#CyberFLASH: Google, B.C. firm duel over free speech, copyright in Supreme Court battle

google-logo-jpg-size-custom-crop-1086x714OTTAWA—A legal fight between Internet giant Google and a British Columbia technology company unfolds today in the Supreme Court of Canada, where they will duel over competing free speech and copyright infringement issues.

At issue is whether Canadian courts have the jurisdiction to make sweeping orders to block access to content on the Internet beyond Canada’s borders.

Google is challenging a 2015 ruling by the British Columbia Court of Appeal that ordered it to stop indexing or referencing websites linked to a company called Datalink Technologies Gateways.

The B.C. appeal court granted that injunction at the request of Equustek Solutions Inc., which won a judgment against Datalink for essentially stealing, copying and reselling industrial network interface hardware that it created.

Equustek wanted to stop Datalink from selling the hardware through various websites and turned to Google to shut down references to them.

Initially, Google removed more than 300 URLs from search results on Google.ca, but more kept popping up, so Equustek sought — and won — the broader injunction that ordered Google to impose a worldwide ban.

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#CyberFLASH: BC data breach, millions of students data lost

150923_1h9o9_rci-m-virk_sn635The provincial government in the west coast province of British Columbia has admitted the loss of personal information on millions of students.

The data with personal information was on an unencrypted hard drive which can no longer be found.

The hard drive contains student data from 1986 to 2009, on some 3.4 millions students from B.C and Yukon territory, including names, gender, grades, postal codes, and personal education numbers.

It alos included 825 survey results from teachers aged more than 53 years old, in 2003, on their retirement plans and also other information about cancer survivors on their education outcomes, as well as information related to 9,273 children in government care, including health data on behaviour issues and supervision status, the government said.

The government has said it considers the privacy risk low as the device contained no financial information, banking, social insurance, or driver’s licence numbers.

However others say that information could be matched with information from other sources.

‘How do we ensure this never happens again?’ asks Judy Arnold, Yukon’s deputy education minister as Yukon reconsiders data sharing with B.C.

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#CyberFLASH: Public safety minister says Anonymous threats against RCMP taken seriously

Quebec hackerDELTA, B.C. – Canada’s public safety minister shrugged off questions Tuesday about his government’s response to threats against the RCMP by the hacktivist group Anonymous, saying he fully trusts law enforcement to investigate.

Steven Blaney said all threats are taken seriously but provided few details of how his government is responding, days after Anonymous claimed responsibility for shutting down the RCMP website.

“There are many ways this country enjoys freedom to express our democratic views,” he said. “I invite those who want to express their views to use democratic ways. Those who don’t expose themselves to face the full force of the law.”

Members of the loosely-connected vigilante group issued a news release on Saturday that claimed a masked man fatally shot by a Mountie in Dawson Creek, B.C., was an Anonymous member. The release vowed to publish the identity and personal information of the officer.

The next day, the force’s national website crashed for several hours. The RCMP has not confirmed that Anonymous hackers were responsible for the shutdown.

The Twitter account that originally posted the press release, @OpAnonDown, appeared to have been removed as of Tuesday afternoon.

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#CyberFLASH: Former B.C. staffer alleges emails deleted relating to Highway of Tears

Apple Hosts Event At Company's Town HallVICTORIA – Tim Duncan said he was barely three weeks into his new job at the Transportation Ministry in Victoria when he was ordered to delete emails concerning government meetings about the Highway of Tears investigation into murdered and missing women.

When he hesitated, Duncan said a ministerial assistant in Transportation Minister Todd Stone’s office stepped in and deleted about a dozen emails from his government computer.

Duncan’s allegations have set off an investigation by B.C.’s Information and Privacy Commissioner and prompted the government to announce Thursday that the ministerial assistant who deleted the emails has been suspended with pay.

“It is my belief that the abuse of the freedom of information process is widespread and most likely systemic within the (Premier Christy) Clark government,” said the May 18 letter of complaint sent by Duncan to privacy commissioner Elizabeth Denham.

Denham said in a statement she has contacted Duncan and her office will launch an investigation.

The New Democrats raised the email deletion issue Thursday in the legislature, accusing the government of abusing the freedom of information process. The Opposition also released an email Duncan sent to MLA Maurine Karagianis where he described his political experience.

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#CyberFLASH: Mayor of Saanich, B.C. suspected staff was spying on him — and he was right

AtwellVICTORIA — Less than two weeks after being sworn in as mayor, Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell learned he was being spied upon.

A whistleblower sidled up to the rookie mayor at a community event, last December, and suggested the mayor’s own staff had bugged his municipal computer.

Distrustful of Saanich’s top bureaucrats — many of whom were loyal to the six-term incumbent that Atwell had just upset at the polls — the mayor of Vancouver Island’s largest municipality felt he had only one option left: Launch his own investigation.

Armed only with the recording app on his iPhone, Atwell began interviewing former and current staff in Saanich’s computer department. He approached one employee outside a local recreation centre, hoping to catch him away from his managers so he could speak freely. When the mayor tracked down the technician who’d installed the tracking software, he went to the man’s home on the employee’s day off to record their conversation.

“It just seemed so incredible,” Atwell said. “These employees were very uncomfortable having done this job. They felt so uncomfortable they were asking questions internally and trying to get the information out somehow.”

Atwell’s suspicions were vindicated Monday in a report by privacy commissioner Elizabeth Denham, who said Saanich staff broke the law by installing spyware software called Spector 360 onto several municipal computers.

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#CyberFLASH: We’re taking your Online Privacy concerns straight to the B.C. Legislature and we need to hear from you

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Ever wanted to have your opinions heard by key decision makers in B.C.? Now’s your chance. Our own David Christopher has been invited to present the pro-Internet community’s concerns about privacy to key MLAs of the B.C. Legislature. David will be offering testimony about the privacy implications of B.C.’s Personal Information Privacy Act (PIPA).

PIPA is the provincial equivalent of the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). It sets out how many commercial entities in British Columbia should safeguard their customers’ privacy. There are a number of key concerns with PIPA in its current form:

   -It allows for your personal information to be handed to government authorities without a warrant, and without your consent.

   -It allows for your personal information to be handed to other organizations, in some circumstances without your consent.

   -Citizens don’t even get notified that their information has been handed over without their consent.

   -Warrantless requests for private information were recently ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, and B.C.’s provincial legislation needs to be updated to reflect that.

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#CyberFLASH: Ottawa defends spy agency, says collection of Canadians’ data ‘incidental’

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VANCOUVER — The federal government is defending its secretive eavesdropping agency in a lawsuit filed by a B.C. civil rights group, insisting any collection of Canadians’ communication is unintentional.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association filed a lawsuit last fall, alleging Canadians’ communications were being illegally swept up by the Communications Security Establishment Canada, or CSEC.

The group’s lawsuit targeted the spy agency’s monitoring of foreign communications, as well as the collection of metadata, which reveals technical information but not the content of electronic communication.

But Ottawa has filed a statement of defence that says CSEC follows strict rules that prevent the agency from specifically targeting Canadians and its activities are monitored by an independent commissioner.

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North Saanich man jailed five years for cyber sex tourism, possession of child pornography

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A North Saanich man who sat at his computer and directed a Chinese father to sexually assault his young son was sentenced Thursday to five years in a federal penitentiary.

In what is believed to be Canada’s first case of cyber sex tourism, Jean-Pierre François Lévesque, 62, pleaded guilty June 10 to possession of child pornography for the purpose of trafficking, and counselling to commit a sexual assault on a person under the age of 16.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Keith Bracken called the facts of the case disturbing: “I will say that it is beyond understatement that the police report contains perverted and disgusting material.”

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