Come back with a warrant by Rosalyn Davis (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Come back with a warrant by Rosalyn Davis (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Lawful Access

Privacy Commissioner Expresses Concern Over Lawful Access

Federal Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart is expressing concern over potential lawful access legislation, stating that "as privacy commissioner, I want to have a lot of questions answered about why this is necessary because, up to now, I haven't been convinced."

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September 1, 2006 1 comment News

Emily of the State

Given that I’ve been writing recently about the impact of Internet-based video and the dangers of lawful access, this video from Cynically Tested is a must-see.

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July 19, 2006 3 comments News

CBA Speaks Out on ISP Snooping

The Canadian Bar Association has spoken out forcefully against lawful access and the growing concern that ISPs are monitoring or investigating their customers’ communications. In a public letter to the Justice Minister, the CBA notes that ISPs action "seems to be introducing a corporate or industry content monitoring scheme, without […]

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July 5, 2006 4 comments News

Bell Controversy Puts Spotlight on Net Surveillance

My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) focuses on last week’s controversy involving Bell Sympatico and a change to its user agreement.  The Bell clause, which took effect on June 15th, advised subscribers that the company retains the right to "monitor or investigate content or your use of your service provider’s networks and to disclose any information necessary to satisfy any laws, regulations or other governmental request."

A widely circulated Canadian Press story (which featured several of my comments), noted that the Conservative government is expected to reintroduce lawful access legislation this fall and speculated that the change might have been in anticipation of that statutory reform.  Many online pundits also chimed in, pointing to the battle over network neutrality in the United States, expressing fears that the Bell change might be designed to pave the way for a two-tier Internet in Canada under which ISPs levy fees on websites to deliver their content.

For its part, Bell swiftly issued a statement emphatically denying that the amendments were linked to lawful access, maintaining that the company had a "a long and established history of protecting the privacy of its customers."

The gist of the column is that regardless of the motivations for the change – whether harmless drafting amendments, lawful access, or network neutrality – the public and media reaction demonstrates how increased Internet surveillance is a political and business minefield that invariably stirs up vociferous opposition.

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July 3, 2006 4 comments Columns

Internet Monitoring Leads to Terror Arrests

This weekend’s arrest of 17 people in Toronto on terrorism-related arrests have generated significant worldwide attention.  Not to be overlooked are the reports that Internet monitoring played a key role in the investigation. According to the Toronto Star "when CSIS began monitoring the sites allegedly used by some of the […]

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June 4, 2006 5 comments News