Archive for November, 2013

Lawful Access Returns Under the Cover of Cyberbullying Bill

Appeared in the Toronto Star on November 22, 2013 as  Lawful Access Returns Under the Cover of Cyber-Bullying Bill In February 2012, then-Public Safety Minister Vic Toews introduced Internet surveillance legislation that sparked widespread criticism from across the political spectrum. The overwhelming negative publicity pressured the government to quickly backtrack […]

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November 27, 2013 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

Federal Ct Takes CSIS To Task In Case Involving CSEC Requests for Foreign Agency Spying on Canadians

Since the first Snowden revelations earlier this year, there has been much speculation about the use foreign intelligence agencies (such as the NSA) to conduct surveillance on Canadians. While the government is always careful to say that CSEC does not spy on Canadians, many suspect that each of the “five eyes” agencies (the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand)  do it on their behalf. Yesterday, a federal court judge confirmed the practice as part of a decision that found CSIS “breached its duty of candour to the Court by not disclosing information that was relevant to the exercise of jurisdiction by the Court and to the determination by the Court that the criteria of investigative necessity and the impracticality of other procedures set out in subsection 21 (2) of the CSIS Act had been satisfied.”

The lack of candour appears to arise from the failure to disclose that the CSIS warrants would involve seeking CSEC assistance in requesting foreign interception of Canadian communications:

the Court has determined that the execution of the type of warrants at issue in Canada has been  accompanied by requests made by CSEC, on behalf of CSIS, to foreign agencies (members of the “Five Eyes” alliance), for the interception of the telecommunications of Canadian persons abroad.

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November 26, 2013 16 comments News

The Privacy Threats in Bill C-13, Part One: Immunity for Personal Info Disclosures Without a Warrant

The introduction of Bill C-13 – the “cyberbullying bill” with extensive lawful access provisions – has generated considerable discussion on its privacy implications. While many have noted that Justice Minister Peter MacKay took less than a year to retreat from the government’s commitment that “any attempts that we will continue to have to modernize the Criminal Code will not contain the measures contained in C-30”, the question will soon focus on whether the new bill contains any privacy threats in need of reform.

It is certainly true that the government has removed two of the most controversial C-30 provisions by excluding warrantless mandatory disclosure of basic subscriber information and the requirement for telecommunications service providers to build intercept capability within their systems. However, several provisions still featured in the bill are cause for concern. This post focuses on the new safe harbour protections for voluntary disclosure of personal information without a warrant. Posts to follow later this week will examine the lower thresholds for access to metadata and location information.

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November 25, 2013 8 comments News

Government of Canada Quietly Changes Its Approach to Crown Copyright

In 2010, the federal government implemented important changes to its crown copyright approach. While the law vests full copyright in government works, the government notified the public that it was establishing a non-commercial use licence that gave permission for non-commercial uses without the need for permission. The government stated:

Permission to reproduce Government of Canada works, in part or in whole, and by any means, for personal or public non-commercial purposes, or for cost-recovery purposes, is not required, unless otherwise specified in the material you wish to reproduce.
A reproduction means making a copy of information in the manner that it is originally published – the reproduction must remain as is, and must not contain any alterations whatsoever.
The terms personal and public non-commercial purposes mean a distribution of the reproduced information either for your own purposes only, or for a distribution at large whereby no fees whatsoever will be charged.
The term cost-recovery means charging a fee for the purpose of recovering printing costs and other costs associated with the production of the reproduction.

Up until last week, that remained the approach. As of November 18th, it appears to have changed. First, Publications and Depository Services, the branch within the Public Works and Government Services that handled crown copyright, is no longer doing so. It now provides the following notice:

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November 25, 2013 4 comments News

Bell Faces CRTC Net Neutrality Complaint

Bell Mobility is facing a net neutrality complaint arising from its treatment of online video. Filed by Ben Klass, the complaint (a Part 1 application requesting fair treatment of Internet services by Bell Mobility) compares the cost of watching 5 GB of content on Netflix with the cost of 5 […]

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November 25, 2013 2 comments News