News

  • – 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.

  • – 2011-05-05 –

    The Supreme Court of Canada today granted leave to hear the appeal in Alberta (Education) v. Access Copyright. This case will provide the Court with the opportunity to clarify the scope of the fair dealing defense in educational environments.

  • – 2011-04-14 –

    A number of diverse national groups: the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, and Newspapers Canada have sent a joint letter to party leaders calling on them to fix Canada's disastrous federal access to information system. The letter responds to growing evidence that the Canadian access to information system is rapidly becoming among the worst of its kind in the developed world and cites the federal Information Commissioner's own assessment of the system: that it has hit "rock bottom".


    The letter calls on the parties to commit to fixing the ATI system by April 18, and party responses will be posted on the signatories' respective websites.

  • – 2011-03-23 –

    An American court has rejected the proposed settlement to the Google Books Search class action.  The court concluded that the proposed settlement was not "fair, adequate and reasonable".

    CIPPIC acted for a group of independent Canadian authors and for the Canadian Association of Universtiy Teachers in opposing the settlement based on its inclusion of Canadian authors among the copyright owners affected by the settlement.

  • – 2011-02-23 –

    The Alberta Provincial legislature is proposing legislation that will obligate telecommunications service providers to provide police with a vast amount of "telephone and other electronic communications records", including: locational (GPS) data, cellular phone records, all inbound and outbound text messages, and internet browsing history. If requested by an officer claiming reasonable grounds to believe that immediate access to the records is necessary to prevent imminent harm of a missing person, the telecommunications service provider will have no option other than to provide the requested information or face potential adverse cost awards.