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Privacy Commissioner Explains Problems With Proposed Lawful Access Law

With Parliament back in session, we are seeing more attention on the proposed “lawful access” legislation. There is good reason for that. Many of us believe the proposed legislation is an affront to privacy, and gives law enforcement overly intrusive rights without court supervision that will in practice be no more than expensive, invasive, privacy offensive security theatre.

In this CBC interview, Ann Cavoukian, the Ontario Privacy Commissioner, does an excellent job of explaining the issue. Well worth investing 7 minutes to watch.

. . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Is Lawful Access Legislation a Good Thing?

Flags are being raised by numerous privacy experts about expected federal “lawful access” legislation. This legislation–expected to be reintroduced–was last seen in the 40th Parliament, 3rd session, which ended March 26, 2011 and includes:

Excerpted from a commentary by Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario Ann Cavoukian published in today’s National Post:

At issue is the anticipated re-introduction of a trio of federal bills that will provide

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Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology: Internet

Canada’s Lawful Access Legislation: Civil Rights and Privacy Concerns

Neither civil libertarians nor privacy advocates are likely to be pleased with the two Bills introduced last week by Canada’s federal government, Bills which are intended to give police wider powers to access online data without a warrant. If passed, the Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century Act (Bill C-47) will require Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) and other “telecommunications service providers” to install equipment facilitating the interception of communications, and to allow police access, without a warrant, to the personal information of users including names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and internet protocol addresses. The Investigative Powers . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law, Technology

Lawful Access Rears Its Head Again

Yesterday, the Justice and Public Safety ministers unveiled the latest generation of proposed “lawful access” legislation. Variations had been introduced in the past by previous Liberal governments, only to die on the order paper.

The texts of Bills C-46 and C-47 are now online at the Parliament website for your reading pleasure (and here are the summaries included in the bills when tabled in Parliament): . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Internet Surveillance Bills (Aka Lawful Access) Need Scrutiny

This is not about the election – it is about the need to consider this issue carefully before passing any new laws.

Michael Geist and David Fraser (here and here) have written detailed articles on this issue that I concur with and recommend. I want to weigh in as well as this is an important issue. I have a problem with legislation that erodes privacy and requires ISP’s or others to retain information for the sole purpose of government access to it. And when that access is not tempered by the need for a warrant.

Issues include erosion . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Prohibiting Access to Social Media: Reasonable Limits?

From time to time one reads of court orders banning people from using social media, usually in anticipation of trial but sometimes as part of a formal disposition.

For example, in R. v. Elliott, the defendant accused of harassment on Twitter was banned from using Twitter pending trial. Ultimately he was acquitted, and the ban was lifted. He had spent three years off Twitter.

A Nova Scotia court banned a teenaged defendant from social media for 21 months after his conviction for assault, uttering threat and criminal harassment. He was ordered to delete his Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Thursday Thinkpiece: Kaufman on the Public’s Right to Access Academic Libraries

Each Thursday we present a significant excerpt, usually from a recently published book or journal article. In every case the proper permissions have been obtained. If you are a publisher who would like to participate in this feature, please let us know via the site’s contact form.

A Different Question of Open Access: Is There a Public Access Right to Academic Libraries in the United States and Canada?

Amy Kaufman, Head of William R. Lederman Law Library, Queen’s University, and co-author of the newly published Out of Practice: Exploring Legal Careers Paths in Canada

Law Library Journal, Vol. 103:3, . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Law Enforcement Access to ISP Subscriber Information

The Supreme Court of Canada has released its judgment in the Spencer case. It held that the police had no legal right to ask an ISP for subscriber information, as that would violate the subscriber’s reasonable expectation of privacy. The type of information that could be gleaned from the information went beyond the mere name and address into browsing practices, i.e. sensitive information in which the subscriber might reasonably expect anonymity.

The section of PIPEDA that allows custodians of data to disclose the data to law enforcement officials without telling the data subject, did not apply where the search . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Access to Server Data for Foreign Criminal Investigative Purposes

The impacts of privacy sensitivities continue to expand and affect all manner of technology and other transactions transactions. 

Canada and the United States have a long healthy and constructive relationship in providing assistance to the law enforcement agencies of each country in the investigation of cross boarder criminal activity. Canada has, with the United States and with other countries a series of mutual cooperation arrangements (including Mutual Law Assistance Treaties or MLATs) in place between Canadian and U.S. law enforcement by which criminal and terrorist conduct can be investigated and relevant information exchanged.

Such international cooperation is routine and rarely . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Bill C-12 and “Lawful Authority” Under PIPEDA

by Philippa Lawson*

Those following the development of Canadian privacy law have long awaited amendments to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”), some of which are proposed in Bill C-12. This rather long post addresses just one of these amendments: the proposed new definition of “lawful authority”.

Under PIPEDA, telecom service providers (“TSPs”) are permitted to disclose “personal information” (which includes name, address, and any other information about an identifiable individual) without the knowledge or consent of the individual only in certain specified circumstances. One of those circumstances is if the disclosure is “made to a . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology

Government Access to Cell Phone Records

There is an August 22, 2011 decision from the U.S. District Court, Eastern District, in the Matter of Historical Cell-Site Information, 10-MC-897 (NGG), NYLJ 1202511989637 that Slaw readers may find interesting. The U.S. Attorney’s office wanted 113 days of cell phone records from Verizon Wireless. The court said:

While the government’s monitoring of our thoughts may be the archetypical Orwellian intrusion, the government’s surveillance of our movements over a considerable time period through new technologies, such as the collection of cell-site-location records, without the protections of the Fourth Amendment, puts our country far closer to Oceania than our Constitution

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Debate About Warrantless Access to ISP Customer Information

In the privacy community, there has been a debate over whether it is lawful, under PIPEDA, for a custodian of personal information to provide customer information when then police come knocking. The debate has been most heated in the arena of internet service providers customer names and addresses to the police when presented with an IP address. PIPEDA allows a number of disclosures of personal information without consent pursuant to Section 7(3) of the statute. One exception to the general rule relates directly to law enforcement requests:

Disclosure without knowledge or consent

(3) For the purpose of clause 4.3

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law