The advancement of internet legal principles is the only good thing to result from child pornography #RvSpencer
– Me, on Twitter, last Friday as I read the case
Sure, quoting yourself from Twitter is pretty dumb. And tragically, my #RvSpencer hashtag never took off. But the point still stands. Illegal activities like child pornography tend to be lightning rods for internet privacy, and the only way we can get landmark internet law cases like last Friday’s R v. Spencer case from the Supreme Court of Canada. And the Court even found a way to keep the child pornography evidence intact while guaranteeing some internet privacy rights. Win-win!
Sometimes we forget things. Sometimes, we’d like to forget things. You know, like that time I you had a few too many and got naked on the bar and everyone had their iPhones pointed at me you and well, I’ve said too much already. I’d You’d like to forget that incident, but the internet never forgets. And Google never forgets. But thanks to a ruling from a couple of weeks ago that can only be described as “landmark” from the top court in the EU, the Court of Justice, Google kind of has to. Let’s dive in.
Earlier this week, the government introduced new legislation, Bill S-4, known as the Digital Privacy Act, which undoubtedly will end all privacy issues forever in this country. Good news! Or is it? As usual, I’ve read the bill so you don’t have to. Let’s dive in.
It’s a weekday, which means Google must be violating your privacy (weekend privacy violations belong to Facebook). This one is all official-like even, as the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) has just released a big fat honking report saying as much. Let’s see what nefarious get rich quick schemes have gotten Google into trouble today!
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has just released the first results of their investigation into online privacy policies, as part of the Global Privacy Enforcement Network Internet Privacy Sweep, whatever the hell that is. The OPC found some interesting stuff. As they say in their blog post, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Major Canadian corporations with crappy privacy policies? Well obviously they need to hire a decent internet lawyer. (call me!)
Greetings, internet denizens! Sorry for the lack of posting lately. I think the internet took the month of January off, so there was really no news to report. But yesterday, there was good news! The Conservative government has decided to kill Bill C-30, the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act, or as we liked to call it around here, the Vic Toews is an Idiot Act.
We wrote quite a bit about C-30 and its various nefarious schemes. Suffice it to say, when a Federal Minister says things like “you are either for this bill or you are a child molester” (I’m paraphrasing, but not by much) there is going to be some media attention. The internet exploded with rage (as it is wont to do) at the bill last February, and the government seemed shamed somewhat. Yesterday’s announcement was too long in coming yet welcome, and was an obvious reminder that people who actually know about the internet (i.e. me) must be listened to.
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, in describing what changes the future might hold, said yesterday that amendments or modernization of Canadian law:
“will not contain …warrantless mandatory disclosure of basic subscriber information or the requirement for telecommunications service providers to build intercept capability within their systems.”
Let’s just leave that here for posterity to remind the government of its position on this, if when they bring up “lawful access legislation” again.
Are you an online consumer of child pornography? Well I have some bad news for you! The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled last week that you really don’t have an expectation of privacy when it comes to your ISP turning over your personal information, Charter of Rights be damned. But what if you are doing something less skeevy than child porn? Maybe you’re a big fan of content from somewhere like https://www.cartoonporno.xxx/. Well that’s a bit trickier. Let’s dive in.
Is your privacy online being shredded to bits? The Office of the Privacy Commissioner sure thinks so! This week, they released the results of a study they did of 25 major Canadian websites, which showed that 11 of them were engaging in “web leakage”. So which companies are leaking your personal information? Let’s find out!
It’s been my dream to use the word “shenanigans” in a blog post for a long time. I really love the word; it’s got such a nice old-timey feel to it. So what would you call a bunch of ISPs, telecom companies, and industry groups getting together with the government in secret before the introduction of Vic Toews’ old friend, Bill C-30, The Catching Sexual Predators / Internet Spying / “Lawful” Access Bill? You are correct, sir. SHENANIGANS.
So Michael Geist (or more likely his army of students) did some yeoman’s work in filing an Access to Information request. They hit the motherload. Let Mr. Geist explain what they found:
in the months leading up to the introduction Bill C-30, Canada’s telecom companies worked actively with government officials to identify key issues and to develop a secret Industry – Government Collaborative Forum on Lawful Access.
Lovely! So in January 2012, a bunch of industry types and government reps sat down for a meeting. All the big boys were there – Rogers, Bell, Vidéotron. After some coffee and delicious muffins (or so I assume, maybe they were danishes), they sat around and figured out how to fuck over their subscribers at the government’s request. Fun! Just so you know they were serious:
representatives have been granted Government of Canada Secret level security clearance and signed non-disclosure agreements
So we’ve got the country’s oligopolisitic media / telecom companies and the government colluding in secret to try to pass legislation no one in the public wants. Just another day at the office.
I am currently hammering out a piece on the new policy for The Gazette’s Legal Matters. I’ll update this post with a link to that when it gets published, assuming they don’t reject it for my fucking salty language.
Sorry I haven’t posted this week, I’ve been busy preparing my liver for my Law 10-year reunion this weekend. But I still have something for you. Here’s an article I wrote about Facebook and privacy for McGill’s Faculty of Law magazine, Focus online. It lacks my usual sarcastic snark you’ve come to love, but it’s educational I guess.
I am a lawyer specializing in internet law working out of Montreal, though sometimes I do it in front of the U.S. Capitol. That should tell you what you need to know about internet law in Canada. I also warp young legal minds at the Faculty of Law at McGill.