As the Canadian education community continues to shift away from the Access Copyright licence, relying instead on a combination of site licenses for materials, open access, fair dealing, and individual transactional licences, U.S. publishers are now urging the U.S. government to pressure the Canadian government to take action. The IIPA, […]
Archive for February, 2014
The Canadian Internet Registration Authority, the organization that manages the dot-ca domain, has unveiled an exciting new initiative that will deliver a million dollars toward community projects, research, and other related activities (full disclosure: I am a member of the CIRA board and chair of the committee that will review […]
Last summer, I discussed the Snowden leaks and concerns about Canadian surveillance activities with a senior government official. The official remarked that in the wake of the Snowden revelations the political risk did not lie with surveillance itself, since most Canadians basically trusted their government and intelligence agencies to avoid misuse (the steady stream of Snowden leaks and Canada’s increasingly apparent role may have changed this analysis). Rather, the real concern was with being caught lying about the surveillance activities. This person was of the view that Canadians would accept surveillance, but they would not accept lying about surveillance programs.
Those comments came to mind over the past week with the latest revelations about CSEC metadata surveillance. While the story has been characterized as an airport wifi surveillance issue, it is clear that the airport wifi angle misses the real concern. The leaked document and subsequent explanations reveal an attempt to identify travel patterns and geographic locations using user ID data over a two week period provided by a Canadian source (CSEC referred to this as metadata in the Senate committee hearing yesterday) along with a database of geo-locations of IP addresses supplied by Quova (I once served as an advisor to Quova). By identifying airport wifi IP addresses along with broader usage data and geo-identifying information, CSEC hopes to be able to identify locational movements of individual users. Bruce Schneier provides a helpful review of the likely intent of the program.
While some argued the program tracks Canadians and is therefore illegal (citing Charter violations and activities beyond the CSEC mandate), the Justice Minister maintains the program is legal and CSEC has defended the program in a release the day after the story broke and again at the Senate committee yesterday. Moreover, the CSEC Commissioner has posted a somewhat cryptic statement that emphasizes the independence of the review process. Ryan Gallagher has responded to those statements with a post arguing the denials are hollow.
I appeared on Rob Breakenridge’s Show to discuss the impact of CSEC collecting metadata. Listen to or download the podcast here.
- The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 63: Ontario Privacy Commissioner Patricia Kosseim on the COVID Alert App
- The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 62: Colin Bennett on What the Schrems II Decision Means for Global Data Transfers and Canadian Privacy Law
- Why I Installed the COVID Alert App
- A Quarter-Billion Dollar Bag of Beans: Responding to Ken Whyte’s Attack on Library Book Loans
- The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 61: Senator James Cowan on the Extraordinary Battle for a Genetic Anti-Discrimination Law in Canada