#CyberFLASH: Anti-terror bill to give agencies more authority to share private information

AJW212_Ottawa_Shooting_20141022Ottawa will give government departments and agencies explicit authority to share private or confidential commercial information in legislation to be introduced shortly after the Commons resumes sitting in late January – an attempt to make it easier to thwart terrorist attacks.

The legislation is being drawn up in response to two deadly attacks on Canadian soldiers on domestic soil, including a shooting in Parliament, that shook the country in October.

Sources familiar with the plans say a government review of the tragedies found problems that inhibit the free flow of useful information between departments and security agencies.

The changes would allow information submitted in passport applications and on the movement of items such as automatic weapons, GPS systems or controlled goods that could be used in terrorist attacks to be shared with Canadian security agencies.

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#CyberFLASH: Phones are more private than houses – so shouldn’t be easier to search

Cyberfile+Mobile+Banking+20Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada decided that police do not need a warrant to search the contents of your cellphone. In R v Fearon, a majority of the court decided that police can search the contents of your cellphone as long as the search is “truly incidental” to a lawful arrest and is tailored to the reason for the arrest.

This decision does not appreciate how technology has changed the privacy interests of Canadians. Smart phones have forever altered the way we use, store and relate to information. This has upended many of our intuitions about privacy. This is especially true for Millennials, who make greater use of smart phones and have a greater privacy interest in their contents.

Modern phones contain an astounding amount of private information. If a police officer searched our phones, he could access every digital conversation we’ve had since 2006. Like millions of Canadians, we use mobile financial software to track our expenses, investments and debt. Our phones contain most photographs we take and give access to every important document on our home computers through apps like Dropbox. If you use Grindr, or another LGBTQ dating app, an officer could discover your sexual orientation merely by viewing the home screen. Google automatically displays travel routes to frequently visited places, providing an officer our work address or the address of a significant other. Many apps record location information, providing a record of your movements over a period of weeks, months or years. Even if you don’t use such an app, most smartphones automatically keep location data that can be easily extracted with equipment available to the police.

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#CyberFLASH: How location-based data tells you where your customers are

15299215336_05b0755a26_oThe next time you walk by your favourite store, you may get some kind of message from it, running down its latest deals. Or you might get an ad from its competitor across the street, or from other brands in the same industry.

So what’s prompting this kind of advertising? The name of the game is location-based marketing, which targets consumers based on their whereabouts through their smartphones, as long as they’ve opted into sharing their location. While this hasn’t become a huge trend in Canada as of yet, it’s on its way, and EQ Works has been one of the first companies in the Great White North to tap into more advanced location-based data.

Based in Toronto, EQ Works is a digital marketing agency that helps other companies with their media buying. The company is the first in Canada to partner with Factual Inc., a U.S.-based startup that has supplied location data to the likes of Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, and Groupon and has served as a cornerstone for a broad swath of location-dependent entertainment, restaurant and hotel apps.

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#CyberFLASH: Black Friday: 50% off VPN subscriptions

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#CyberFLASH: Russian hackers hijack webcams worldwide — including at least four in Ottawa

iStock_000003827297Medium.jpgHave you checked your webcam lately?

Hackers have created a website to hijack the webcam feeds of more than 73,000 people, including hundreds from Canada — and apparently at least four from Ottawa — and are sharing those video feeds with peeping Toms the world over.

The hackers’ website, believed to be based in Moscow, has collected live feeds from webcams around the world, showing the daily goings on within people’s homes, daycares, businesses and thousands of other locations. The site has 243 webcams that it claims originate in Canada.

One camera, which has geolocation data claiming that it originates in Orléans, shows the inside of someone’s kitchen where a load of groceries appears to have been dumped on the countertop. Another, located in a person’s apartment downtown, showed an orange-clad woman sitting at a table for a good part of the afternoon. A third simply monitors an Ottawan’s front driveway, while the fourth stands guard over somebody’s back door.

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#CyberFLASH: Inquiry must see explicit nude photos of Judge Lori Douglas

20141028-191503-gWINNIPEG – Some members of a committee who recommended Justice Lori Douglas be appointed to the bench were later shocked to learn explicit photos of her had been posted on the Internet, a Canadian Judicial Council inquiry was told Tuesday.

“Some of them will come and say that when it was made public in 2010, they almost fell from their chair, they were so surprised,” inquiry independent counsel Suzanne Cote said.

That contradicted the evidence of Justice Martin Freedman, chair of the committee, who testified in 2012 that committee members were well aware of allegations that Douglas’s husband Jack King had solicited a client to have sex with Douglas and posted nude pictures of her on the Internet.

Cote is opposing a motion by Douglas’s lawyer to quash the inquiry, derailed two years ago following the resignation of original independent counsel Guy Pratte and the subsequent resignation of the original inquiry panel.

“This is not a matter for summary dismissal,” Cote said. “The evidence is far from complete.”

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#CyberFLASH: The escalating arms race against cybercrime


Martin Knuth is one of Home Depot’s most loyal customers. But after the home improvement giant revealed last month that hackers had accessed the confidential credit card information of 56 million North American customers, the Regina retiree became concerned enough to help launch a class action lawsuit against the retailer.

So far, Mr. Knuth hasn’t found any fraudulent charges on his account – and he still shops at Home Depot. “It hasn’t changed my buying, per se,” said Mr. Knuth, who estimates he shops at his nearby Home Depot 10 times more than the average person. However, he acknowledged that the risk of his data being compromised “is still fairly high.”

Massive data breaches affecting tens of millions of people like Mr. Knuth are occurring with alarming frequency. In the past few months, a slew of hacks have taken place at companies such as Kmart, Staples, Dairy Queen and JPMorgan, where more than 80 million accounts were exposed. Three of the top 10 data breaches in history happened this year and experts say 2014 will be the worst on record, surpassing last year’s tally of 822 million exposed records worldwide, according to cybersecurity firm Risk Based Security. That’s almost double the number from 2011 and the actual figure could be far higher since experts say most breaches are kept quiet.

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#CyberFLASH: Lawyer wants case involving nude photos of judge thrown out

sheila_block.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterbox-2WINNIPEG—A lawyer for the senior Manitoba judge facing removal over nude photographs her husband posted of her on the Internet compared her Monday to celebrity hacking victims who have faced the same fate.

Sheila Block, who represents Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas, argued the case should be thrown out because it punishes the victim.

Block said it doesn’t make sense to subject Douglas to another lengthy disciplinary tribunal, which equates to “state-sponsored victim-blaming.”

She told a panel of judges that they shouldn’t put Douglas through more trauma because she has been a victim twice over: the victim of her husband, who died of cancer last spring, and of a man bent on extortion and revenge.

“You are not responsible for pushing this boulder down the hill but you are in the position to do the right thing,” she told the judges. “Our system of justice does not punish the victim. It does not rob the victim of their dignity and privacy. It does not treat the victim as damaged goods.”

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