(Un)Lawful Access

UnLawful access is a great new project focused on the implications of the government’s forthcoming lawful access legislation.  I was pleased to participate in a terrific video on lawful access that includes Andrew Clement, David Fewer, David Lyon, David Murakami Wood, Dwayne Winseck, Ian Kerr, Natalie Des Rosiers, and Ron Deibert.

(un)LAWFUL ACCESS from The New Transparency on Vimeo.


  1. Richard Pitt says:

    My Open Letter to Stephen Harper and my MP, Randy Kamp
    I’ve just finished watching the video at and urge you to reconsider your position on this legislation that would effectively eliminate privacy in our communications.
    Would you support a bill that would force all couriers to open and copy the contents of every package/letter they carried and give the copy to the police? I sure hope not.
    Would you support a bill that would force all doctors, lawyers, and other agents to report to the police every time someone came into their office? Is sure hope not.
    In effect, this “lawful access” legislation is exactly that – forcing ISPs to spy on and gather information not just on those officially suspected (through the use of time-tested judicial oversight in the form of warrants) but EVERY SINGLE PERSON! You included!
    But it is worse! Physical copying takes time and a lot of resources… as does the actual analysis of such copies – but electronic copying takes no time (but does take some setup costs) but once it is in place the gathering and analysis of the resulting information takes almost nothing in the way of resources in today’s technology environment.
    This is the crux – the fact that time and resources are no longer an issue in the gathering and analysis of incredible amounts of detailed personal privacy-invasive information over periods of time to be measured in years. The built-in checks and balances of facilities that “forget” or have a human in the gathering/interpretation loop no longer apply – only hard, raw data – no context, nothing to mitigate the use of this data for any purpose whatsoever at some point in the future.
    Think about being taken to task for reading a book 20 years ago, when you were young and exploring life, and then being held accountable for that fact because the regime has changed and the subject is now “banned” – like Judaism in Germany.
    Beware of what you wish for. This weapon points both ways.
    What would you do it the head of RCMP (or possibly worse yet, the armed forces) came to you and said “we have evidence you visited these porn sites when you were in high school – boost my budget and they’ll disappear.”
    That’s the danger – that such power can (and as history has shown, will) fall into the hands of disreputable people who start out in positions of authority by normal means, and maintain and grow their power through misuse of their resources.
    Mr. Harper – you were NOT elected King – you were elected to fulfill the wishes of your Canadian citizens (not the US government or other foreign powers) and to protect the freedoms and way of life of Canadians from subversion and lawlessness.
    Imposing a regime on Canadian’s communications facilities that rivals that of the repressive regime in China is not in my opinion a very good or defensible activity in a free country.
    Forcing facilities to be put in place and covering that with “they’ll only be used for the good of the nation” or other similar platitudes simply tells me you and your government are either willfully blind to history, or already working to subvert freedoms in Canada. If the former, shame on you (and the electorate for electing you). If the latter, you should be considered terrorists as you certainly terrify me.

  2. Nearly time to pull the plug…
    I’ve been online since the early 1980s –almost almost half my life.

    What with (un)lawful access, ACTA, the new copyright bill, digital locks, and god knows what else coming down the pipe — for the first time in my life, I’m seriously considering saying to hell with it, and dropping off the net.

    I’ll be DAMNED If I’m going to pay for my own surveillance, whether through taxes, higher ISP fees (or both). Frankly, I resent having to consider the use of a VPN merely to evade surveillance that, in a just society, should have remained illegal.