Saturday, 18 February 2012

Ceiling Vic is watching you.

Every step you take
Every move you make
I'll be watching you.

More information about Bill C-30 here, from CBC journalist Terry Milewski.
[...] then, there's Section 34. After reading it, you wonder whether it's just pandas we're getting from China.

Government-appointed inspectors

Among other things, the bill requires [Internet Service Providers] to install surveillance technology and software to enable monitoring of phone and internet traffic. Section 34 is there to make sure ISPs comply. So what, exactly, does it say?

Essentially, it says that government agents may enter an ISP when they wish, without a warrant, and demand to see absolutely everything — including all data anywhere on the network — and to copy it all. If that seems hard to believe, let's walk through it.

First, Section 33 tells us that, "The Minister may designate persons or classes of persons as inspectors for the purposes of the administration and enforcement of this Act." So we're not talking about police officers necessarily. We're talking about anyone the minister chooses — or any class of persons.

Next, Section 34 spells out the sweeping powers of these "inspectors." And, if they sound Orwellian, welcome to the world of Section 34.

The inspectors may "enter any place owned by, or under the control of, any telecommunications service provider in which the inspector has reasonable grounds to believe there is any document, information, transmission apparatus, telecommunications facility or any other thing to which this Act applies."

And, once he or she is in, anything goes.

The inspector, says the bill, may "examine any document, information or thing found in the place and open or cause to be opened any container or other thing." He or she may also "use, or cause to be used, any computer system in the place to search and examine any information contained in or available to the system."

You read that right. The inspector gets to see "any" information that's in or "available to the system." Yours, mine, and everyone else's emails, phone calls, web surfing, shopping, you name it. But, if that sounds breath-taking enough, don't quit now because the section is still not done.

The inspector — remember, this is anyone the minister chooses — is also empowered to copy anything that strikes his or her fancy. The inspector may "reproduce, or cause to be reproduced, any information in the form of a printout, or other intelligible output, and remove the printout, or other output, for examination or copying."

Oh, and he can even use the ISP's own computers and connections to copy it or to email it to himself. He can "use, or cause to be used, any copying equipment or means of telecommunication at the place."

In short, there's nothing the inspector cannot see or copy. "Any" information is up for grabs. And you thought the new airport body scanners were intrusive?

Finally, note that such all-encompassing searches require no warrant, and don't even have to be in the context of a criminal investigation. Ostensibly, the purpose is to ensure that the ISP is complying with the requirements of the act — but nothing in the section restricts the inspector to examining or seizing only information bearing upon that issue. It's still "any" information whatsoever.
Read the whole thing.

Meanwhile, the editorial board at the NatPo is rearranging the location of deck chairs on the Titanic.

ADDED: An excellent summary of the @vikileak30 story from Stephen Maher.


Dave said...

Except that there are a few things wrong:
The NaPo (and Maher in his own way) are referring to the link-trap as "exceptional investigative reporting". It isn't. It's kindergarten IT work and, despite what both are telling the public, it does NOT identify a computer; it identifies a server. Big difference.

The "exceptional" definition would be apt if it centered around the suggestion that it simply doesn't happen very often. As in, investigative reporting is so rare nowadays as to make it exceptional when it happens at all.

Neither newspaper has faced one fact: This event highlights that newspapers, particularly those ones, are NOT the organs of reader push-back and therefore have lost the credibility to call themselves a public voice.

This week they stared at their own paleolithic existence and finally noticed the small furry creatures running about their feet. Now they wait for the meteorite to strike.

deBeauxOs said...

You're right Dave. Maher does not acknowledge that The Citizen dropped the ball on this one and attempted to recover it.

Anonymous said...

This Unlawful Access bill isn't anything like the copyright bill C-11, which is okay in general but has a few specific bad sections that need to be amended out.

The Unlawful Access bill is just entirely bad. No amount of amendments can fix it. Each new analysis of the bill isn't just a parotting of whatever bad things were mentioned before. There's so much horrible totalitarian content hidden inside that people keep on finding something new in it to be outraged about.

Here's an analysis from the perspective of an ISP. The bill is pretty chilling for them too. They face extra-judicial (ie no due process & by administrative fiat) provisions for non-compliance. Up to $250,000 fined simply if the minister's appointee decrees it so.

Anonymous said...

If Dave is correct that the IP address refers to a server and not necessarily a single computer, then this point must be made loud and clear. The Ottawa Citizen article has unfortunately, wittingly (didn't it originate from the same media group that gave us the fake citizenship oath debacle?) or unwittingly, served to create the impression that it was traceable to a computer. Apparently, the IP was even available from remote connections, an important point not made by Maher either, so it wasn't even necessary that Vikileaks30 was onsite. All the more reason, IMHO, why our time are probably better spent not reading the Nat Con Post, Ottawa Cit. or the "Spun" Media group. lol

Skinny Dipper said...

The Chinese oil companies that Harper is welcoming into the Tar Sands are the same ones that are going into Iran to help the Iranians deal with Harper`s ally--Israel.

EssBee said...

Time for every internet user to start looking into using a non North American based VPN (virtual private network) that will be encrypted end to end. Maybe one in Sweden or Switzerland.

And also, isn't Vic Toews from Paraguay? Ummm, who was it who emigrated to Paraguay in large numbers after WWII? Oh that's right...Fascists, and lots of them. His mother tongue is German.

He is from a Mennonite community. There is an interesting paper online ( by J.H Redekop at Trinity Western University called "The Roots of Nazi Support among Mennonites, 1930 to 1939". One wonders, he was young when his family left Paraguay, but influences in youth are often very powerful.

At least one of the Mennonite communities in Paraguay is situated in the Chaco region, oddly enough that is where the Bush family bought 100,000 acres not too many years ago. And of course GW Bush's Grandfather was involved in the financial support of the Nazi machine during WWII through the firm Brown Brothers Harriman.

From the Guardian "George Bush's grandfather, the late US senator Prescott Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany. "

Niles said...

sigh, I really need better skillz.

(repost. had a garbled sentence.)

Vic 'you defend against being monitored by blithely stating no-I-didn't' Toews is shocked, SHOCKED there are over-reaching powers in his 'won't someone think of the children' bill. Whoodathunk!

Worse, the article, while pointing out problems etc. still manages to leave the impression it would only be police officers digging around in people's business and that's what Toews believes because he's shocked, SHOCKED his bill that protects children from internet sexual predators could be abused by them, even as his next breath shrugs the flaws off as meh, it's going to committee, they all go to committee, chill out dudes, even if it's going to committee with anti-Canadian opposition parties having to be involved, those terrible manipulators of Parliament.

Which is of course, what telling people they stand with child pornographers is, chilling out over criticism of his bill, the contents of which he is now on record as not knowing, although by all indications, he certainly knew the last-minute edited title of the bill.

Is that what MP Woodworth would call focusing on policy, not politics?

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