Tied to the mast
…but orange now and black

Cyber Security: Canada Edition

Canada’s Conservative government is pushing legislation to greatly increase law-enforcement claims on ISP’s. The legislation would:

  • enable police to access information on an Internet subscriber, such as name, street address and email address, without having to get a search warrant
  • force Internet service providers to freeze data on their hard drives to prevent subscribers under investigation from deleting potentially important evidence.
  • require Telecom companies to invest in technology that allows for the interception of Internet communications.
  • allow police to remotely activate tracking devices already embedded in cellphones and certain cars, to help with investigations.
  • allow police to obtain data about where Internet communications are coming from and going to.
  • make it a crime to arrange with a second person over the Internet the sexual exploitation of a child.
  • The last one seems like a set up for the old “…and he voted WITH the pedophiles!” saw. Is it not already conspiracy to arrange with anyone the sexual exploitation of a child, regardless of medium? I could be wrong on this one… law student friends??

    On the other ones, having seen every episode of the Wire a minimum of twice, I understand how useful that sort of access could be in cracking Baltimore’s crime rings (and yes, Canada’s too). But, powers like being able to freeze data on the computers of those under investigation (with or without a warrant?) are completely new, and above and beyond what has ever been possible before with hard evidence.

    Digital evidence being what it is, such powers also open up a major avenue for police abuse. Being able to selectively freeze data, presupposes that the police can be granted remote access to the harddrive in order to see what to freeze. Checking it out, you see the evidence isn’t quite as you would want it on the hard drive?  No problem, copy in what you need!

    More broadly, I see an incredible democratic value in the sense of independence and freedom that one has in an Internet in which governments do not “require Telecom companies to invest in technology that allows for the interception of Internet communications.” The fact of the regime having that kind of power is why what’s happening in Iran is unlikely to happen in China. Very different world from that of Canada, but I say plan for the worst, amirite?


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