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

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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: New RCMP cyber unit to target global hackers, online scammers

Digital Life Tech Tips Double Layer PasswordsThe move comes as part of a five-year policing strategy unveiled today in Ottawa.

“What has been missing is a directed focus and effort towards cybercrime,” RCMP Chief Supt. Jeff Adam told CBC News in an interview at the force’s highly restricted data forensics labs, part of its technical investigations services branch in Ottawa.

“As cybercrime has evolved over time, and the technology has evolved very quickly … we’ve been kind of left doing it ad hoc, unformalized, unplanned,” he said.

The RCMP’s official Cybercrime Strategy promises “new policing measures to keep pace in a digital era.”

It’s an acknowledgement the Mounties, and indeed police around the globe, are struggling to deal with a vast array of emerging online crimes ranging from petty email scams and child exploitation to national security threats and highly organized hacking operations.

‘Fundamental change’

The RCMP will spend $30.5 million over the next five years to assign 40 staff, both police officers and civilians, to a new, dedicated investigations unit. It will include intelligence analysts, trainers, highly specialized technical staff and more than two dozens investigators from its national division.

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#CyberFLASH: David Fraser opposes warrantless access to internet users’ information

david-fraserA Halifax privacy lawyer says the head of the RCMP is either “ignorant or disingenuous” to call for warrantless access to internet users’ subscriber information.

“The Supreme Court of Canada says you and I have a right to anonymity online. We can choose to identify ourselves, we can choose not to identify ourselves,” David Fraser said Thursday. 

“The Supreme Court of Canada said you have a reasonable expectation of privacy associated with your internet activity. And that’s that.”

On Wednesday, RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson said a recent court ruling curtailing the flow of basic data about customers — such as name and address — has “put a chill on our ability to initiate investigations,” into child predators and other online criminals.

He told a security conference in Ottawa that police should have warrantless access to subscriber information, comparing it to using licence-plate data to find a vehicle owner’s name.

‘Ignorant or disingenuous’

Fraser rejected his comments.

“What I find really frustrating about this is that is either ignorant or disingenuous. You can’t be the chief of Canada’s federal police service and not understand what the Supreme Court of Canada has said about the most important law that we have in Canada, which is the Charter [of Rights and Freedoms]. “

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#CyberFLASH: Social media powerful tool for terrorists, expert warns

the-radical-reality-canada-and-homegrown-terrorismPublic Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Thursday he “looks forward” to talking to RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, after Paulson this week warned that online privacy laws are seriously obstructing the fight against runaway cyber crime.

“He and I have not had the chance to have this conversation yet and I’m looking forward to hearing the elaboration of his views,” Goodale said Thursday. “This issue has presented difficulties in the past, some very high-profile ones.”

Goodale, who is politically responsible for the Mounties, made the remark after spending nearly two hours sitting in the audience at a panel discussion on counter-terrorism at a Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries conference in Ottawa.

A day earlier, in an address to the same gathering, Paulson said rocketing Internet crime, combined with laws restricting police online criminal investigations, means people should avoid the Internet or use it knowing the potential risks.

“And if something bad happens, hopefully we’ll be able to help you, but there’s no guarantee,” he said.

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#CyberFLASH: ‘We can’t protect public from cyber crimes': RCMP boss

n-ONLINE-PRIVACY-largeSpeaking to a security and defence industry conference in Ottawa, Paulson said an explosion in Internet crime, combined with laws restricting police online criminal investigations, means people should avoid the Internet or enter it knowing the potential risks.

“Your safety, your family’s safety, your financial integrity is at risk and so we need to start having the conversation now” about giving police reasonable, new and warrantless powers to collect evidence – often personal information – from online sources, such as basic subscriber data from telecommunication companies, he said.

“Because fundamentally, ladies and gentlemen, it’s hard to keep people safe on the Internet right now. The best advice we can give people is, ‘Don’t go (on the Internet),’ which is not really working, or ‘If you go, be really, really, really careful.’

“And if something bad happens, hopefully we’ll be able to help you, but there’s no guarantee.”

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#CyberFLASH: Cyberattacks on infrastructure a ‘major threat,’ says CSIS chief

shutterstock_154242893-680x400The head of Canada’s main spy agency says he views the possibility of a cyberattack by ISIS or other extremist groups on the country’s “critical infrastructure” as “a major threat.”

“Cyber is one of our top priorities,” Michel Coulombe, director the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) told an Ottawa news conference on Wednesday.

Coulombe was responding to questions after Britain announced it is nearly doubling funding for cyber counterterrorism amid fears ISIS is looking to target Western infrastructure such as hospitals, airports or power plants by using the internet.

He was flanked by RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson and Ralph Goodale, Canada’s newly appointed minister of public safety.

“This is an area that I’m beginning to be further briefed on by the department,” Goodale told reporters, deferring to his deputy minister and CSIS.

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#CyberFLASH: The price of privacy

mobile-securityThe same encryption you trust to keep your information private on your cell phone is now a critical tool for child predators and other criminals. A joint investigation by Scripps News Washington Bureau and the Toronto Star reveals how law enforcement in the U.S. and Canada is losing access to the very evidence needed to solve crimes. The FBI takes Scripps investigators for a first-ever look inside the National Domestic Communications Assistance Center, a hub of knowledge on electronic surveillance established to help all U.S. law enforcement agencies in the growing battle over “Going Dark.” Top FBI officials share details about new strategies in the agency’s next chapter of the war on Going Dark.

This investigation, “The Price of Privacy,” covers extensive ground stretching from Canada to New York to Louisiana. It ventures into the dark world where pedophilia is plotted, crimes are committed and police agencies say they are increasingly handcuffed in preventing and solving crimes due to the encryption that protects the perpetrators. But it is a battle that law enforcement is losing on Capitol Hill and at The White House. After Edward Snowden revealed that the federal government was collecting bulk data about Americans from telecommunications and Internet companies, Apple and Google changed the security measures on cell phone operating systems so that only individuals with the password can unlock the phone and view its contents. The companies themselves no longer have that ability, they claim, and the technology they created prohibits access to information stored on the device—even with a search warrant.

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, homicide detectives blame this heightened level of encryption for halting their investigation of the murder of Brittney Mills, who was eight months pregnant. Authorities believe clues to the murderer’s identity are locked inside the victim’s Apple iPhone, found at the scene. But, they say they cannot get past the encryption on the phone even though they have permission from the victim’s family.

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#CyberFLASH: The Deep, Dark Web Is Getting Some Company Soon — From Canadian Cops

editor-picks-top-10-secret-resources-hiding-tor-network.w654Canada’s federal police service is investing in software that, it hopes, will let it shed light onto the darkest regions of the deep internet.

The money, part of a wide-reaching program aimed at defense and security research, will be spent developing software to trace and monitor supposedly nefarious activity on the darknet — a series of encrypted sites that advertise everything from human trafficking to hitmen.

The Canadian Safety and Security Program (CSSP) is a funding regime that provides resources to various public safety, policing, and military programs run in conjunction with government departments. Previous rounds of funding have contributed to products that can track explosives, equipment that can detect drugs from their vapors, and training to protect Canada’s energy infrastructure from cyber attacks.

The most recent cash infusion, worth some $12 million for 24 projects, focuses on everything from efforts to combat radicalization in Muslim communities, to defusing improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and technology targeting drones.

Perhaps the most politically-charged and potentially controversial project is run by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and two technology firms.

The RCMP, the government stated, “will lead a project to develop and implement a web-crawler to explore anonymous and dark regions of the internet and identify content of interest to national security and law enforcement communities.”

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