#CyberFLASH: Bill C-51 will bury supporters

n-ONLINE-SPYING-CANADA-large570This week’s topic: Does the passing of Bill C-51 ensure an NDP win in the federal election?

The federal Liberal and Conservative parties are in free fall. Although the Alberta election is a factor, the NDP surge in recent polls is likely a result of their strong opposition to Bill C-51.

As Canadians learn more about the bill, they will continue to turn away from the two parties responsible for passing it.

The Anti-Terrorism Act is perhaps the most disturbing piece of legislation in recent history.

It expands the power of government to spy on Canadians and arrest individuals who will never commit a violent act. Citizens can now be jailed for making statements perceived as advocating or promoting terrorism in general. News reports, poetry, or any other expression interpreted as glorifying terrorism could be subject to arrest and prosecution.

The government also granted itself new powers to censor Internet activity it deems “terrorist propaganda.” History has shown that such legal ambiguity will be exploited to harass, intimidate and silence citizens.

Read Brent Stafford’s column here.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe published a legal analysis warning that Bill C-51 violates several international standards and treaties, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Some argue that like America’s Patriot Act, Bill C-51 will keep Canadians safe. However, a recent Department of Justice report revealed the FBI’s expanded spying powers have not helped crack a single terrorism-related case.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has abandoned the traditional Conservative ideals of individual rights and limited government. He should not expect Conservatives to flock to the polls to build their own cages.

Perhaps more offensive than the bill’s passing was not a single Liberal MP voted against it. Justin Trudeau agreed the bill was flawed, but cowered to the threat of Conservative attack ads. Through political calculation he lent Harper the support of the Liberal Party, thereby shielding Bill C-51 from criticism. Tom Mulcair’s NDP now stand nearly alone in Parliament, defending the people’s right to due process, privacy, and freedom of speech. Unsurprisingly their support across the country is skyrocketing.

Read more here

#CyberFLASH: Internet data routinely handed over without a warrant: Geist


The lawful access fight of 2012, which featured then-Public Safety Minister Vic Toews infamously claiming that the public could side with the government or with child pornographers, largely boiled down to public discomfort with warrantless access to Internet subscriber information. The government claimed that subscriber data such as name, address, and IP address was harmless information akin to data found in the phone book, but few were convinced and the bill was ultimately shelved in the face of widespread opposition.

The government resurrected the lawful access legislation last year as a cyber-bullying bill, but it has been careful to reassure concerned Canadians that the new powers are subject to court oversight. While it is true that Bill C-13 contains several new warrants that require court approval (albeit with a lower evidentiary standard), what the government fails to acknowledge is that telecom companies and Internet providers already hand over subscriber data hundreds of times every day without court oversight. In fact, newly released data suggests that the companies have established special databases that grant law enforcement quick access to subscriber information without a warrant for a small fee.

Read more here

#CyberFLASH: Commons asked to review encryption following report NSA has back-door access


OTTAWA — House of Commons security is being asked to review its continued use of a private encryption device amid media reports that the company that makes it took money from the National Security Agency to build in a back-door access point.

The request from the NDP caucus comes on the heels of a Reuters report that IT security company RSA made a secret deal with the NSA to weaken code in its encryption software that would grant the embattled spy agency the ability to access what users believed were secure files.

RSA received $10 million from the NSA to put the loophole in its product, Reuters reported Friday, citing two unnamed sources familiar with the deal. The report followed earlier stories from Reuters and The New York Times that the NSA created a flawed formula to generate random numbers that was then allegedly inserted into an RSA security product and gave the NSA access to multitudes of computers.

Read more here

#CyberFLASH: Nova Scotia – Hacked NDP Twitter account

NDP says their candidate's Twitter account was hacked

The provincial NDP party says someone hacked the Twitter account of one of their candidates, using the account to follow a slew controversial accounts that included a neo-Nazi group.

NDP candidate Becky Kent was back on the campaign trail in Eastern Passage Tuesday after the unusual activity on her account.

Very upset, very disgusted with the action,” she said.

The party said someone hacked into Kent’s account and then had her follow anti-abortionists, anti-Islamic groups, and neo-Nazi supporters.

Kent said she has no idea who would have hacked her account. Though, gaining access to someone’s Twitter account isn’t that difficult, especially when an easily-guessed password is the only thing keeping mischief-makers out.

Read more on CBC

NDP call for broader probe into data breaches, identity fraud


OTTAWA — The opposition New Democrats will ask a Commons committee next week to widen the scope of its investigation into identity fraud and probe the reasons behind thousands of data breaches that have plagued the federal government over the past 10 years.

The NDP argue such a study is needed to see what’s being done to solve “this massive problem,” and reduce the risk that future breaches could lead to someone having their identity stolen.

“We have no idea how many cases of data loss or breach or hacking have resulted in Canadians having their personal information or financial information stolen,” NDP MP Charlie Angus said. “We need to find that out.”

Read more here

Government data breached thousands of times in last decade, documents say


OTTAWA — The federal government has seen more than 3,000 data and privacy breaches over the past 10 years, breaches that have affected more than 725,350 Canadians, according to documents tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

The responses from departments, given to the New Democrats in response to an order paper question, also show that less than 13 per cent of all breaches have been reported, including a handful from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans that affected more than 4,400 individuals.

“There may be issues where Canadians have been put at risk and they haven’t been informed,” said NDP critic Charlie Angus, who submitted the written question. “As a standard, we should involve the privacy commissioner when Canadians’ privacy is breached.”

Read more here

Canada Privacy Breaches: More Than A Million Canadians May Have Had Data Compromised


OTTAWA — More than a million Canadians may have had their private information compromised by data breaches within the federal government over the last ten years, an analysis by The Huffington Post Canada suggests.

Prompted by a question from NDP MPCharlie Angus, the government was forced to acknowledge this week that at the very least, there were 1,072,999 instances where a Canadian’s private information held by various departments and agencies was lost, stolen or accessed by an unauthorized third party.

Read more here



Bill calls for mandatory data breach reporting


With the Conservative government’s privacy reform bill sitting untouched after being introduced about two years ago, New Democractic Party MP Charmain Borg has introduced a private member’s bill that that would make it mandatory for organizations to report data breach incidents.

Bill C-475, Borg’s proposed amendment to the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronics Document Act (PIPEDA), echoes what Canadian consumer and privacy advocacy groups have been clamoring for – more teeth to the existing privacy legislation that only requires voluntary reporting of breaches. 

Read more here

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