Category Archives: Privacy

News surrounding your privacy

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Rep. Peter King: Prosecute Reporters Who Publish Leaked Information

By Drew Wilson

There’s been a lot of developments since our previous report on the NSA PRISM leak. This includes how government officials have been put on the defence with respect to the program and the calls for reporters who report on these leaks to be criminally prosecuted.

Question: When someone walks up to you with proof that the government has been doing something not only immoral, but also immorally on a grand scale, do you publish the information that exposes potential wrongdoing of the government, risking any major consequences, or keep quiet about the whole affair? That is not necessarily an easy question to answer as a reporter. Given a journalists role as a “5th estate”, it can be a moral duty to keep government accountable by exposing the truth. On the other hand, depending on what country you’re reporting on, you could also be putting your life on the line for doing your job. So, there are a lot of variables to consider including whatever it is you find through inward reflection on your capabilities, your nerve, etc. Some food for thought as we run through the latest on the PRISM leak scandal.

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NSA PRISM Program Rocks The American Privacy Landscape

The media has been buzzing with the latest leak of the American spying program known as PRISM. Numerous companies were reportedly compliant in handing over personal information to the US government. We sift through the flurry that has occurred over the weekend.

For privacy observers and advocates, things haven’t been this eventful in the US since the the EFF sued the American government over the warrantless wiretapping program through the AT&T network that was only revealed by a whistleblower. The famous room that allegedly contains a splitter which copies all information and feeds the copy to the NSA cracked open a huge debate over privacy during the Bush era. At the time, the government argued that the program was secret and vital to protecting the American way of life.

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Dutch Government Proposes Bill to Hack Your Computer

By Drew Wilson

The Dutch government is proposing a bill that would allow the government to hack anyone’s computer – including those located outside of the Netherlands. The bill was signed by Ivo Opstelten and published.

There has been no shortage of hacking going around in the last few years, but is it right that government officials be allowed to do it? That’s the kind of question that is floating around in the Netherlands right now as the Dutch government has proposed a bill that would allow authorities to do just that – including for those users who are located outside of the country. From ITWorld:

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DHS Given Authority to Seize Electronic Devices Without Suspicion

By Drew Wilson

If you plan on visiting the United States, you may want to leave your laptop or smartphone at home. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is saying that it has the right to seize electronic devices within 100 miles of the US border without any reason for up to 120 days.

It is one of the provisions feared within the now defunct Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) but worse. ACTA, at one point, demanded that authorities could seize anything that can digitally store something for the purposes of enforcing copyright laws. It was a provision so outrageous, that negotiators not only distanced themselves from the provision, but removed it altogether. Now, the DHS has been given the authority to carry out seizures of electronic devices without giving any reason whatsoever – and can do it within 100 miles of the border as well.

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US Government to Reintroduce CISPA

By Drew Wilson

Reports are surfacing that the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is going to be re-introduced next week. The last iteration was delayed partly due to the widespread opposition.

Slashdot is pointing to an article on The Hill which says that the controversial bill would be re-introduced and unchanged from a previous attempt to pass it.

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Canadian Industry Groups Want to Legalize Spyware?

By Drew Wilson

A recent submission made by a number of corporate organizations in the Canadian anti-spam initiative is raising alarm bells. The groups are demanding that certain kinds of software (like spyware) be exempt from provisions of the anti-spam law that could theoretically be used for the purposes of anti-piracy operations on the personal device level.

Michael Geist, a very well known Canadian law professor whose analysis of Canadian issues has become widely regarded around the world, has been following the Canadian anti-spam legislation for quite some time. While the initiative to stop spam was largely seen as a positive Canadian technology and law story, the story has recently taken a very disturbing twist recently. Language in a submission made by the Coalition of Business and Technology Associations which includes the Canadian Bankers Association, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, Entertainment Software Association of Canada and the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada appears to open the door to allow spyware to installed on a personal computing device for the purposes of blocking certain kinds of traffic or the blocking of entire websites that major industry types do not approve of which can include anti-piracy operations.

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Canadian Anti-Spam Bill Hindering ISP User Surveillance Software?

By Drew Wilson

It’s one of the bills that Canada proposed last year that was applauded by many – a bill that would at least make an attempt to curb the tide of spam messages flowing into inboxes everywhere. While it seemed like a slam dunk for the government to pass at first, it’s being held up for quite an extended period of time. One reason it has been delayed is, oddly enough, objections from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who want to use secret monitoring software on users computers.

At first, the idea that stopping spam would hurt secret surveillance measures makes about as much sense as the idea of stopping the production of glass would hurt the chances of picking the right colour of socks to wear in the morning, but that’s what’s happening with the anticipated anti-spam law right now. A report from the CBC shows what one of the hold-ups were:

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