Arresting Images at The Waterloo Museum

Arresting Images poster

As an author of crime fiction, I’ve been trying to get to the City of Waterloo Museum to see the to see their true crime exhibit “Arresting Images: Mug shots from The OPP Museum.”

The tiny museum gallery is housed in Conestoga Mall, with an entrance from the food court, as well as exterior entrance.

Admission is free, and the exhibits I’ve attended have been well worth it.

This exhibition includes 100 framed reproductions of mug shots selected from the from the OPP collection of spanning the late 19th and early 20th century people arrested, as well as selected blowups of what are essentially portrait photographs taken by the same professional portrait photographers who photographed our law abiding ancestors.

There is a post card circulated to identify a suspect,and mug shots not only from Ontario, but including suspects from cities in nearby New York.

The origins of the mug shot

The mug shot as we know it, had it’s beginnings in the early days of photography. In 1841, just two years after the invention of the daguerreotype, the Paris Police began to include daguerreotype portraits in their criminal files. In England, the Bristol gaol staff adopted the practice of photographing prisoners in 1848. American and Canadian police and detective agencies were quick to follow suit. The mug shot was born

23 year old Lillie Williams arrested on "Suspicion"

In order to display both the front (photograph) and back (arresting information) of the images, faithful reproductions of both sides of 100 mug shot cards have framed for the exhibit.

19th century handcuffs

The exhibit also includes physical memorabilia, so visitors can see early handcuff styles, a section devoted to Waterloo policing, as well as an interactive area where children of all ages can experiment with disguises, find out how big a jail cell was, or take your own mug shot.

Early 20th century Waterloo Police Chief's hat

My favorite part was the informative display covering early photographic methods. I was surprised to see just how small actual daguerreotypes were.

camera display

Since visiting the exhibit, I have a couple of questions, so I might just pop in again before the exhibit closes, on Friday (May 9, 2014).


I’ve posted a few more photos from the show on my Tumblog, GrandSocial, Twitter and techDITZ.


Death Threat Domain Names


emailed to:

Tuesday, 11 January, 2011

Dear GoDaddy:

I was very disturbed to discover some very offensive death threat domain names that are in currently in use through your service.

is hosted by


I’ve also been told the same is true for


If this isn’t a clear violation of your terms of use it should be.
I want very much to see these terrible websites to be removed.

Please let me know the outcome of this terrible situation as soon as possible.

Thank you.


Laurel L. Russwurm

[Thanks @jwildeboer & @evgenymorozov]

The disturbed young woman who registered the domain name is Melissa Clouthier (@MelissaTweets) acording to her Twitter Profile:


Frazzled mom, alternative health doc, conservative libertarian blogger, columnist, podcaster, radio host, iPhone & Mac lover, fantasy reading geek, #TCOT”

As a mother myself, I have difficulty understanding a mind set that would allow a mother to advocate killing anyone. Is this not also a criminal offense?

Is this woman a socipath? Or is it that she just lacks any shred of empathy?

Or perhaps Ms. Clouthier lacks the imagination to realize that Julian Assange has a mother too?

Sadly, it’s beginning to look as thought there’s a whole culture that thinks advocating the assassination of people who disagree with you acceptable.

Incredibly, the most bizarre thing is that @MelissaTweets believes herself to be a “libertarian”.

Libertarianism is the advocacy of individual liberty, especially freedom of thought and action.[1] Philosopher Roderick T. Long defines libertarianism as “any political position that advocates a radical redistribution of power [either “total or merely substantial”] from the coercive state to voluntary associations of free individuals”, whether “voluntary association” takes the form of the free market or of communal co-operatives.[2] David Boaz, libertarian writer and vice president of the Cato Institute, writes that, “Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others” and that, “Libertarians defend each person’s right to life, liberty, and property–rights that people have naturally, before governments are created.”[3]

Libertarianism, WikiPedia redircects to:


Silencing Online Activism: From “Officer Bubbles” to “Free Byron”

maple leaf leaning right

[This is an expanded version of the comment I posted to the CBC’s online article Toronto’s ‘Officer Bubbles’ sues YouTube. Of course, it’s subject to moderation and I have had many comments well within stated CBC guidelines declined. So I decided to post this here as it’s too important an issue to let slip through the cracks.]

The calls for an Inquiry into the G8/G20 debacle aren’t going away, they are getting louder.

What level of ridicule is reasonable?

A great many Canadian citizens (not to mention a great many international Internet users) witnessed Officer Bubbles attempting to intimidate a protester. And although the protester complied— she put down her dangerous bottle of soap bubbles— within moments she was arrested anyway.
[View this video in OGG format:]

L - R Bubble blowing female protester stands in front of Female officer,  Male camera wielding protester stands directly in front of Officer Adam Josephs
Clearly Officer Bubbles knew he was on camera

There were cameras everywhere.

Officer Bubbles certainly knew he was being recorded when he took his stand. The protester
with a camera stood directly in front of him—
close enough to reach out and touch.

And Officer Bubbles had his 15 minutes of fame.

But now Officer Bubbles wants to protect himself from harassment?

reports: ‘Pay me $1.2M’ Officer Bubbles tells YouTube

A National Post article lauds this lawsuit, believing Officer Bubbles’ attempt to intimidate by lawsuits is a blow for… accountability?

Will the courts allow citizens to be stripped of the right to comment anonymously? If you make an anonymous comment expressing your disagreement with a situation like this, can you be sued? Is an opinion slander? Or since it’s published online libel?

Anonymity can be a powerful tool for good. Whistleblowers can leak information that their consciences dictate ought to be public which often serves the public good.

Must we guard our opinions, and take care not to voice them for fear of litigation?

Using lawsuits to squash the cartoons that ensued is a terrible precedent for the future of free speech and free expression in Canada.   It’s interesting to note that Officer Bubbles is not attempting to take down the video. After all, it really happened.

The fact is he spoke and acted, knowing he was being filmed.   Performing his professional duties as an officer of the law, on a public street, as a matter of public record. Officer Bubbles is a public servant interacting with a member of the public.   In this context, Officer Bubbles should be no more immune from depiction in political cartoons than the Mayor or the Prime Minister?

June 2010 poster: Toronto Resist G8/20
Many citizens protested the G8/G20

I must have dozed off at the part where they made political cartoons illegal in Canada. Is that in Bill C-32?

silencing dissent before it happens

Meanwhile, there is another protester that there is no video for.

This protester was arrested before he even had a chance to protest the G8/G20 — before it even began — apparently on the basis of Twitter remarks which led to a search warrant. The result is that Byron Sonne was arrested, and languishes in jail some four months later, denied bail by a Justice of the Peace.

Malcolm Gladwell may not believe in online activism, but Canadian police services take it seriously.

A Justice of the Peace isn’t a lawyer, or a judge.   This is a political appointment. I have to wonder if a Justice of the Peace, an appointed position not requiring formal legal education, is the right person to be making decisions about who is or is not entitled to bail?   It’s bad enough that in criminal offenses, the decision as to whether a defendant can walk free between accusation and trial may fall victim to a JP’s personal bias.
But to have political appointees ruling on the liberty of those accused of political offenses during peaceful protests is simply ludicrous.   A Justice of the Peace appointed by the government of the day can hardly be expected to be impartial, especially in cases of political dissent.

Many laws have built in latitude enabling them to cover a range of infractions. There is certainly latitude in every one of the charges brought against Byron Sonne, allowing the exercise of a great deal of discretion.
This certainly becomes an issue in a world where a soap bubble is adjudged a weapon by the forces of Canadian law enforcement.

There can be no democracy without dissent.

Peaceful protest is legal in Canada … isn’t it?
Or has dissent become a criminal offense?

Free Byron

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

Doors Open, Doors Closed

Stephen Truscott
Stephen Truscott

1959: The year I was born…

in an incredible miscarriage of Canadian justice,  14 year old Stephen Truscott was sentenced to death and spent time on the Don Jail’s death row.

Earlier, the infamous Boyd gang were repeat Don Jail customers, and a few of them didn’t come out alive.

Completed and open for business in 1865, two years older than confederation, the infamous “Don” is nothing less than the Canadian equivalent of the Count of Monte Cristo’s Chateau d’If,  or perhaps the American Alcatraz.

My family decided to make the lengthy trek to Toronto to we could visit the Don Jail before it’s gone.   Apparently it’s going to be renovated and become part of a hospital.  (Hopefully they’ll be discrete about what they do with the former death row or indoor gallows.)

It’s an imposing building.  Years ago when I lived nearby I’d look at it and wonder.

I couldn’t resist the opportunity to get a peek since they were doing “Doors Open Toronto” tours.

The crowd mills about on the street outside the fence at the Don Jail.
The crowd mills about on the street outside the fence at the Don Jail.

I’d heard there were 2 hour wait times.  But checking the doors open website before leaving home I learned that the last tours would be at 4:30.  The “phone number” listed on the page consisted of zeros, so there was no way of finding out anything before.

When we arrived around 3:00pm  there were probably a few hundred people milling about outside the chain link fence, and more inside.  My husband drove off in search of parking and we tried to figure out where  the line actually ended.   Nobody seemed to know.  The “outsiders” didn’t know if we’d ever get in, until someone got the attention of an inner fence tour volunteer tour guide.  She was helpful.  We learned that they hadn’t admitted anyone since 11:30 am.  The lucky insiders were the only ones who were going to be priviledged to get the tour.

Then my husband arrived to tell us he’d paid for parking until 6:00 pm.

I do understand that the organizers were overwhelmed by the turnout on Saturday.   They weren’t expecting it.   They’d ceased admitting people really early yesterday as well. (We hadn’t heard that then… all anyone said was that there were “long waits”. )

What I do NOT understand is why they didn’t do anything differently on Sunday.

They had a web listing.  If they stopped admitting people at 11:30 they should have put  a “sold out” notice on the website…

Another thing I don’t understand is why there wasn’t a phone number.  Even if it was just a machine, if we could have called and learned that there wasn’t any point in coming we could have stayed home.

Why were people still waiting at 3:00pm
if they’d stopped letting in as early as 11:30am?

We looked around to see if there had been any way for us to at least have known not get stuck paying for parking?  Oh look… apparently someone had handwritten “NO” above the “Don Jail Tours” sign…  Not terribly official looking, but better than nothing.

don valley

This was all we found on the Broadview side of the Don.   Way at the back of the parking lot, overlooking the Don Valley we found a couple of “limited capacity” signs laying on the ground.


This was the only notification the “outsiders” got.

I can’t understand why no announcement had been made to the people waiting patiently outside the fence.

Or why prominent “closed” signs weren’t displayed.

It’s not just the patrons who were turned away who suffered for these oversights, but it certainly wasn’t fair to all the volunteers who put in incredibly long hours.

Interestingly enough, when we went around the back of the building we discovered that tickets were being sold for the paid tours that would be held this summer.



I certainly hope that this was not just a publicity stunt to drum up business for the planned money making tours. It certainly makes me wonder though.