 4, 2014 Comments are Disabled News Interviews, Tv / Radio

Why Canada’s Telecom Companies Should Come Clean About Customer Information

Earlier this week, I wrote a column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) arguing that Canada’s telecom companies should come clean about their disclosures of customer information. That column was in response to a public letter from leading civil liberties groups and academics  sent to Canada’s leading telecom companies asking them to shed new light into their data retention and sharing policies. The letter writing initiative, which was led by Christopher Parsons of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, is the latest attempt to address the lack of transparency regarding how and when Canadians’ personal information may be disclosed without their knowledge to law enforcement or intelligence agencies.

That initiative has now effectively been joined by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and NDP MP Charmaine Borg. Chantal Bernier, the interim Privacy Commissioner of Canada, released recommendations yesterday designed to reinforce privacy protections in the age of cyber-surveillance. The report includes the following recommended reform to PIPEDA:

require public reporting on the use of various disclosure provisions under PIPEDA where private-sector entities such as telecommunications companies release personal information to national security entities without court oversight.

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January 29, 2014 5 comments Columns

Why Canada’s Telecom Companies Should Come Clean About Customer Information

Appeared in the Toronto Star on January 25, 2014 as Why Canada’s Telecoms Should Come Clean About Customer Information Last week I joined leading civil liberties groups and academics in a public letter sent to Canada’s leading telecom companies asking them to shed new light into their data retention and […]

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January 28, 2014 1 comment Columns Archive

The Shameful Canadian Silence on Surveillance

Later this morning, U.S. President Barack Obama will give a speech on U.S. surveillance activities in which he is expected to establish new limitations on the program. While the measures will likely fall well short of what many believe is necessary, it is notable that the surveillance issue has emerged as a significant political issue since the Snowden leaks and the U.S. government has recognized the need to address it. 

Reaction to the Snowden leaks in the U.S. has not been limited to political responses. In recent months, Verizon and AT&T, the two U.S. telecom giants, announced plans to issue regular transparency reports on the number of law enforcement requests they receive for customer information. The telecom transparency reports come following a similar trend from leading Internet companies such as Google, Twitter, Microsoft, and Facebook

The U.S. reaction stands in stark contrast to the situation in Canada. Canadian government officials have said little about Canadian surveillance activities, despite leaks of spying activities, cooperation with the NSA, a federal court decision that criticized the intelligence agencies for misleading the court, and a domestic metadata program which remains shrouded in secrecy. In fact, the government seems to have moved in the opposite direction, by adopting a lower threshold for warrants seeking metadata than is required for standard warrants in Bill C-13.

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January 17, 2014 12 comments News

European Report Says Canadian Privacy Law Should Be Re-Examined Due to Surveillance Activities

The European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs has issued a detailed draft report on the U.S. surveillance activities and its implications for European fundamental rights. The report loops Canada into the discussion, noting Canada’s participation in the “five-eyes” consortium and expressing concern about the implications for trust in the Canadian legal system. The report states:

whereas according to the information revealed and to the findings of the inquiry conducted by the LIBE Committee, the national security agencies of New Zealand and Canada have been involved on a large scale in mass surveillance of electronic communications and have actively cooperated with the US under the so called ‘Five eyes’ programme, and may have exchanged with each other personal data of EU citizens transferred from the EU;

whereas Commission Decisions 2013/651 and 2/2002 of 20 December 2012 have declared the adequate level of protection ensured by the New Zealand and the Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act; whereas the aforementioned revelations also seriously affect trust in the legal systems of these countries as regards the continuity of protection afforded to EU citizens; whereas the Commission has not examined this aspect.

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January 9, 2014 4 comments News