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Harper Government Rejects Supreme Court Privacy Decision

ndrwrld

TRIBE Member
Having had the benefit of a few days to consider the implications of the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Spencer, the Senate last night proceeded to ignore the court and pass Bill S-4, the Digital Privacy Act, unchanged. The bill extends the ability to disclose subscriber information without a warrant from law enforcement to any private sector organizations by including a provision that allows organizations to disclose personal information without consent (and without a court order) to any organization that is investigating a contractual breach or possible violation of any law. Given the Spencer decision, it seems unlikely that organizations will voluntarily disclose such information as they would face the prospect of complaints for violations of PIPEDA.

Despite a strong ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada that explicitly rejected the very foundation of the government's arguments for voluntary warrantless disclosure, the government's response is "the decision has no effect whatsoever on Bill S-4."

As I posted yesterday, the government had argued in committee that:

In the instance of PIPEDA, because of the type of information provided in a pre‑warrant phase such as basic subscriber information, it would be consistent with privacy expectations and therefore it's not really putting telecoms, for example, in some unique position in terms of police investigations.

The Supreme Court of Canada rejected this view, concluding that:

there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in the subscriber information. The disclosure of this information will often amount to the identification of a user with intimate or sensitive activities being carried out online, usually on the understanding that these activities would be anonymous.

That cannot be credibly described as "no effect whatsoever." Indeed, the government's recently appointed Privacy Commissioner also pointed to Spencer and urged the government to consider the implications on S-4.

In another post yesterday on the future of C-13 and S-4, I lamented that the "government could adopt the 'bury our heads in the sand approach' by leaving the provisions unchanged, knowing that they will be unused or subject to challenge." I argued that a better approach would be to address the issue directly, providing certainty to businesses and Canadians.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given its recent track record on privacy, it has chosen the head in the sand approach. During debate at the Senate yesterday, Conservative Senators repeatedly argued that Bill S-4 actually strengthens privacy, despite the fact that it opens the door to warrantless voluntary disclosure to any organization (it also enshrines weak data breach rules that do not provide protection as strong as that found in some other jurisdictions). Moreover, they tried to distinguish Spencer by arguing that it involves a criminal investigation disclosure to police, while the S-4 expansion of warrantless disclosure involves disclosures to private organizations.

Yet the principle is obviously the same: there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in subscriber information that should not be disclosed without a warrant or court order. No organization should be disclosing that information and when they do, they are likely to face a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada for violating PIPEDA. By leaving S-4 unchanged, the government is encouraging voluntary disclosures even after the Supreme Court explicitly ruled against them.

While the bill must still pass through the House of Commons, the government's decision to rush the legislation through the Senate (it conducted only a few hours of hearings) and to seemingly ignore the Supreme Court's decision creates further uncertainty for Canadians and Canadian businesses. Everyone needs rules that comply with the letter and spirit of the Spencer decision, which Bill S-4 fails to do on both counts.

Michael Geist - Government Rejects Supreme Court Privacy Decision: Claims Ruling Has No Effect on Privacy Reform

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/06/17/bill-s4-passes-senate_n_5503907.html

This is unfuckingbelievable.
 
I read the above post. Can you give me an example of how this sucks for the average canadian?
Basically anyone that has downloaded music/movies/tv shows - the companies that broadcast/produce/distribute the media can ask for the downloaders information and sue them in a similar way that they do in the U.S. Without a warrant. All those peeps that d/l Game of Thrones episodes would be a treasure trove to the copyright trolls that call themselves a legitimate protector of said media.

No oversight, no accountability.

One of the Biggest American Copyright Enforcers Is Coming to Threaten Canadians | VICE Canada
 
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ndrwrld

TRIBE Member
The bill extends the ability to disclose subscriber information without a warrant from law enforcement to any private sector organizations by including a provision that allows organizations to disclose personal information without consent (and without a court order) to any organization that is investigating a contractual breach or possible violation of any law.

That's why.

Also, it's another instance where Harper refuses to listen to experts ( Keystone ), let alone the Supreme Court. He's tearing this country apart, doesn't give a fuck about Canadians, and he could care less, as long as the Oil flows.
 

Jeffsus

TRIBE Member
For christ's sake, how much longer are we going to allow this power-tripper to remain in power?

-jM
A&D
 
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Lojack

TRIBE Member
Conservative, Liberal, NDP or Green.

Doesn't matter man, once they are in power, they all fall into line.
 

Sal De Ban

TRIBE Member
This is interesting. From a legal standpoint, I'm still not sure how a company is supposed to prove that you, personally, illegally downloaded something - that it wasn't someone else using your computer (or internet connection) - and that you are indeed in possession of illegally downloaded material. Unless you had the actual hard drive of that individual, and witnesses that saw them personally click a button, you couldn't have much of a case.

"You stole my car. I don't know where it is, I didn't see you take it, but I'm going to sue you."

Other than the tactic of 'menacing' an individual into settling out of court under these circumstances - I don't see how companies can win cases like these in court.
 

Maui

TRIBE Member
Yeah, I'm renting a room in Waterloo for when I'm up that way and there are 8 students living in the house all sharing the connection. Different folks are constantly moving in and out. The landlord is the subscriber and is not even using the net there.

Another friend I have who works from home doing tech support can not have a password protected modem so he leaves it open and anyone could be connecting in the neighbourhood.
 

Maui

TRIBE Member
Other than the tactic of 'menacing' an individual into settling out of court under these circumstances - I don't see how companies can win cases like these in court.
It might be a good idea to keep a sealed glass jar of gasoline, a mini hammer, and a lighter beside your hard drive, just in case you see some over dressed individuals creeping on your lawn.
 
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ndrwrld

TRIBE Member
i've been staying at the Radisson in Kitchener the past few days for work.
i noticed several serious looking security type folks about the hotel.
at the end of my stay, i counted 14. all with side arms.
Stephen Harper was the dignitary.
His Caddy limo was bulletproof, and the accompanying SUV's were serious business.

fuck him.
 
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