Bill C-27: Canada, we have a problem…

[Note: this is the short version of Anti-Spam Bill morphs into Secret Spyware Bill the Stop Usage Based Billing post I put together in response to warnings issued by Cory Doctorow & Michael Geist on Friday]

Cory Doctorow on boingboing:
The opposition Liberals have proposed amendments which appear to have been drafted by copyright and telecom lobbyists. They would allow for surreptitious installation of computer programs and – even more outrageously – would allow copyright owners to secretly access information on users’ computers.
–Michael Geist

You can read all of Cory Doctorow’s post here, and all of Michael Geist’s post here.

Turns out Bill C-27: The Electronic Commerce Protection Act covers more than just anti-spam.

It was written to include a requirement that software cannot be installed on a user’s computer without consent, as an anti-spyware provision.

What a good idea.

Because no one should have the right to put software on my computer without MY permission.

Just as no one should have the right to put software on YOUR computer without YOUR permission. It is, after all, YOUR computer. You bought it to do what you wanted or needed it to do. Why should anyone have the right to put things on your computer? It isn’t THEIR computer.

last minute amendments

Michael Geist’s news is that the copyright lobby wants to ensure their software will be able to trespass on our equipment and through our files so they can target “violation of a user agreement or alleged copyright infringement.” The copyright lobby is concerned that this legislation will block attempts to track possible copyright infringement through surreptitious electronic means. They want our government to give them the right to invade the privacy of all Canadians just in case there is a copyright violation.

The copyright lobby is concerned that C-27 will “block investigations that involve capturing user information on computers without knowledge or consent.”

Anti-Spam = Pro-Spyware
Do we want c-27 to be Pro-Spyware?

C-27 was making the copyright lobby unhappy so…

“…the Liberals have tabled a motion that would exclude Section 7(1)(b) from C-27 – effectively restoring the exception in these circumstances.”

“On top of these provisions, sources say the Liberals have also tabled motions to extend the exemptions for telecom providers. ”

Using the Internet = Privacy Invasion

If this law is passed, the internet carriers (Bell/Telus/Rogers/Shaw/Sasktel) will have the right to remove things from our computers or add things to our computers. This law will go much farther than the CRTC decision to allow Bell Canada to use Deep Packet Inspection, and is an even greater risk to our personal security.

There is a proposed motion that would also create an exception for telecom providers to the requirement to obtain express consent. It states that the section does not apply to telecom providers providing a telecom service, which is defined to include:

“providing computer security, user account management, routing and transmission of messages, diagnostics, technical support, repair, network management, network maintenance, authorized updates of software or system firmware, authorized remote system management, and detection or prevention of the unauthorized, fraudulent or illegal use of a network, service, or computer software, including scanning for and removing computer programs

Canadian Computer Rights

You may not take things from my computer without my permission
You may not take things from my computer without my permission

I don’t know if anyone else has written anything like this but here goes:

The Rights of A Canadian Computer User

No one has the right to put anything on my computer without my permission.

Just as no one has the right to put a bug in my bedroom.

No one has the right to take anything from my computer without my permission.

Just as no one has the right to take anything from my home without my permission.

No one has the right to read my email without my permission.

Just as no one has the right to open my snail mail without my permission.

No one has the right to go through my document folders without my permission.

Just as no one has the right to go through my file cabinet without my permission.

If any corporation feels that they should be entitled to trample on any of these rights by virtue of the fact that I purchased a piece of equipment, software, CD or DVD, just inform me you plan on doing these things BEFORE I purchase the item from you. That way, I can decide if it is worth it to me to put my privacy at risk.

Canada HAS laws. It has one of which I’m particularly fond:
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Canada even has law enforcement agencies. If the forces of law believe that I am infringing copyright, let them follow the rules of Canadian Law and do an investigation. If searches are deemed necessary, let there be search warrants. Remember that Canadian Law I mentioned? It has a bit that promises Canadians:

Search or seizure

8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The changes to Bill C-27 being contemplated by the committee would actually grant powers of unreasonable search and seizure to corporations.

This is NOT acceptable.

Anyone who has read my blogs is aware that brevity is not my strong suit.

But that is clearly what is called for here. We need to tell all of these people in no uncertain terms that this is NOT acceptable. So this is the letter I am about to send to all of them:

Re: Bill C-27: The Electronic Commerce Protection Act

I am deeply concerned that the committee working on Bill C-27 is considering last minute amendments to this law (or possibly introducing modifying legislation later) that would make it legal for third parties to surreptitiously add to or remove anything from my computer without my express consent.

Corporations and Internet carriers should not be allowed to invade my privacy because I’ve purchased their movie or used the internet. Allowing corporations and telecommunications carriers to surreptitiously invade the privacy of Canadians flies in the face of provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Privacy Act as well as being contrary to advice offered by Public Safety Canada.

Don’t be pressured into making last minute ill advised changes without time for serious thought and investigation. Doing this would certainly not be in the public good. Canada deserves good laws.

My computer belongs to me. No one else has the right to put anything on it or take anything off it without my permission.

Laurel L. Russwurm

Because that’s what we need to do. We need to tell them NO.

This is the committee who are putting this law together
(links direct to email addresses)

The Honourable Tony Clement, P.C., B.A., LL.B., Minister of Industry (Conservative)
Hon. Michael Chong, Chairman of the Committee
Anthony Rota, Vice Chairman (Liberal)
Robert Bouchard (Bloc Québécois)
Gordon Brown (Conservative)
Siobhan Coady (Liberal)
Marc Garneau (Liberal)
Mike Lake (Conservative)
Brian Masse (New Democratic Party)
Dave Van Kesteren (Conservative)
Robert Vincent (Bloc Québécois)
Mike Wallace (Conservative)
Chris Warkentin (Conservative)
Along with a lovely link that will help you find your own MP in the event you don’t know who it is.
Find your Member of Parliament

I would think that the Minister of Public Safety would also have a definite interest in these changes to this proposed legislation, since the tabled loopholes will certainly make it more difficult for the forces of Canadian law and order to successfully prosecute perpetrators of electronic crimes (such as con artists, identity thieves etc.)
The Honourable Peter Van Loan, P.C., B.A., LL.B., M.A., M.Sc.Pl., Minister of Public Safety (Conservative)

private files
private files


October is Cyber Security Awareness Month

I’m pretty sure that the politicians being pressured by the big guns of the copyright lobby haven’t thought about the ramifications of this. That’s one of the reasons for pressing for a last-minute addition, it can’t be scrutinized as closely because there isn’t time.

[The long version may be found at Anti-Spam Bill morphs into Secret Spyware Bill


2 thoughts on “Bill C-27: Canada, we have a problem…


    Canadian Press reported on Friday, Oct 16, 2009:
    On another ethical front Friday, a non-partisan group asked the ethics, lobbyist and elections commissioners to investigate a fundraiser organized for Tory MP Rick Dykstra.
    Democracy Watch said Dykstra hosted 60 “friends” last month in the owner’s box at Toronto’s Roger’s Centre for a Blue Jays baseball game. The donors got tickets to the game, access to the owner’s suite, food and drinks, an opportunity to attend batting practice and meetings with unidentified federal cabinet ministers and Blue Jays players.
    The group wants to know what, if anything, Dykstra or the party paid for the various perks – particularly the owner’s box which can’t be rented and is only used with permission of owner Rogers Communications Inc., a company which lobbies the federal government.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s