News - All

  • – 2011-06-23 –

    Charlie Angus and Jasbit Sandhu, the NDP Ethics, Privacy and Digital Issues Spokesman and Public Safety Critic, respectively, in a letter to Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews, are calling for careful scrutiny of a legislative proposal that threatens to create a "digital panopticon" where online citizen actions can be tracked at rates unprecedented in Canada.

    The letter highlights a number of concerns, foremost of which are the warrantless disclosure provisions in the proposed legislation, which will force telecommunications service providers to identify anonymous customers upon request. Anonymity is key to any meaningful privacy protection online, and such identities will be the doorway to a host of personal information ranging from online political speech on blogs to exposing the social connections of anonymous accounts on services such as Twitter, to geolocation data. Yet under these lawful access bills, state agents will be given the power to seize such information, even where there is no reason to suspect it will be useful to an investigation.

  • – 2011-06-23 –

    OpenMedia.ca has launched a petition to stop the Government's online spying mandate. The petition, which is directed 'lawful access' legislation the federal government has committed to pass as part of an omnibus bill within 100 days of Parliament's sitting, expresses concern with the broad, warrantless powers that the government seeks to put in place without any real oversight. These powers are troubling in that they will allow state agents to identify anonymous online users in situations where there is not even any reason to suspect the information will be useful to an investigation. Indicative of this concern, the Privacy Commissioners of Canada had collectively denounced the lawful access bills, as drafted, in a historic joint letter to the government in May.

    The bills will also require telecommunications service providers to build in spyware back doors into their services so that police can more readily intercept the communications of users. Such back doors open security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by criminals, for example, and the OpenMedia.ca petition points out the detrimental impact this will have for the personal information of Canadians. Finally, the petition is concerned that Canadians will be forced to bear the weight of this costly surveillance program through tax dollars

  • – 2011-06-04 –

    Electronic Freedom Frontiers (EFF) has issued a challenge aimed at spreading and strengthening the Tor Project -- a network of servers and routing points that aims to allow anonymous and encrypted online communications and expression. EFF is calling on individuals and organizations to operate relay points that will strengthen the Tor network and help make anonymous and private online browsing a reality.

    EFF provides a great video detailing how to set up your Tor relay as well as some helpful legal advice for the operation of such a relay.

  • – 2011-05-27 –

    OpenMedia.ca released "Casting an Open Net: A Leading Edge Approach to Canada's Digital Future", a report demonstrating the need for a comprehensive digital policy that has openness as its guiding principle. The report lays out a factual and policy basis for the need for Openness, as well as an action plan that lays out clear steps that will allow Canada to regain its digital leadership role by providing Canadians with an open, affordable Internet.

    CIPPIC contributed a chapter to the report

  • – 2011-05-10 –

    The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has released a report exploring many of the challenges posed by emerging technologies and business practices to protection of privacy in an interconnected world. The report is a result of a number of groundbreaking consultations held in cities across Canada which explored issues such as online and geolocational tracking,behavioural targeting,  cloud computing, and emerging risks for online privacy of children.

    Alongside its other conclusions, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada noted that people deserve to have access to the many benefits of an interconnected world, but that "this should not come at the expense of privacy rights".

  • – 2011-05-10 –

    Early registration is now open for CFP2011! This will be the 21st iteration of the annual conference, which explores cutting edge issues related to the intersection between computers, privacy and freedom. This year, CFP will be held in Washington D.C. and will explore the role of social media in Middle East/North Africa democratic movements, the growing impact of mobile personal computing on freedom and privacy, as well as a host of other issues including the smart grid, e-health records, net neutrality, Identity management, and growing trends towards ubiquitous surveillance.

  • – 2011-02-17 –

    Canada's federal, provincial and territorial Information and Privacy Commissioners are calling for nominations for the Grace-Pépin Access to Information Award, which will honour and recognize the efforts of individuals who have demonstrated an exceptional contribution to Access to Information, transparency, and accountability in Canada. The award also honours and commemorates its eponymous Commissioners, John Grace, former Information Commissioner of Canada, and Marcel Pépin, president and founder of the Commission d'accèss à l'information du Québec.

    The inaugural award will be presented during the International Conference of Information Commissioners which will be held in Ottawa on October 4-5, 2011. Future awards will be presented annually during Right to Know week.

    More details on the nomination process and requirements are available here (FR). The submission form is here (FR).

  • – 2010-12-23 –

    The Supreme Court of Canada has granted leave SOCAN v. Bell, in which the Copyright Board and Federal Court of Appeal had agreed that consumer "previews" of 30 second music clips were fair dealing since they amounted to consumer research.

  • – 2010-11-19 –

    In an open letter to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, CIPPIC and a number of civil society organizations voice serious concerns with respect to Bill C-29, currently before the House and scheduled for second reading early next week. The Bill, ironically dubbed the 'Safeguarding Canadians' Personal Information Act', proposes a number of amendments to Canada's federal privacy protection statute, PIPEDA. Far from improving privacy, the Bill threatens to erode civil liberties in serious ways. Even where it attempts to improve privacy, it falls short by failing to provide any incentive for compliance.

    The most troubling elements of the Bill pave the way to a dramatic expansion in the ways in which private businesses can be used in investigations against their own customers. While privacy should never be a bar to legitimate investigations of actual wrongs, the law provides mechanisms such as warrants, production orders, mandatory disclosure laws, and discovery processes that ensure investigations can occur with proper safeguards in place. This Bill essentially bypasses all of these safeguards by adding and expanding exceptions that permit organizations to simply give away their customer's information and includes elements evocative of the US PATRIOT Act and all the civil liberties violations that accompanied it.

  • – 2010-11-15 –

    CIPPIC filed its factum in Crookes v. Newton, which will decide the fate of the hyperlink in defamation law.  The case, on appeal from the B.C. Court of Appeal, has raised the issue of whether and under what circumstances posting a hyperlink to online content that contains defamatory statements can amount to publication of that content.  The plaintiff, Crookes, argues that posting a hyperlink draws the reader's attention to any defamatory statements contained in the linked article and this is sufficient to impose liability on the poster of the link.  He argues further that, by nature and convention, by posting a hyperlink the author of an article intends to incorporate the linked content into the original article.