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Declaration on mass surveillance calls for new privacy measures - CBC News 20140523

Declaration on mass surveillance calls for new privacy measures - CBC News 20140523

Canada needs to start taking privacy rights seriously, professor David Murakami Wood says - The Canadian Press

A new public statement on mass surveillance calls for a "public process" to come up with a comprehensive legal framework for information and privacy rights, building on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and United Nations principles.

A new public statement on mass surveillance calls for a "public process" to come up with a comprehensive legal framework for information and privacy rights, building on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and United Nations principles. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

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One of the voices behind a new declaration on mass surveillance says Canada needs a commission of inquiry to ensure governments and corporations respect privacy in an era of big data.

David Murakami Wood, a professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., says it's time for an in-depth look at how organizations routinely collect and sort huge amounts of personal information.

Murakami Wood, a member of the university's Surveillance Studies Centre, joined other academics and civil libertarians in publishing the seven-point statement aimed at improving accountability.

The statement calls for a public process to come up with a comprehensive legal framework for information and privacy rights, building on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and United Nations principles.

"We have no particular opinion on what kind of a process, as long as it's open and accountable," Murakami Wood said in an interview.

"But that kind of thing has to happen, it's about time. We need to start taking this seriously at a national level."

Growing public concern over spying

The initiative comes amid public concern about surveillance by western security agencies, the large-scale transfer of Internet customer data to state authorities, and a legislative move by the federal government to make it easier for police and spies to find out more about online activities.

The government claims authorities need easier access to subscriber information held by Internet providers to catch terrorists, pedophiles and other criminals.

The individuals and organizations who signed the statement on surveillance say Canadian privacy and data protection laws and regulations are regularly bypassed, undermined or broken, and are inadequate to protect the rights of Canadians.

Declaration calls for more transparency, oversight

The declaration urges:

  • Any planned government changes that affect privacy rights be "presented, justified, and debated in a transparent manner," not hidden in unrelated bills.
  • An end to expansion of rules allowing warrantless collection of private information without oversight.
  • Extended powers for federal and provincial privacy commissioners, including the ability to prosecute and fine state bodies and private companies for breaches.
  • All state security, intelligence, policing and border agencies be subject to appropriate legal, judicial and democratic oversight.

Among the organizations supporting the declaration are Amnesty International Canada, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, the Ottawa-based International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and Privacy International.

'This is not a government that listens'

Murakami Wood says governments need to keep some secrets.

But he argues the systems of accountability and regulation themselves cannot be hidden from the public.

"We've got to start opening these things up."

He is not optimistic the federal Conservatives will act on the recommendations.

"What I think will happen is that the government will completely ignore most of this as long as it can," he said.

"This is not a government that listens."

Payton, Laura - NDP wants privacy, security experts to probe warrantless data gathering - CBC News 20140526

Original: Payton, Laura - NDP wants privacy, security experts to probe warrantless data gathering - CBC News 20140526

Charlie Angus, Francoise Boivin warn government to tread carefully on internet privacy by Laura Payton, CBC News

NDP MP Charlie Angus and his party want a group of independent experts to investigate warrantless data collection by the federal government.

NDP MP Charlie Angus and his party want a group of independent experts to investigate warrantless data collection by the federal government. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

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New Democrat MP Charlie Angus is warning the government to expect a backlash from Canadians if the Conservatives force through new legislation critics say will hurt privacy rights.

Angus, who is his party's ethics critic, and NDP justice critic Françoise Boivin called Monday for a group of independent experts to investigate warrantless data collection by the federal government.

The Official Opposition says it also wants the group to recommend ways to ensure the privacy of Canadians is protected in the digital era.

Angus and Boivin said they were relieved when a previous bill, C-30, was withdrawn, but the government has simply resurrected the same measures in a new cybercrime bill.

In 2012, then-public safety minister Vic Toews told an opposition MP that he could stand with the government "or with the child pornographers.​"

Angus says the Conservatives "take the attitude that if you challenge them, you're somehow on the side of child pornographers."

"We saw how Canadians rose up against Vic Toews and his belligerent attitude. It's like the ghost of Vic Toews is back. And I would warn the government, Canadians have already spoken clearly on this once ... They will speak again if you keep pushing them."

'Overreaching' powers

Two government bills being reviewed by Parliament would change the laws affecting the privacy of Canadians.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay's cybercrime bill, C-13, has already drawn controversy. The bill, which the government says is meant to prevent cyberbullying, would entrench in law some of the warrantless surveillance practices already used by police.

The digital privacy act, S-4, would update the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act​ to allow organizations to disclose personal information of subscribers or customers without a court order.​

Privacy watchdog groups raised their concerns about potential privacy breaches with bills now before Parliament.

Ontario privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian has said the cybercrime bill has "overreaching surveillance powers."

Mas, Susana - Cyberbullying bill won't be split in 2, Peter MacKay says - CBC News 20140528

Original: Mas, Susana - Cyberbullying bill won't be split in 2, Peter MacKay says - CBC News 20140528

Canadian Bar Association to recommend that Ottawa split the bill in 2 parts by Susana Mas, CBC News

Justice Minister Peter MacKay defended the government's cyberbullying bill on Monday during a debate over an NDP motion to split the controversial bill in two.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay defended the government's cyberbullying bill on Monday during a debate over an NDP motion to split the controversial bill in two. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

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The Conservatives will not heed the advice of a growing list of independent experts and opposition critics who are urging the federal government to split its cyberbullying bill in two, by hiving off into a separate piece of legislation the more controversial provisions of the bill.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay made it clear on Monday the government will move to pass Bill C-13 as one bill, not two.

"To separate the bill Mr. Speaker, I would suggest would be perverse,"MacKay said in the House of Commons during a debate over an NDP motion to split the controversial bill.

Bill C-13 would protect young people from online bullying by making it illegal to post or transmit an "intimate image" of another individual without that person’s consent. But it's the provisions that have to do with bringing police search and seizure powers up to date with current technology that have raised serious privacy concerns.

MacKay defended the bill by repeating the government's assertion that surveillance-related provisions included in the bill are needed to update and strengthen the Criminal Code.

"It would be an empty vessel, it would be a shell of a bill, if we don't modernize those provisions of the Criminal Code that allow law enforcement to do their important work," he said.

Bill touches on terrorism, fraud

MacKay conceded that Bill C-13 would do more than simply create a new offence in the Criminal Code.

"It pertains, yes, to more than just this new provision of the Criminal Code. It pertains to acts of terrorism, it pertains to acts of fraud, all of which … can occur online."

NDP justice critic Françoise Boivin said the bill contains useful provisions to combat cyberbullying, but it also includes measures that pose a threat to privacy.

"Parliamentarians will have failed in their mission to fight cyberbullying if C-13 faces a successful court challenge over privacy concerns," Boivin said.

MacKay said it was "contradictory" for the New Democrats to suggest that the government pass the cyberbullying provisions without giving the police the powers to enforce them. The minister made it clear he is of the view that the two go hand in hand.

The justice minister added that court challenges would not deter the government from pursuing its agenda.

"As sure as night follows day, there will be challenges in the court," MacKay said.

"Are we to be reticent to pass laws because a lawyer, or an interest group, or an individual may decide to launch a charter challenge? I would respectfully submit that that would be irresponsible."

Liberal MP Scott Simms said that although the Liberals are supportive "in principle" of measures that will provide law enforcement officials with more tools to combat cyberbullying, Bill C-13 is too wide in its current scope.

"This omnibus bill touches everything from terrorism to telemarketing, cable stealing to hate speech, and is an affront to both democracy and the legislative process."

Simms said the Liberals supported the NDP motion to split the bill but made further amendments to the motion.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, who also supported the NDP motion, asked MacKay if he would reconsider his position.

MacKay adjourned the debate just over an hour after it started.

Split the bill

On Tuesday, the Canadian Bar Association will also recommend the federal government divide Bill C-13 into "two distinct bills" when it appears before the Commons justice committee that is studying the legislation.

The Bar Association said, in a 25-page submission to the justice committee that was made public today, that it "supports the intention underlying both aspects of the bill: protecting young people from online bullying and bringing police search and seizure powers up to date with current technology."

The group also noted the lawful access provisions in Bill C-13 were "more focused" than those found in previous incarnations of the bill.

Last week, B.C.'s privacy watchdog Elizabeth Denham also called on the federal government to separate the provisions that directly address cyberbullying from those that extend law enforcement powers.

"Any proposed increase to those powers must be critically examined and vigorously debated," Denham said.

That same day, former public safety minister Stockwell Day said he hoped the government would take "another look" at the bill and curtail some of the powers it would give to police.

A day earlier, Ontario privacy watchdog Ann Cavoukian urged the government to split its bill in two, warning that "overreaching surveillance powers" contained in the bill would entrench in law some of the warrantless practices already used by police.

Cavoukian echoed concerns expressed by Carol Todd, whose daughter Amanda killed herself after being bullied online. "We should not have to sacrifice our children's privacy rights to make them safe fromcyberbullying," Todd told the justice committee.

A second government bill currently being reviewed by Parliament has also elicited serious concerns about potential privacy breaches.

"Even as Bill C-13 proposes to entrench broad immunity for permissive private sector disclosures, Bill S-4, the digital privacy act, proposes to allow more warrantless disclosure of personal information by the private sector," Cavoukian told CBC News last week.

Payton, Laura - Cyberbullying bill inches closer to law despite privacy concerns - CBC News 20141010

Original - Payton, Laura - Cyberbullying bill inches closer to law despite privacy concerns - CBC News 20141010

Legislation contains controversial measures opposition MPs say need to be split into separate bill - by Laura Payton, CBC News

A controversial bill to fight cyberbullying and give more surveillance powers to law enforcement is set to pass third reading in the House of Commons, despite concerns raised by privacy experts and Carol Todd, the mother of Amanda Todd, a teen who killed herself following cyberbullying.

A controversial bill to fight cyberbullying and give more surveillance powers to law enforcement is set to pass third reading in the House of Commons, despite concerns raised by privacy experts and Carol Todd, the mother of Amanda Todd, a teen who killed herself following cyberbullying.

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A controversial bill to fight cyberbullying and give more powers to law enforcement is set to pass third reading in the House of Commons when MPs return from Thanksgiving.

MPs had their last round of debate on the bill Friday, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper held a cyberbullying roundtable in Winnipeg to mark the two-year anniversary of Amanda Todd's death. Todd killed herself at age 15 after enduring "merciless cyberbullying," Harper said in a news release.

A spokeswoman for government House Leader Peter Van Loan said the last House vote on the cyberbullying bill, known as C-13, will be Monday, Oct. 20. If it passes, it will go to the Senate for debate by senators and consideration at committee.

The bill is expected to pass, with the majority Conservatives supporting it despite a number of objections raised by Canada's privacy commissioner, Daniel Therrien, and even by Amanda Todd's mother, Carol.

Both Therrien and Todd said the bill should have been split so the widely embraced cyberbullying measures were considered separately from the far more controversial online data-collection measures.

Bill C-13 would make it illegal for anyone to post or transmit an "intimate image" of another individual without that person’s consent. But other measures included in the bill would give police easier access to themetadata that internet service providers and phone companies keep on every call and email by their customers.

It would also make it easier for police to get preservation or production orders by lowering the threshold from a "reasonable grounds to believe" a crime has happened or could happen to "reasonable grounds to suspect."

The bill would also give immunity to any companies that turn over to police the information they hold.

'Really sad'

NDP digital issues critic Charmaine Borg said she's disappointed the government won't split the bill in two parts, calling it "really sad for the families of the victims" that MPs had to spend much of the debate talking about privacy.

Online Bullying 20140417

Amanda Todd's mother, Carol Todd, has raised concerns with the government's new legislation. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

"I think just the cyberbullying aspects merit their own debate, they merit their own time. And we could have passed them very quickly because there's a consensus all across the House of Commons," Borg said, adding that the anti-cyberbullying measures could have already been law had the bill been split.

Borg said she expects the bill, should it become law, to be challenged in court following the Supreme Court's decision last June in the case R vs. Spencer.

The Spencer decision barred internet service providers from voluntarily disclosing the names, addresses and phone numbers of their customers to law enforcement officials in response to an informal request — something ISPs have been doing hundreds of thousands of times a year.

The landmark decision came the day the House justice committee reported back to the House on C-13.

A spokeswoman for the federal privacy commissioner referred CBC News to Therrien's remarks last spring in front of the House justice committee.

Government: no need to split bill

Therrien told the committee he was concerned the bill would give law enforcement officials the power to access sensitive information solely based on "suspicion," give investigative powers to "a broad range of authorities," and give legal immunity to people or telecoms who voluntarily turn over sensitive information to law enforcement.

"I can tell you that in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Spencer case, we look forward to sharing our views and specific recommendations with Parliament in due course," Tobi Cohen said in an email.

Robert Goguen, parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice, said there's no need to split the bill.

"I wonder what purpose it would serve to split this bill," he said in French on Friday as MPs debated it.

What’s important is establishing a balance between privacy and victims and protecting the youngest and most vulnerable in society, Goguen said.

Dyer, Evan - Cyberbullying bill draws fire from diverse mix of critics - CBC News 20141020

Original: Dyer, Evan - Cyberbullying bill draws fire from diverse mix of critics - CBC News 20141020

Privacy concerns have some gun owners and victims' rights advocates opposing Conservative bill - by Evan Dyer, CBC News

Justice Minister Peter MacKay speaks about cyberbullying as Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, left, and Lianna McDonald of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection join him during Bullying Awareness Week last November. MacKay's cyberbullying bill, C-13, is moving through the Commons, but faces some opposition over privacy concerns.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay speaks about cyberbullying as Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, left, and Lianna McDonald of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection join him during Bullying Awareness Week last November. MacKay's cyberbullying bill, C-13, is moving through the Commons, but faces some opposition over privacy concerns. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

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Justice Minister Peter MacKay probably expected to take some shots from the opposition over Bill C-13, colloquially known as the cyberbullying bill.

But he may not have been expecting to take so much friendly fire from his own base.

After all, it's a rare piece of legislation that can unite groups as disparate as the Council of Canadians and the National Firearms Association. And yet the bill, which went to third reading 10 days ago, after the Conservative government voted to shorten time for debate, has done just that.

Sheldon Clare is president of the National Firearms Association, the country's biggest gun owners' organization and the same group that persuaded MacKay to pose in a sweatshirt with its rifle logo a few weeks ago.

Peter Mackay wears 'No compromise' pro-gun t-shirt

Justice Minister Peter MacKay, centre, wears a pro-gun t-shirt as he poses with Erica Clarke, left, and Kurtis Gaucher at a Conservative Party Fundraising event in Edmonton. Clarke, who works for the National Firearms Association, posted the photo to her Facebook page. (Facebook)

But if the minister thought his gesture would win the group over on Bill C-13, he was mistaken, says Clare.

"We think that this is probably the most draconian step towards police interference in people's lives since George Orwell revealed the potential for it when he wrote 1984."

Clare says his organization's members care about more than just gun rights. "We value privacy highly," he said.

"I think this really enables a lot of fishing trips into people's private lives, into their financial records and their personal situations, and this is not the thing that we want to have in a free and democratic society, and I hope the government will go back again, and re-evaluate what they're doing, and completely rejig it to something that's more appropriate for a free society."

Different bills, similar podiums

Bill C-13, the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act, is the Conservatives' second attempt at a law that would expand the ability of police to monitor Canadians' online activities.

Its first incarnation was as Bill C-30, the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act. It was widely panned for saying nothing about either children or internet predators, while instead containing reams of expanded police powers, including surveillance without a warrant.

mi-lawful-access-02134124

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, right, and Public Safety Minister Vic Toews introduce bill C-30 in 2012. The government was forced to abandon the bill over privacy concerns, but many of its provisions have returned in C-13, critics say. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

Support began to crumble when Vic Toews, public safety minister at the time, told critics they "could either stand with us or with the child pornographers." The bill was denounced as an attempt to use the emotive issue of protecting children to pass legislation aimed at undermining privacy protections. The government quietly dropped the bill in 2012.

But Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in internet law at the University of Ottawa, says a common thread is using people's fears about their children to promote the bills.

Geist noticed MacKay has been using a blue podium to make his pitches for C-13 that is a near identical copy of the one used by Toews to promote the failed C-30. Toews's lectern bore the slogan "Protecting children"; MacKay's says "Protecting Our Children."

"At least there's one government recycling program," Geist said.

When is 'voluntary' really voluntary?

When the Conservative government moved to shelve Bill C-30, then Justice Minister Rob Nicholson stated the government had "listened to the concerns of Canadians who have been very clear on this.

"We will not be proceeding with Bill C-30. And any attempts to modernize the Criminal Code will not contain… warrantless mandatory disclosure of basic subscriber information," he said.

'What's going to happen, inevitably in my opinion, is that fishing expeditions and snooping will become much more common.'- Derek From, Canadian Constitution Foundation

True to its word, the government did not try to reintroduce the requirement that telecom providers disclose information about their customers without a warrant. Instead, the bill guarantees telecoms who voluntarily disclose information about their customers can't be sued for doing so.

But lawyers say that may be a distinction without a difference. Derek From of the Canadian Constitution Foundation says the word "voluntary" is misleading.

"When the police come to you and say: 'Voluntarily disclose this information,' don't forget that it's the police that's asking. It's not some guy down the street asking for information. I'm not sure there can ever truly be a voluntary, non-coercive disclosure to the police."

Indeed, it recently emerged that telecommunications companies received no fewer than 18,849 "voluntary" requests between April 2012 and March 2013 from just one government department: the Canada Border Services Agency. Ninety-nine per cent of those requests had no judicial authorizations, and the companies provided information in 99.98 per cent of cases.

From says the no-liability guarantee for telecoms only ensures they will be even less likely to say no.

"What's going to happen, inevitably in my opinion, is that fishing expeditions and snooping will become much more common."

Geist agrees: "This sort of thing encourages fishing because there's really no downside to asking for voluntary information."

'We should not have to choose between our privacy and our safety.'- Carol Todd, victims' rights advocate

But he says that aspect of the bill may ultimately prove more ineffective than intrusive, partly because big telecoms are increasingly feeling consumer pressure not to disclose, even when they have legal protection. The trend to protect consumers' privacy from government snooping can be seen most clearly in the new iPhone 6, which has made security against government surveillance a selling point.

Moreover, Geist says, a recent Supreme Court decision enshrining Canadians' privacy rights means police themselves will probably be reluctant to use the new provision.

"If the court says that there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, the failure to respect that makes it less likely that the evidence will be admissible.

"And if police know upfront that failure to obtain a warrant may jeopardize the evidence that they've obtained, it would be rather reckless, I would think, on the part of law enforcement to seek that information voluntarily when they know it may undermine their case on a later date."

Victims advocates split on the bill

The government may have at least expected to enjoy the support of families victimized by cyberbullying. But the families of victims Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons are divided.

Parsons's father, Glen Canning, urged MPs to support the bill as is.

Todd's mother supported the cyberbullying provisions in the bill, but shares the view of the Canadian Bar Association that they should stand alone, and not be attached to a much bigger bill about police surveillance.

hi-bc-121114-carol-todd-gloria1

Carol Todd, mother of teen bullying victim Amanda Todd, says she supports C-13's measures against cyberbullying but is concerned the bill undermines Canadians' privacy.

"I don't want to see our children victimized again by losing privacy rights," Carol Todd told a Commons committee.

"I am troubled by some of these provisions condoning the sharing of the privacy information of Canadians without proper legal process. We are Canadians, with strong civil rights and values. A warrant should be required before any Canadian's personal information is turned over to anyone, including government authorities….  We should not have to choose between our privacy and our safety."

Although Bill C-13 has already made it further than Bill C-30 ever did, public opposition or a grassroots revolt could yet send the bill back to committee or kill it completely, as happened with Bill C-30.

Sheldon Clare of the National Firearms Association says the party needs to remember that its grassroots include people who are opposed to more intrusive government.

"The Conservatives seem to have forgotten you're supposed to dance with the one that brought you. If they don't remember that, I think they're making a big mistake to believe they can count on the votes of Canadian gun owners."

Cyberbullying bill raises alarm for privacy commissioner - CBC News 20141120

Original: Cyberbullying bill raises alarm for privacy commissioner - CBC News 20141120

Daniel Therrien warns against increasing police powers unchecked by Laura Payton, CBC News

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien warned senators Thursday that the increased police powers proposed in the government's cyberbullying bill need to be matched with ways to track their use.

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien warned senators Thursday that the increased police powers proposed in the government's cyberbullying bill need to be matched with ways to track their use. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

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(Note: CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links.)

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien warned senators today that the increased police powers proposed in the government's cyberbullying and internet surveillance bill need to be matched with ways of tracking their use.

Therrien also warned against the lower standard of proof provided for in the bill, C-13, and said he disagrees with the government's assertion that the information intended to be sought isn't sensitive.

The bill would make it illegal for anyone to post or transmit an "intimate image" of another individual without that person’s consent. But other measures included in the bill would give police easier access to the metadata that internet service providers and phone companies keep on every call and email from their customers. Those measures had been ina previous online surveillance bill, C-30, that created such a backlashthe government killed it.

It was Therrien's first committee appearance on C-13 since a June Supreme Court decision that affirmed Canadians have a right to privacy online.

The Spencer decision barred internet service providers from voluntarily disclosing the names, addresses and phone numbers of their customers to law enforcement officials in response to an informal request — something internet service providers, or ISPs, have been doinghundreds of thousands of times a year.

Therrien suggested the government hasn't properly considered the impact of the court's decision in confirming privacy rights.

"Despite the judgment in Spencer, I see, again important players in the debate, government, telecommunication companies, federal departments, making statements that do not give me a whole lot of confidence on what impact Spencer will actually have. They seem to give a very narrow interpretation to Spencer," he said.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay has said the ruling doesn't affect C-13.

'No credibility'

Therrien seemed like an unlikely critic of increased powers for law enforcement after spending most of his career as a government lawyer in areas like public safety and corrections. He became privacy commissioner last June.

New Democrat MP Charlie Angus says Prime Minister Stephen Harper and MacKay have "no credibility on this," pointing out Therrien was Harper's pick for privacy commissioner.

"It's an almost unprecedented situation where a justice minister thinks if he keeps banging his head against the Supreme Court of Canada, the court is going to move," he said.

The bill is "headed for defeat in the courts," Angus added, "at huge cost" to Canadians.

Rehtaeh Parsons trampoline

Bill C-13 was introduced after a number of prominent cyberbullying cases. Rehtaeh Parsons was taken off life support after she tried to kill herself following an alleged sexual assault. Her family says she felt helpless when a digital photo of the sexual assault circulated around her school. (Facebook)

Therrien urged parliamentarians to "build into Bill C-13 the necessary reporting mechanisms that would allow Canadians to hold government to account" for how the "significant new powers" would be used.

The government has defended the bill by referring to the need to protect children and teens from cyberbullying.

But, Therrien said, "it is important to remember that these new investigative tools would sweep up vast amounts of personal information by an open-ended group of 'public officers' for a wide range of much less compelling purposes than the fight against cyberbullying."

Judicial scrutiny, reporting needed

In his office's written submission to the committee, Therrien says the new bill will lead to "a marked difference in privacy protection."

"The potential level of government intrusion must be matched by commensurate judicial scrutiny and an appropriate legal standard for authorization. There should be evidence of a higher probability of wrongdoing before information about individuals’ private communications or their digital activities are compelled," he wrote.

"Downgrading to a 'reasonable suspicion' standard should be a necessary and proportionate response to a demonstrated problem, and in our view, a more compelling case for the use of a reduced legal threshold must be presented and thoroughly examined."

An official from his office told the committee that a reporting requirement or a requirement for organizations to report to a client after they'd provided that client's information to law enforcement officials would help keep the process accountable.

Global cyberbullying target of Five Eyes meeting hosted by Canada - CBC News 20150512

Original: Global cyberbullying target of Five Eyes meeting hosted by Canada - CBC News 20150512

Justice Minister Peter MacKay hints that working group could result in new legislation by Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

Justice Minister Peter MacKay MacKay believes that more needs to be done to deal with the fact that online predators can strike at young people from foreign countries.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay MacKay believes that more needs to be done to deal with the fact that online predators can strike at young people from foreign countries. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

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Canada has formed an international working group with its Five Eyes intelligence allies in an attempt to combat the cross-border threats posed by cyberbullying, Justice Minister Peter MacKay revealed Monday.

MacKay said Canada hosted a meeting of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing community — which includes the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand — in the last two weeks.

The minister said a working group has been established that will produce a report on how to combat threats posed by international online predators who threaten young people.

"We just recently hosted, in the last 10 days, a meeting here in Ottawa specific to that question of how we do a better job of sharing our efforts, sharing our information," MacKay said.

"The working group is from the Five Eyes."

Canada's new cyberbully law went on the books late last year, giving police more online surveillance powers.

Canada studying UK model

MacKay said more needs to be done to deal with the fact that online predators can strike at young people from foreign countries.

One tragic example was a criminal case that came to an end last fall when a former Minnesota nurse was sentenced to three years in prison after using the Internet to persuade an 18-year-old Canadian woman and a 32-year-old English man to commit suicide.

William Melchert-Dinkel, 52, was convicted of attempting to assist suicide in the deaths of Nadia Kajouji, of Brampton, Ont.,and Mark Drybrough, of Coventry, England.

"The way in which we've crafted our laws, we've been very open about sharing that with other countries and some countries, similarly, have come back to us with their examples of how they're improving the tracking of online criminality," MacKay said.

He refused to give specifics, but he hinted broadly that the work of the Five Eyes working group might lead to further legislative changes to protect children.

"Great Britain, frankly, has one of the systems that we've been looking closely, and working closely with, to improve some future amendments we might take," he said.

"This working group is going to produce a report that they'll be sharing with all of the attorneys general and justice ministers involved," he said.

MacKay said Canada's representation on the Five Eyes working group includes several Justice department experts "who are very proficient in the area of online criminality" and who were integral in the drafting of the recent cyberbullying bill.

More revelations to come in NSA leak case, reporter says - CBC News 20130611

Original: More revelations to come in NSA leak case, reporter says - CBC News 20130611

Leaker Edward Snowden fired by contractor as pending charges reported

The Associated Press

Glenn Greenwald, a reporter of The Guardian newspaper, says there will be more revelations about U.S. surveillance in coming weeks and months.

Glenn Greenwald, a reporter of The Guardian newspaper, says there will be more revelations about U.S. surveillance in coming weeks and months. (Kin Cheung/Associated Press)

The man who claimed to leak state secrets on U.S. government eavesdropping sought to break the story through a columnist for a U.K.-based publication who has made no secret of his distaste for intrusions on privacy.

Edward Snowden, 29, brought his information first to Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian, illustrating the passion an opinion-driven journalist can bring to a breaking news story at the same time it raises questions about fairness.

In other developments:

  • Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp. said it has fired Edward Snowden, who worked as an infrastructure analyst for the company in Hawaii. He was terminated Monday "for violations of the firm's code of ethics and firm policy," according to a statement on its website. He had been paid at a rate of $122,000 a year, it said. The firm called Snowden's actions "shocking" and said he had been a Booz Allen employee for less than three months.
  • The U.S. government is filing charges against Edward Snowden, CBS News reported, citing unnamed sources. Their nature and scope remain to be seen. Snowden was last reported to be in Hong Kong, from which he could technically be extradited by the U.S.
  • Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg called Snowden's revelations the most "significant disclosure" in the nation's history. Ellsberg, who in 1971 passed the secret Defence Department study of U.S. involvement in Vietnam to the New York Times and other newspapers, said  Monday that the leaks by Edward Snowden to the Washington Post and the Guardian newspapers are more important than the Pentagon Papers and information given to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks by Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning.

Greenwald said Tuesday that there will be more "significant revelations" to come from the documents. "We are going to have a lot more significant revelations that have not yet been heard over the next several weeks and months."

Greenwald told The Associated Press the decision was being made on when to release the next story based on the information provided by Edward Snowden, an employee of government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton who has been accused by U.S. Senate intelligence chairwoman Senator Dianne Feinstein of California of committing an "act of treason" that should be prosecuted.

Greenwald, author of three books in which he argues the government has trampled on personal rights in the name of protecting national security, wrote the original stories exposing the extent of the government's data collection.

Great public interest

Over the weekend, he identified intelligence contractor Snowden as his source at Snowden's request, and said more stories are coming.

"What we disclosed was of great public interest, of great importance in a democracy, that the U.S. government is building this massive spying apparatus aimed at its own population," Greenwald said Monday on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

mi-snowden-hk-papers

Photos of Edward Snowden, a contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), and U.S. President Barack Obama are printed on the front pages of local English and Chinese newspapers in Hong Kong June 11. Snowden, who leaked details of top-secret U.S. surveillance programs, dropped out of sight in Hong Kong on Monday ahead of a likely push by the U.S. government to have him sent back to the United States to face charges. (Bobby Yip/Reuters)

Greenwald also told The Associated Press that he's been contacted by "countless people" over the last 24 hours offering to create legal defence funds for Snowden.

The topic is personal for Greenwald, 46. The former constitutional and civil rights lawyer, educated at the New York University Law School, began the "Unclaimed Territory" blog in 2005 and wrote How Would a Patriot Act?a year later. The book criticized the Bush administration for its use of executive power.

Greenwald, now based in Brazil, wrote a regular column for Salon for five years until joining The Guardian last year. He said he wanted to reach a more international audience, a desire that coincided with the news organization's effort to expand its reach in the U.S. market.

'The wall of secrecy behind which they operate is impenetrable, and it is a real menace to democracy.'—Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald

One program he wrote about collects hundreds of millions of U.S. phone records. The second program takes in audio, email and other electronic activities primarily by foreign nationals who use providers like Microsoft and Apple. Greenwald described the collection of phone records on Monday as "rampant abuse and it needs sunlight. That's why this person came forward and that's why we published our stories."

On Morning Joe, he snapped that co-host Mika Brzezinski was using "Obama talking points" when she challenged him with a question.

"The wall of secrecy behind which they operate is impenetrable and it is a real menace to democracy," said Greenwald, who won a 2010 Online Journalism Association award for his coverage of Bradley Manning, who is charged with giving classified documents to WikiLeaks.

Snowden, however, had not just gone to Greenwald with his information. Barton Gellman of The Washington Post wrote on Sunday that Snowden had contacted him about the story. He said Snowden had asked that the Post publish within 72 hours the full contents of a presentation he had made about the collection of electronic activity from the Silicon Valley companies.

Clear point of view

Gellman said the Post would not make any guarantees and sought the government's views about whether the information would harm national security. The Post eventually agreed to publish a small sample of what Snowden was offering, but Snowden backed away, writing that "I regret that we weren't able to keep this project unilateral," Gellman wrote.

He then contacted Greenwald, the Post said.

Greenwald's clear point of view doesn't necessarily weaken the story, said Jay Rosen, journalism professor at New York University and author of the Press Think blog.

"In many ways it strengthens it," he said. Greenwald has a clear stance on privacy and national security, but they aren't partisan; he's criticized Democratic President Barack Obama and his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush. Journalists who have strong viewpoints is a tradition with a long history in the U.S., Rosen said.

Little opening for critics

"The fact that sources now may choose (outlets) on the basis of commitment is a fact and journalists whose professional stance is no commitment may find themselves at a disadvantage," he said.

Greenwald's known feelings on the issue "does leave a little opening for critics," said Ellen Shearer, head of the national security journalism initiative at Northwestern University. There's always a risk that such passion can work against a journalist; some people would worry that facts contradictory to a predisposed belief could be overlooked.

To this point, Shearer said there's been little pushback on the facts, with the debate primarily about whether the information should be published.

Intelligence officials are investigating the leak and its impact on its programs. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper called the revelation of the intelligence-gathering programs reckless and said it has done "huge, grave damage."

Concealed from public

The Guardian took care not to publish material that may help other countries improve their eavesdropping or could put the lives of covert agents at risk, Greenwald said.

"We've published these things they marked 'top secret' that don't actually harm national security but conceal what they've done from the public," he said.

The story is a coup for the Guardian, a U.K.-based independent news organization that started covering the United States more aggressively when it determined that one-third of its web traffic came from the U.S. Offices in New York and Washington were opened in 2011, and the Guardian now has 57 employees in the U.S.

The Guardian doesn't offer its newspaper for sale in the U.S., but web traffic to its news website in the U.S. market has increased 47 per cent over last year and is likely to jump further with this month's exposure.

Q&A: Why is the U.S. collecting phone data on its citizens? -CBC News 20130606

Original: Q&A: Why is the U.S. collecting phone data on its citizens? -CBC News 20130606

Leaked document reveals a massive phone surveillance program

The Associated Press Posted: Jun 06, 2013

News leaked yesterday that the U.S. government had been obtaining Verizon's phone records for years through a secret court order and that the government has been monitoring business phone calls both nationally and internationally.

News leaked yesterday that the U.S. government had been obtaining Verizon's phone records for years through a secret court order and that the government has been monitoring business phone calls both nationally and internationally. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

A leaked document disclosed the monumental scale of the U.S. government's surveillance of America's phone records, part of a massive data collection program aimed at combating terrorism.

Here are some important details about the secret program and how it works:

Q: What happened and why is it a big deal?

A: The Guardian newspaper published a highly classified April U.S. court order that allows the government access to all of Verizon's phone records on a daily basis, for both domestic and international calls. That doesn't mean the government is listening in, and the National Security Agency did not receive the names and addresses of customers. But it did receive all phone numbers with outgoing or incoming calls, as well as the unique electronic numbers that identify cellphones. That means the government knows which phones are being used, even if customers change their numbers.

This is the first tangible evidence of the scope of a domestic surveillance program that has existed for years but has been discussed only in generalities. It proves that, in the name of national security, the government sweeps up the call records of Americans who have no known ties to terrorists or criminals.

———

Q: How is this different from the NSA wiretapping that was going on under President George W. Bush?

A: In 2005, The New York Times revealed that Bush had signed a secret order allowing the NSA to eavesdrop on Americans without court approval, a seismic shift in policy for an agency that had previously been prohibited from spying domestically. The exact scope of that program has never been known, but it allowed the NSA to monitor phone calls and emails. After it became public, the Bush administration dubbed it the "Terrorist Surveillance Program" and said it was a critical tool in protecting the United States from attack.

"The NSA program is narrowly focused, aimed only at international calls and targeted at al-Qaeda and related groups," the Justice Department said at the time.

But while wiretapping got all the attention, the government was also collecting call logs from American phone companies as part of that program, a U.S. official said Thursday. After the wiretapping controversy, the collection of call records continued, albeit with court approval. That's what we're seeing in the newly released court document: a judge's authorization for something that began years ago with no court oversight.

———

Q: Why does the government even want my phone records?

A: They're not interested in your records, in all likelihood, but your calls make up the background noise of the global phone system.

Look at your monthly phone bill, and you'll see patterns: calls home as you leave work, food delivery orders on Friday nights, that once-a-week call to mom and dad.

It's like that, except on a monumentally bigger scale.

The classified court ruling doesn't say what the NSA intends to do with your records. But armed with the nation's phone logs, the agency's computers have the ability to identify what normal call behavior looks like. And, with powerful computers, it would be possible to compare the entire database against computer models the government believes show what terrorist calling patterns look like.

Further analysis could identify what are known in intelligence circles as "communities of interest" — the networks of people who are in contact with targets or suspicious phone numbers.

Over time, the records also become a valuable archive. When officials discover a new phone number linked to a suspected terrorist, they can consult the records to see who called that number in the preceding months or years.

Once the government has narrowed its focus on phone numbers it believes are tied to terrorism or foreign governments, it can go back to the court with a wiretap request. That allows the government to monitor the calls in real time, record them and store them indefinitely.

———

Q: Why just Verizon?

A: It's probably not. A former U.S. intelligence official familiar with the NSA program says that records from all U.S. phone companies would be seized, and that they would include business and residential numbers. Only the court order involving Verizon has been made public.

In 2006, USA Today reported that the NSA was secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans. The newspaper identified phone companies that cooperated in that effort. The newspaper ultimately distanced itself from that report after some phone companies denied being part of such a government program.

The court document published by The Guardian, however, offers credence to the original USA Today story, which declared: "The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren't suspected of any crime."

———

Q: But in this case, a judge approved it. Does that mean someone had to show probable cause that a crime was being committed?

A: No. The seizure was authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which operates under very different rules from a typical court. Probable cause is not required.

mi-nsa-cp-04544061

The Obama administration defended the National Security Agency's need to collect telephone records of U.S. citizens, calling such information a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats. (Patrick Semansky/Associated Press)

The court was created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and is known in intelligence circles as the FISA court. Judges appointed by the president hear secret evidence and authorize wiretapping, search warrants and other clandestine efforts to monitor suspected or known spies and terrorists.

For decades, the court was located in a secure area at Justice Department headquarters. While prosecutors in criminal cases must come to court seeking subpoenas, the FISA judges came to the Justice Department. That changed in 2008 with the construction of a new FISA court inside the U.S. District Court in Washington. The courtroom is essentially a vault, designed to prevent anyone from eavesdropping on what goes on inside.

In this instance, Judge Roger Vinson authorized the NSA to seize the phone records under a provision in the USA Patriot Act, which passed shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and vastly expanded the government's ability to collect information on Americans.

———

Q: If not probable cause, what standard did the government use in this case?

A: The judge relied on one of the most controversial aspects of the Patriot Act: Section 215, which became known colloquially as the "library records provision" because it allowed the government to seize a wide range of documents, including library records. Under that provision, the government must show that there are "reasonable grounds to believe" that the records are relevant to an investigation intended to "protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities."

Exactly what "relevant" meant has been unclear. With the release of the classified court order, the public can see for the first time that everyone's phone records are relevant.

The Justice Department has staunchly defended Section 215, saying it was narrowly written and has safeguarded liberties.

Some in Congress, however, have been sounding alarms about it for years. Though they are prohibited from revealing what they know about the surveillance programs, Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall or Colorado have said the government's interpretation of the law has gone far beyond what the public believes.

"We believe most Americans would be stunned to learn the details of how these secret court opinions have interpreted section 215 of the Patriot Act," the senators wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder last year.

———

Q: Why don't others in Congress seem that upset about all this?

A: Many members of Congress have known this was going on for years. While Americans might be surprised to see, in writing, an authorization to sweep up their phone records, that's old news to many in Congress.

"Everyone should just calm down and understand that this isn't anything that's brand new," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday. "It's been going on for some seven years."

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss issued a similar statement:

"The executive branch's use of this authority has been briefed extensively to the Senate and House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, and detailed information has been made available to all members of Congress."

———

Q: What does the Obama administration have to say about this?

A: So far, very little. Despite campaigning against Bush's counterterrorism efforts, President Barack Obama has continued many of the most controversial ones including, it is now clear, widespread monitoring of American phone records.

The NSA is particularly reluctant to discuss its programs. Even as it has secretly collected millions of phone records, it has tried to cultivate an image that it was not in the domestic surveillance business.

In March, for instance, NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines, emailed an Associated Press reporter about a story that described the NSA as a monitor of worldwide internet data and phone calls.

"NSA collects, monitors, and analyzes a variety of (asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)FOREIGN(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk) signals and communications for indications of threats to the United States and for information of value to the U.S. government," she wrote. " (asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)FOREIGN(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk) is the operative word. NSA is not an indiscriminate vacuum, collecting anything and everything."

———

Q: Why hasn't anyone sued over this?

A: People have sued. But challenging the legality of secret wiretaps is difficult because, in order to sue, you have to know you've been wiretapped. In 2006, for instance, a federal judge in Detroit declared the NSA warrantless wiretapping program unconstitutional. But the ruling was overturned when an appeals court that said the plaintiffs — civil rights groups, lawyers and scholars — didn't have the authority to sue because they couldn't prove they were wiretapped.

Court challenges have also run up against the government's ability to torpedo lawsuits that could jeopardize state secrets.

The recent release of the classified court document is sure to trigger a new lawsuit in the name of Verizon customers whose records were seized. But now that the surveillance program is under the supervision of the FISA court and a warrant was issued, a court challenge is more difficult.

Suing Verizon would also be difficult. A lawsuit against AT&T failed because Congress granted telecommunications companies retroactive immunity for cooperating with warrantless surveillance. In this instance, Verizon was under a court order to provide the records to the government, making a lawsuit against the company challenging.

———

Q: Can the government read emails?

A: Not under this court order, but it's not clear whether the NSA is monitoring email content as part of this program.

In 2006, former AT&T technician Mark Klein described in federal court papers how a "splitter" device in San Francisco siphoned millions of Americans' internet traffic to the NSA. That probably included data sent to or from AT&T Internet subscribers, such as emails and the websites they visited.

Most email messages are sent through the internet in "plain-text" form, meaning they aren't encrypted and anyone with the right tools can view their contents. Similar to an old-fashioned envelope and letter, every email contains details about whom it's from and where it's supposed to go.

Unlike postal letters, those details can include information that can be linked to a subscriber's billing account, even if he or she wants to remain anonymous.

In May 2012, Wyden and Udall asked the NSA how many people inside the United States had their communications "collected or reviewed."

The intelligence community's inspector general, I. Charles McCullough III, told the senators that providing such an estimate "would likely impede the NSA's mission" and "violate the privacy of U.S. persons."

———

Privacy czar to probe Canadian impact of U.S. data program - CBC News 20130610

Original: Privacy czar to probe Canadian impact of U.S. data program - CBC News 20130610

Canada's spy watchdog aware of data surveillance for years, MacKay says - The Canadian Press

Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Monday that legislation protects Canadians from having their information spied upon. He was responding to questions about an electronic surveillance program first implemented in 2005 and renewed by MacKay in 2011.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Monday that legislation protects Canadians from having their information spied upon. He was responding to questions about an electronic surveillance program first implemented in 2005 and renewed by MacKay in 2011. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

The federal privacy watchdog says she will look into any implications for Canada posed by possible U.S. government snooping on a wide scale.

The issue of data privacy is generating debate in federal circles this week following revelations the U.S. National Security Agency has been tapping into the information banks of American Internet giants.

The office of privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart says the scope of information reportedly being collected raises significant concerns.

Stoddart says while it is difficult to assess the merit of the allegations, she will confer with the watchdog that oversees the Communications Security Establishment — the Canadian counterpart to the NSA — to determine how the personal information of Canadians may be affected.

She also plans to contact fellow international data-protection authorities, who may share similar concerns about the information of their citizens, to discuss combining fact-finding efforts.

The CSE, with headquarters in a plain-looking building in Ottawa's south end, monitors foreign computer, satellite, radio and telephone traffic.

CSE oversight

The CSE Commissioner, who keeps tabs on Canada's electronic eavesdropping agency, has been aware of its data-mining activities for at least seven years.

Robert Decary, the retired judge who keeps an eye on Canada's Communications Security Establishment, first examined how the spy outfit uses what is known as metadata in 2006 — and he continues to monitor the programs.

Metadata is information about an email or telephone call, such as the participants, their locations and time of contact.

In December 2011, the CSE advised Decary that Defence Minister Peter MacKay had approved seven new directives to the spy service, including one on the use of metadata gleaned through foreign intelligence gathering.

The directive updated one that had been in place since 2005, though it is not clear why the tweak was necessary.

The document, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, says the CSE's use of metadata "will be subject to strict conditions to protect the privacy of Canadians, consistent with these standards governing CSE's other programs."

It lists five steps the CSE must take to protect Canadian privacy, though the steps themselves were deleted from the version released under the access law.

Directed at 'foreign threats,' MacKay says

In the House of Commons Monday, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair asked MacKay whether the government was spying on Canadians.

"This program is specifically prohibited from looking at the information of Canadians," MacKay said in response. "This program is very much directed activities outside the country, foreign threats, in fact."

MacKay added in reply to another NDP question that the CSE Commissioner has been reporting use of such information to Parliament for years.

"This is something that has been happening for years and, in fact, ... the commissioner highlighted that the activities were authorized, carried out in accordance with the law, ministerial requirements and CSE's policies and procedures," MacKay said, waving a copy of a CSE Commissioner's annual report.

CSE spokesman Ryan Foreman said last Friday the agency could not comment on its methods, operations or capabilities, but added the agency functions within all Canadian laws.

The CSE has a staff of more than 2,000 — including skilled mathematicians and computer whizzes — and an annual budget of about $400 million.

It is a key element of the intelligence-sharing network known as the Five Eyes — Canada, the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

with files from CBC News