Post Tagged with: "Patriot Act"

If U.S. Cloud Computing Isn’t Good Enough for the Canadian Government, Why Should It Be for You?

In August 2011, the federal government announced plans to consolidate more than 100 different email systems used by over 300,000 employees into a single, outsourced email system. While the email transition is currently underway – Bell won the nearly $400 million contract last year – the decision quietly sparked a trade fight with the United States that placed the spotlight on the risks associated with hosting computer data outside the country.

At the heart of the dispute is the emergence of cloud computing services such as web-based email, online document storage, and photo sharing sites. These services are based on a computing infrastructure that relies on huge computer server farms and high-speed network connections that allow users to access their content from any device connected to the Internet.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that cloud computing services offer the promise of convenience and cost savings, but at a price of reduced control over your own content, reliance on third-party providers, and potential privacy risks should the data “hosted in the cloud” be disclosed to law enforcement agencies without appropriate disclosure or oversight.

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March 12, 2014 19 comments Columns

Patriot Act Clouds the Picture For U.S.-Based Cloud Computing

Politico covers the growing international concern with U.S.-based cloud computing services due to privacy fears.

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December 1, 2011 5 comments News

Privacy Commissioner Rules USA Patriot Act Privacy Risks Mirrored in Canada

Assistant Privacy Commissioner has ruled that the privacy risks posed by the USA Patriot Act are similar to those found in Canada and therefore not grounds to rule that the privacy protection afforded by a U.S. email provider is not comparable to Canadian-based providers.  The finding arises from a complaint […]

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August 19, 2008 6 comments News

H&R Block’s Privacy Policy

A reader points to the H&R Block Canada privacy policy, which includes the following gem for Canadians handing over their personal tax information: Due to H&R US's location in the United States, and in instances where your personal information is processed or stored by another affiliate or service provider in […]

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March 24, 2008 10 comments News

Private Email Not Always Hush Hush

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, The Tyee version, Ottawa Citizen version, homepage version) begins by recounting that this past September, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency launched "Operation Raw Deal", an initiative that targeted people purchasing raw steroid materials through the Internet from China and repackaging the steroids as drugs for domestic sale.  Tyler Strumbo, a 23-year old California resident, was among the 124 people arrested. The Strumbo case is of particular interest because of an important Canadian connection. The foundation of the DEA's case rested on hundreds of encrypted emails stored on the computer servers of Hush Communications, a company based in Vancouver.  A British Columbia court ordered the company to decrypt the emails and to send them to the U.S. law enforcement officials.  Faced with a valid court order, the company complied, shipping 12 CDs filled with unencrypted personal email to investigators in California.

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November 27, 2007 6 comments Columns