#CyberFLASH: First prominent case testing Canada’s new cyberbullying law begins

mobile-securitySix teens charged with distributing intimate images without consent appeared in court for the first time on Wednesday.

The start of the court case is testing a brand new Canadian law, brought in after the death of Rehtaeh Parsons.

“As technology changes, the law has to change as well to meet that,” says Crown Attorney Leigh-Ann Bryson.

The boys, now 15 and 18, are accused of sharing intimate images of more than 20 young girls with the US-based file sharing service-Dropbox. They’re also charged with possessing and distributing child pornography. Bridgewater Police laid the charges last month.

It all comes after a complaint from a high school principalin May 2015 and a cross border investigation that spanned more than a year.

“These charges are intended to capture something different than that captured just by the child pornography charges,” says Bryson.

Bill C-13 became law in March 2015, following the deaths of Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons.

“This law doesn’t make sexting illegal. This doesn’t make sharing intimate images amongst partners to an intimate relationship illegal in any way,” says Privacy Lawyer David Fraser. “It’s the nonconsensual part. It’s if the boyfriend receives a picture of the girlfriend and then forwards it to his buddies.”

Bryson says this is a complex and challenging case because there are six accused, all with different lawyers, all dealing with such a new law.

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#CyberFLASH: There Has Been a ‘Sea Change’ in Privacy Rights in Canada, Warns Watchdog


The man tasked with defending Canadians’ personal information, once decried as a government stooge, directly chastised the federal government over its efforts to track and surveil Canadians — and recommended that the new government put safeguards on how the government uses “big data” to spy on its citizens.

In his annual report, Daniel Therrien, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, looked at three pieces of legislation that “taken together, these initiatives have resulted in what can only be described as a sea change for privacy rights in Canada.”

The first, C-44, allows Canadian spies to operate abroad and gives them more ability to obtain information without disclosing its origins; C-13, which creates new legal authority for cops and public servants to obtain Canadians’ personal data without a warrant; and C-51, the anti-terrorism legislation that opens the door for wide new intelligence-gathering and sharing.

All three bills, which are now law, were introduced by the Conservatives, but supported by the Liberals.

The Liberals have said they will change aspects of C-51, but have said little about the other two pieces of legislation.

In his report, released last week, Therrien recommended fixes for each bill — that the government include language to prevent CSIS from obtaining and using data that has been obtained through torture; that the law be updated to clarify when police are allowed to obtain Canadians’ data from their internet or cellphone companies without a warrant; and that legislation be introduced to toughen protections for Canadians’ privacy when departments want to share their information.

C-51 especially raised the ire of the commissioner.

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#CyberFLASH: Halifax Lawyer To Launch Charter Case Challenge Of Cyber-Safety Act

Digital Life Tech Tips Double Layer PasswordsA Halifax lawyer is getting ready to challenge the Cyber-Safety Act in a Nova Scotia courtroom next week.

David Fraser, an Internet privacy lawyer with McInnes Cooper in Halifax says the law violates a Canadians freedom of expression as guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“The law is so broad that it includes anything that is done electronically that could hurt somebody’s self-esteem, that could harm their reputation and it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not,” Fraser said.

Fraser is currently representing a client who is being charged under the Cyber-Safety Act after posting on social media about a former business partner.

The business partner alleged cyber bullying and obtained a Cyber-Safety order from a justice of the peace. Fraser says his client’s actions are not cyber bullying under the legislation and the order should never have been issued in the first place.

Act “jammed” through legislature

“We’re also arguing that the cyber bullying legislation, if it’s applied in a case like this, is actually not constitutional. it’s contrary to the freedom of expression guaranteed in the charter that allows you to say whatever you want to say, subject to reasonable limitations imposed by law.”

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#CyberFLASH: Want to Roll Back Bill C-51?

Surveillance_610pxIt’s clear Canadians are deeply unhappy with the way the federal government views the privacy rights of its citizens. Last week, Bill C-51 passed in the House of Commons. It’s now before the Senate and is expected to become law within weeks.

This is a piece of legislation so extreme that experts say it will lead to widespread violations of our charter rights.

Today, OpenMedia, which advocates for more Internet freedom, is launching a privacy plan aimed at rolling back Bill C-51, ending government-supported surveillance and restoring the privacy rights of Canadians.

The report, entitled Canada’s Privacy Plan, was the result of a crowd-sourced survey that gathered input from more that 100,000 Canadians. More than 10,000 of you used this crowdsourcing tool to provide detailed input on how you want to tackle our privacy deficit.

Bill C-51 has been widely criticized by Canadian civil liberties advocates. Among other things, it permits federal departments to exchange the private information of Canadians, and makes it easier for police to restrict the movement of suspects.

But Bill C-51 is just one aspect of the alarming privacy deficit the government has created. In the last 12 months, we’ve seen stunning revelations about how the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSE) — the agency that collects foreign security intelligence from the Internet — is spying on Canadians’ private online activities and on private emails that Canadians send to members of Parliament.

And we’ve seen Justice Minister Peter MacKay’s online spying Bill C-13 become law, despite opposition from 3 in 4 Canadians.

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#CyberFLASH: Bill aimed at protecting Canadians from online crime is here

image-2A bill aiming to protect Canadians from online harassment and cyberbullying goes into effect Monday March 9th.

Bill C-13 otherwise known as the “Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act” aims to safeguard the rights of online users.

It received Royal Assent in December, giving it the go-ahead to become law.

The act includes a number of provisions, such as more ways to stop the distribution of non-consensual intimate images.

The government also says it will modernize investigative procedures, like warrants, to help police obtain electronic evidence from the Internet and other technologies.

The new act will designate funding for both national campaigns and school-based education projects aimed at stopping cyberbullying.

With the new act going into effect, those who have strongly opposed the bill are disappointed with what it could mean for Canadians’ right to privacy.

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#CyberFLASH: How to Tackle Canada’s Privacy Deficit

n-ONLINE-PRIVACY-largeSix months ago, we argued that Canadians face a stark privacy deficit. A perfect storm of spy agency surveillance, privacy-undermining legislation, and lax privacy safeguards at government departments sparked concern from citizens right across the political spectrum.

Since then, sadly, the situation has further deteriorated. The government’s surveillance bill C-13 became law. The Supreme Court ruled that police don’t require a warrant to search the cell phones of people they arrest. The private tax information of hundreds of Canadians was leaked to the CBC. And the government is building a powerful new system to collect and analyze what Canadians are saying on Facebook.

All this within just the past few months. And just last week we learned that the government’s spy agency CSEC is spying on our private online activities on a massive scale. Documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that a CSEC program called LEVITATION systematically collects and analyzes 10-15 million downloads from popular file hosting websites each and every day. And, despite repeated government assurances to the contrary, Canadian Internet addresses were among the targets.

As constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald told the CBC, this marked the first official confirmation that Canada is engaged in the type of indiscriminate mass surveillance people have come to associate with the U.S. NSA. Anyone can be a victim — if you’ve used any of over a hundred popular file hosting websites in the past three years, chances are you’ve had your online activity collected and analyzed by CSEC, acting without a warrant and with no independent oversight.

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#CyberFLASH: Counter-terrorism: Two bills poised to pass

Daniel TherrienTwo anti-terrorism bills that would give greater investigative powers to Canada’s police and spies are being swiftly pushed toward becoming law. The government says the new powers will make the country safer, while critics believe they might be tossed by the courts.

What’s being proposed?

Bill C-13 is expected to pass a final Senate vote next week, the last step before it is signed into law. The so-called cyberbullying bill will allow police to obtain surveillance warrants on “reasonable grounds for suspicion” – a lower threshold of evidence than now exists. The bill also shields Internet providers from lawsuits for voluntarily giving police private data without a warrant.

Bill C-44, on the other hand, is a series of amendments to the act governing the spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). If passed, the bill would grant CSIS informants near-total anonymity, and confirm that Canadian courts can issue spy warrants that have effect outside Canada.

The bill has had four hours of committee study and faces another two hours Monday before it returns to the House for a third reading. Then the Bill will be voted and move on to the Senate.

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#CyberFLASH: Conservatives urged to explain position on Internet privacy


image-1OTTAWA – Canada’s privacy watchdog is urging the Conservative government to explain their position on police access to Internet users’ personal data.

Appearing before the Senate committee, Daniel Therrien said he’s concerned the government is taking too narrow a reading of a landmark Supreme Court decision that limited warrantless access to Canadians’ personal information.

“Several months after (the Spencer decision), Canadians are still in the dark about what may happen to their personal information. There appears to be wide variation in how the Spencer decision is being interpreted,” Therrien said. “I would therefore urge Parliament to put an end to this state of ambiguity, and clarify what, if anything, should remain of the common law policing powers to obtain information with a warrant, post-Spencer.”

Therrien was speaking to Bill C-13, legislation introduced by the Conservatives in the name of cyberbullying victims.

Therrien, a former Justice Department lawyer and recent Conservative appointee, said provisions in the bill would greatly increase authorities’ ability to obtain Canadians’ personal information without a warrant.

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