Monday, February 20, 2012

Meanwhile, in Canada

The same government that considered the mandatory long form census so strong an invasion of privacy that it was worth destroying the continuity of the census data series is requiring ISPs to maintain extensive logs on users and to hand them over to police without warrants; ISPs are banned from telling customers of any government snooping unless given explicit permission by the police.

Tony Clement, back in 2010:
“It is not appropriate to compel citizens to divulge how many bedrooms they have in their houses, or what time they leave for work in the morning,” Clement said. “The government’s approach is about finding a better balance between collecting necessary data and protecting the privacy rights of Canadians.”
Vic Toews, Public Safety Minister, last week:
Critics of a bill that would give law enforcement new powers to access Canadians' electronic communications are aligning themselves with child pornographers, Canada's public safety minister says.

"He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers," Vic Toews said of Liberal public safety critic Francis Scarpaleggia during question period on Monday, after Scarpaleggia asked about a bill expected to be tabled Tuesday.
Odd that it's more of an intrusion to have to tell the government how many bedrooms you have than to #TellVicEverything about what sites you might be visiting while in the bedroom. Australia is no better.

Meanwhile, some Canadian universities will start letting IP folks trawl through faculty emails to see if anybody's sharing gated journal articles. I expect most folks at Toronto and Western to flip quickly over to Gmail. This while the #AAASmtg has been exploring the notion that research has been biased towards materials faculty can access; this adds a hurdle to research efforts for folks at smaller schools with less extensive online journal holdings. It would be interesting to see what bias was induced into paper citations by JSTOR's moving wall.

New Zealand is getting worse too. But it's getting worse slower than other places. Shame that the National government hasn't figured out that one of our comparative advantages is in freedom, and in particular tech freedom; we ought not have bent over so quickly when the FBI came calling for Kim DotCom. American tech folks looking for exit options have noticed...

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