Archive

Posts Tagged ‘CDNTech’

Governments Cyber-bullying Front Man Gets Taken To Task Online

January 10, 2015 Leave a comment

Glen Canning, the governments’ sales person on the controversial cyber-bullying bill has received a lot of flak recently from internet users over the past few days, for tweeting out a compromising picture on social media of an MSVU professor.  Those that have followed the cyber-bullying legislation through committee know that Canning was a stark defender of the cyber-bullying bill; often coming out strongly against those who had privacy concerns on the bill.

Canning’s daughter killed herself when compromising pictures of her were circulated online, and was aggressively cyber-bullied as a result of those pictures.  The Conservative Government had a hard time getting victims’ rights groups to fully support the controversial bill which enshrined into law lawful access provisions allowing the police warrant-less access to an internet users information.  Eventually they put Canning (a grieving father) front and center on the bill which polarized the debate around the bill.  Canning became a supporter of lawful access, and quickly became a polarizing figure in the debate surrounding the cyber-bulling bill as a result of his support for police access to information without judicial oversight.

Canning was recently approached by a female student at MSVU as a result of one of her professors trying to engage in sexual activity with her.  The professor sent her a nude photo of himself, in which landed in the hands of Canning, and was also sent to media outlets.  Canning (who I believe was well intentioned) tweeted out the photo prior to media reports on the story to try and gain public attention to this students’ case.  This lead to a lengthy discussion on reddit, social media, and blogs regarding Cannings’ actions since the cyber-bulling bill that was recently passed has a provision dealing with unauthorized sharing of intimate images.  Canning quickly removed the tweet, and continued to defend his actions.

Section 162.1 of the new cyber-bulling bill states:

162.1 (1) Everyone who knowingly publishes, distributes, transmits, sells, makes available or advertises an intimate image of a person knowing that the person depicted in the image did not give their consent to that conduct, or being reckless as to whether or not that person gave their consent to that conduct, is guilty

It’s important to note that the cyber-bullying bill has yet to come into effect, so questions and debate around this case would be purely speculation, and whether the Canning image tweet qualifies as enforceable under the act, is also entirely open for debate.  One thing is clear cut though.  From the back lash that Canning is getting surrounding this issue, it’s clear that many Canadians have been closely following developments surrounding the new cyber-bullying bill, and the take home from all of this should be that Canadians are very concerned about their rights regarding this bill.

What I don’t agree with; the Government using a grieving parent to play politics and sell a bill that attacks Canadians rights. Canning has become a polarizing figure in this debate around cyber-bullying that I believe was intentional by design regarding the politics of the situation.  It’s quite easy for Government to distance themselves from Canning now that the bill has been passed, and I would strongly suspect that this will happen as a result of the online debate around Cannings’ tweets that will most certainly continue into the halls of parliament.

While I’m not defending Cannings’ move in tweeting these photos’, it’s apparent that there are underlying political issues surrounding this bill, and the debate needs to be focused away from grieving parents, and on to a so called “responsible” government who’s used Canning in an attempt to deflect political attention away from the Conservative party on a controversial bill that the population is extremely concerned about.

I quite strongly disagree with Cannings’ views regarding internet privacy,  as a father myself I have a great amount of respect for this person.  If I had lost a child in the way Canning did, I couldn’t care less about privacy.  That would be fraternal instinct, and I would be acting in much the same way Canning has been throughout the debate.  The government knew this on the political side of things, which is why Canning became front and center on this bill.  The new cyber-bullying bill C-13 is a bill that’s been sold on emotion, not substance, and those that disagree with the bill should note we have an election in a few months’ time.  Rather than attacking a grieving parent, Canadians should be using their right to vote to signal their discontent.

Any politician that has used grieving parents in the way the government has done to sell C-13, in my opinion doesn’t have the moral authority to lead, nor should command our respect at the voting booth.

Advertisements

Self-Expressionism And The Hypocrisy of Politics

January 8, 2015 1 comment

B6ygWjWCQAMJXnk

(Credit: Olive Bites Blog)

Yesterday like many across the world, I became glued to newscasts as events unfolded in France regarding the shooting of satire cartoonists, and journalists. These innocent lives were gunned down in a rampage because a newspaper decided to publish satire portraits of the prophet Mohammad. What followed was an immediate and swift condemnation of an attack on freedom of expression by these terrorists from most global leaders.

What is freedom of expression? Freedom of expression to me is the ability to express myself freely without the worry of being gunned down by terrorists, or jailed for expressing certain points of view. This goes hand in hand, in my opinion with freedom of speech. It’s essential to a democracy to be able to question the politics or ideology of any given topic. Democracy is about different views, and the ability to express those views no matter how distasteful some of those views can be without fear of persecution, or censorship.

Every religion has been guilty of suppressing self-expression. Leonardo Da Vinci had a love for the human anatomy, and often disagreed with the Christian pope at the time. To study what we consider science today in Da Vinci’s time was considered blasphemy by the church, and punishable by death. Think of where the world would be now if Da Vinci and others of that time period were able to freely express their scientific views without persecution. The advancement of human knowledge is also a benefit of self-expression.

As events unfolded in France, I began to start questioning the Canadian response. First the CBC’s editorial staff refused to show the cartoons in question, in an attempt to accommodate the Muslim faith. I wouldn’t have thought twice about it if it were not for yesterday’s events. Those cartoons after yesterday became an important part of a global news story. Journalists have a responsibility to cover the facts of the story, and report it in full without fear of retaliation. The CBC is a publicly funded organization and should hold democratic values of free expression, which sadly were not present yesterday during the initial reporting of the events. Here is an example of one of the cartoons:

B6wmmp1IYAAp3xI

(French Translation: Love is stronger than hate)

Another troubling aspect is the fact that these terrorists were known to authorities. In an age of mass surveillance even people who are known to have terrorist backgrounds keep slipping through the cracks. This is now becoming a considerable theme across the globe since the Boston bombings a few years ago, and the frequency of these attacks in recent months strongly suggests that the policy of mass surveillance is inadequate to prevent any future attacks. In fact it looks to be doing quite the opposite. Too often than not, hard police work and targeted investigations are lacking even on known suspects.

After 9/11 the US gave birth to a state run security sector and public dollars flowed into private security firms. Today that security sector is huge and continues to grow with Canadian companies also benefiting. We’ve ended up giving away our right to privacy online as a result of events like yesterdays. We’re spending vast amounts of money beefing up our surveillance capabilities, and yet these known perpetrators who commit these horrible acts of terror are continuing to do so at an alarming rate. With today’s surveillance capabilities, shouldn’t we be seeing a significant decrease in these attacks?  With the capabilities we have in place today, there should be no excuse for this.

Yet every time society goes through these types of attacks, the private sector security lobby has no problems lining up at the door of public coffers. This lobby is now very strong and keeps stating we need to give up more of our constitutional rights, and enable more failed national security mass surveillance policies to prevent future attacks. Since our Conservative politicians are mainly twits (and could care less about civil liberties), rather than looking at the past decade and learning, they just throw money at the situation, and pass laws that undermine the importance of freedom of expression by attacking our privacy.

What does privacy have to do with freedom of expression you ask? Ask yourself this; if Da Vinci lived 10 years from now with no expectation of privacy, would he become the artist we know him today? A lot of Da Vinci’s most provocative works were hidden from those that would have certainly put him to death if they found them. Some of those works are still being unearthed and studied even today. If he didn’t have any private moments, what would we know of Da Vinci today? Will we end up even having our own private thoughts of self-expression in the future, or will give into those who claim to protect us and are financially benefiting from fear?

If politicians are serious about defending self-expression as so many did yesterday, why then are they attacking the very core of that expression by diminishing the very right to privacy (in the name of national security), where that democratic right of self-expression is birthed? If we can’t freely express ourselves in the privacy of our own homes, through private communications, or through the public without “fear” of prosecution or government listening in, than those that died yesterday, did so without purpose, or meaning and not in defense of core democratic values.

Rick Mercer: Not Informed or Copyright Troll?

October 15, 2014 1 comment

The answer to the above question may play out in the next few days.  Last night Rick Mercer ranted (more felt like a lecture from my parents) on the issue of copyright.  As many of you may know, I used Rick Mercer as an example of why fair dealing is necessary in my blog post last week.  It appears the answer to the question I posed last week: “Is Canada’s Broadcast Media Consortium Using Attack Ad Scandal to Push Copyright Political Agenda?” is in fact YES!  Mercer has come out with a video strongly suggesting that we should scrap the fair dealing clauses all together:


From Howard Knopf, to Michael Geist, to Ariel Katz, to Dwayne Winseck and Openmedia (who just released their report calling for expanding fair use provisions), disagree with Rick Mercer’s take/position on fair dealing and have commented on the attack ad issue publicly. These are the experts!

A big online debate is about to happen regarding the nations copyright policies, instigated by what I believe to be the big media industry lobbyists from CBC, CTV, Global, Rogers, Bell (copyright extremists or terrorists take your pick, both fit but I like copyright troll the best since nothing has been about attack ads with this group from CBC, CTV, Bell, Rogers, it’s about getting paid) who are holding our newsrooms, journalists and Rick Mercer hostage at the moment, ahead of an election.  Big media hates fair dealing!  The next few days are going to be interesting.

This blog will be following and participating in those debates, so don’t forget to subscribe if you are interested in following this.

More to come…

Jennifer Lawrence Leak Interesting Case Study On Online Privacy

September 2, 2014 Leave a comment

Over the long weekend, stories have started to appear online that a hacker gained access to nude photos of actress Jennifer Lawrence taken from her iPhone and stored on Apple’s iCloud. The hacker was able to hack her account to gain access to get iCloud account.  This case is interesting on several levels.

In an age where private industry security has been intentionally weakened through public policy in the name of national security, unfortunately we are likely to see a lot more of these “leaks” as a result.  Canadian Privacy Lawyer David Fraser has an excellent post on the matter, along with steps internet users can take to do their part in ensuring that their data remains secure. In particular Fraser makes some very good recommends:

  • Try to learn the basics of how your device works, particularly about what is synchronised and backed up to online services; check your default settings;
  • Secure your device with a PIN or password (How to: Android and iOs);
  • Add encryption to your device, if possible (How to: Android);
  • Add remote management to kill your device if it is lost (How to: Android (I also like Cerberus Anti Theft) and iOs);
  • Use a strong password for all your accounts. The longer the better. (Read this XKCD comic. Read it, learn it, live it.)
  • Consider a password manager like LastPass to generate complicated passwords for your accounts and to keep them safe. But protect your password vault with the most complicated and longest password you can reliably remember.
  • Use two-factor authentication for your cloud accounts. While not particularly intuitive, two-factor authentication protects your account even if your password is compromised. This is critical. (How to: Google Accounts, DropBox, and most other places.) Any account to which you sync your personal images and video should be protected by two factor authentication.

I would call this defensive passwording. It’s important for users to also do their part in ensuring they have done all they can to protect their personal information, by using strong passwords to their accounts, and make their accounts less vulnerable to would be attackers.  Another valuable piece of advice; if you don’t want your personally information being potentially leaked, it’s best to minimize the exposure of your personal data online.  In other words, if you take nude photos of yourself with your iPhone, or mobile device there’s always a chance that those photo’s could be compromised due the lack of security as a result of public policy.  In other words, keep your nude selfies offline, and off your mobile devices.

Another situation that is arising from this leak, is the speed in which law enforcement got involved, and how social media companies are voluntarily removing these photos at lightening speed, and how this will affect public policy going forward on matters of privacy, cyber bullying, net neutrality, copyright, and free speech.  Something I will be keeping a close eye on as the situation unfolds, and how this these photo’s were obtained. 

Harper and CDN ISPs Set To Destroy International Credibility of The Canadian Tech Sector

Last week, information became available through access to information requests which threw the spotlight on exactly what Canadian telecommunications companies (one would suspect independent providers who apparently support the “pro-internet” community and have remained for the most part completely silent on this issue) are doing with respect to subscribers information and data requests by law enforcement.

Our telecommunications companies are handing over data of thousands of subscribers per year without a warrant to law enforcement. Apparently this is all “legal” due to an exemption in our privacy laws.  Michael Geist explains:

The absence of court oversight may surprise many Canadians, but the government actively supports the warrantless disclosure model. In 2007, it told the Privacy Commissioner of Canada that an exception found in the private sector privacy law to allow for warrantless disclosure was “designed to allow organizations to collaborate with law enforcement and national security agencies without a subpoena, warrant or court order.”

Last week, the EU and US submitted a joint statement after the EU threatened the US to veto trade agreements starting with immediate suspension of the EU safe harbor provisions to US companies.  The joint statement released last week, seems to suggest that court oversight on subscribers information is a big sticking point for US and EU trade relationship.  The statement stated that both the US and EU agree to stronger private sector judicial oversight:

We are committed to expedite negotiations of a meaningful and comprehensive data protection umbrella agreement for data exchanges in the field of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, including terrorism. We reaffirm our commitment in these negotiations to work to resolve the remaining issues, including judicial redress. By ensuring a high level of protection of personal data for citizens on both sides of the Atlantic, this agreement will facilitate transfers of data in this area.

Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights & Citizenship, has given the US until this summer to shape up, with very strong language suggesting that if this doesn’t happen, immediate suspension of safe harbour provisions will most likely go through, and veto’s on US trade deals will be possible by the new year as a new parliament sets to fully address this issue.  Reding gave her US counter parts a 13 point “to do list”.  Reding’s office has not been available to further explain exactly what that 13 point list details, however judicial oversight looks to be on that list from the joint statement.  From the sounds of it, the US seems to be committed to working with the EU on the issue of data privacy.

In light of all of the developments in the EU the United Stated Trade Representative  (USTR) has just piped up in regards to branches of Canadian government that have taken the approach of stopping data transfers to the US.

The strong growth of cross-border data flows resulting from widespread adoption of broadband-based services in Canada and the United States has refocused attention on the restrictive effects of privacy rules in two Canadian provinces, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia. These provinces mandate that personal information in the custody of a public body must be stored and accessed only in Canada unless one of a few limited exceptions applies. These laws prevent public bodies such as primary and secondary schools, universities, hospitals, government-owned utilities, and public agencies from using U.S. services when personal information could be accessed from or stored in the United States.

The Canadian federal government is consolidating information technology services across 63 email systems under a single platform. The request for proposals for this project includes a national security exemption which prohibits the contracted company from allowing data to go outside of Canada. This policy precludes some new technologies such as “cloud” computing providers from participating in the procurement process. The public sector represents approximately one-third of the Canadian economy, and is a major consumer of U.S. services. In today’s information-based economy, particularly where a broad range of services are moving to “cloud” based delivery where U.S. firms are market leaders; this law hinders U.S. exports of a wide array of products and services.

Rather than taking this as a diplomatic threat to Canada by the USTR, it’s representative on how weak the US tech sector has become economically on the issues of privacy protections, when the USTR is coming out with statements like this.

This should serve as an example of a potential downfall in the Canadian tech sector, should the Government continue with it’s approach towards lawful access legislation in the cyber bullying legislation, and not get in front of all of this, to strengthen our privacy laws.  I think it could be devastating to Canadian tech companies when eventually the EU comes knocking looking for change in our laws, and forcing that change, rather than implementing that change before it’s forced upon us, at a time when our democracy is currently under the microscope internationally due to the Government’s Election Reform Act.

While the two most powerful economic bodies are working on solutions to enhance data privacy protections for citizens, the Canadian government doesn’t seem to want to let go of the idea of warrentless wiretapping.  Even though it’s legal in Canada already, the point continues to be made clear with Harper’s cyber bullying bill, which reaffirms the stance of the Canadian government that it is extremely reluctant (even after all of the diplomatic dance between the EU and US on data privacy) to recognize that this provision can and most likely will cost Canadian jobs if they don’t change it.

Audio Polished Edward Snowden SXSW Presentation

March 10, 2014 2 comments

In August last year I wrote a post regarding the Lack of Privacy Is A Matter Of National Security . A lot of Snowden’s presentation does touch up on that subject regarding mass surveillance making our communications systems less secure.  You can also view Snowden’s written testimony to the EU Parliament here.  The EU will be voting on a resolution on Wednesday to delay trade agreements with the US over mass surveillance, and stripping US companies from immunity over legal liability over EU citizens privacy.  It’s worthy to note, that the EU also has Canada’s privacy laws in it’s sights as well.

Snowden’s SXSW presentation is about an hour long presentation, however a must see for those of you in the tech development fields.  An earlier copy of Snowden’s presentation today released by the ACLU was very hard to understand due to the audio eco’s.  Here is a more cleaned up copy of Snowden’s SXSW presentation.  Enjoy:

Industry Canada Priorities Take Aim At The CRTC, and Privacy Laws

Industry Canada has released it’s priorities for 2014 – 2015.  These priorities seem to suggest the government is extremely concerned about barriers put up by telecom sector to the use of e-commerce.  It also suggests that days before the EU starts slapping the US around on privacy concerns, the Canadian government has sent a message that it’s willing to co-operate with the EU on changes to our privacy laws after a threat from the EU to review our privacy laws and possibly put the newly signed CETA trade agreement at risk as a result.

A few points worth highlighting regarding telecommunications policy:

This program develops legal and policy frameworks in the areas of spectrum, telecommunications, privacy protection and online security. It promotes the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian digital economy by regulating commercial conduct and discouraging misconduct in the use of electronic means to carry out commercial activities and by working with the private sector to remove barriers to the use of e-commerce.

The above sounds like an attack on the use of bandwidth caps to me, considering governments previous language on the issue of usage based billing.  If I was CRTC Chair Jean-Pierre Blais right now, I’d be very careful on how he moves forward on the bandwidth cap issue.  It seems to me from the language displayed here, that Industry Canada is watching these “Let’s Talk” proceedings with a keen interest on the wider digital economy.

The below regarding telecommunications policy seems like the government got the message from the EU regarding our privacy laws:

Other elements will include: modernizing the privacy regime to better protect consumer privacy online; monitoring the implementation of Canada’s anti-spam legislation; and deepening analysis of Canada’s communications infrastructure.

Industry Canada will develop a multi-year work plan to fulfill its mandate within the Cyber Security and the Critical Infrastructure Protection strategies. The Department will also work internationally to develop standards that address cyber security and privacy concerns.

On March 12th, 2014 the EU Parliament is expected to raise it’s voice big time over the US’s NSA spying on EU Citizens.  The threats thus far from the EU have been related to putting trade agreements on hold, and suspending the US’s safe harbor for EU data.  The EU has even threatened Canada with a review of our privacy laws to see if they are adequate enough to protect EU citizens from unwarranted interception, which could put the newly signed CETA trade agreement between the EU and Canada at risk.

Will the language on privacy thwart a review of Canadian privacy law by the EU?  I would suspect not, as the EU is extremely upset over the NSA spying, and those that have helped the US in this regard including Canada.  What the language will provide however, is talking points for Industry Minister Moore should the EU have Canadian privacy laws in it’s sights.

On the surface the priorities of Industry Canada regarding telecom and privacy seem to be in-line with Canadians on these issues, however the devil will be in the details regarding future legislation to bring these priorities into law.  Considering pressure from the EU on the privacy front, I’m hopeful  that meaningful changes in our privacy laws are about to occur.

%d bloggers like this: