Should we be Worried?

I often find it curious, the way issues seem to bounce off each other.

This morning's Globe and Mail has a page three story about Canada's Privacy Commissioner and her fight against some of the Internet's giants and the lack of respect given to privacy on the web.

It talked about her fight with Google and Facebook and the on-line dating site eHarmony as well as her discovery that Staples had been less that diligent about purging personal information from returned computer hard drives offered for re-sale.

Jennifer Staddart is a tough cookie determined to make sure your privacy is respected on the Internet.

It wasn't more than 10 minutes after reading the story that I checked my e-mail and found a link to an Open Media on-line petition warning me about what may be the greatest threat to our privacy. The Harper Government's proposed legislation which would allow the authorities to mine our computers for data without having to go through the bother of obtaining a warrant.

They tell us:

The government is trying to ram through an anti-Internet set of electronic surveillance laws that will invade your privacy and cost you money. The plan is to force every phone and Internet provider to surrender our personal information to "authorities" without a warrant.

This bizarre legislation will create Internet surveillance that is:

Warrantless: A range of "authorities" will have the ability to invade the private lives of law-abiding Canadians and our families using wired Internet and mobile devices, without a warrant or any justification.

Invasive and Dangerous: The laws leave our personal and financial information less secure and more susceptible to cybercrime.

Costly: Internet services providers may be forced to install millions of dollars worth of spying technology and the cost will be passed down to YOU.

The legislation, which in true Harper style is bundled with other "tough on crime" bills is described by the conservatives as one which will help track down "perverts and pedophiles." What could be wrong with that after all?

So is all this really a problem, or is Open Media over reacting? Internet expert and commentator Michael Giest thinks it is. He says:

There are several concerns with the Conservatives lawful access plans. First, it bears noting that these bills have never received extensive debate on the floor of the House of Commons and never been the subject of committee hearings. Police officers may support the legislation, but there has never been an opportunity to question them on the need for such legislation or on their ability to use lawful access powers if the bills become law. Federal and provincial privacy commissioners have expressed deep concerns about these bills, yet they have never had the opportunity to air those concerns before committee. Internet service providers, who face millions in additional costs - presumably passed along to consumers - have never appeared before committee. By making a commitment to passing lawful access within 100 days, the Conservatives are undertaking to pass legislation with enormous implications for the Internet that has never received parliamentary scrutiny and will receive limited attention.

Even that right wing rag Macleans Magazine is concerned.

Should we worry? I think so. All of us should be concerned but perhaps especially, guys like me, who spend the first few morning hours after coffee trying to hold the government's feet to the fire should take note. 

These guys are mean spirited and I don't trust them as far as I can throw them and for our pudgy Prime Minister, that isn't too far.

1 comment:

  1. For over 40 years warrant-less searches of vehicles committing no crime have been common practice. Reason given?...suspicion.
    For at least ten years something called echelon has recorded every phonecall, email and electronic communication plus web activity.
    North com exists as a north american military division. Rumsfeld set up web monitoring and "scrubbing " right after 911. The US air force dedicated a division to watch the web.
    can you imagine the outrage if the government had told you that you were required to list everywhere you went, all your thoughts and feelings , all your friends and grievances in a personal log on a government accessible system you had to buy yourself and pay monthly to be on?
    If i needed any info on anybody i would surly be a Facebook fan.To expect less of any of the alphabet agencies is to hope for incompetence.
    While we might get back charged for installation i would bet its all pretty much in place.
    Whether the new PMS(prime minister stevie) HARPER RAG{reform alliance government) (TM) (may contain up to 30% of honorable conservative ideals)will use the net and RCMP as a personal tool has already been shown. They are his security and facebook posts have gotten some excluded from the clan.
    I think this is only coming into play so a long time tool can be used in court.
    4 years of HARP-RAG is going to seem like an eternity and in the end "canadian" will have the power of "cajun french"; a romantic side note in the NAU. It is perilous to forget that stevie is more affected by bilderberg than the will of Canadian people.


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