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What is Bill C-51 about?

Have you been wondering what Bill C-51, the Anti-terrorism Act 2015, is about?

Here's a two minute guide.

The Free Software movement reaches thirty years, why is it so important?

Free as in freedom book coverThirty years ago in September 1983 Richard Stallman launched the campaign for freedom in computing, for software to be free. He is the founder and president of the Free Software Foundation (, pioneer of the concept of copyleft and the main author of the GNU General Public License, the most widely used free software license.

He writes, "Non-free software makes users surrender control over their computing to someone else, but now there is another way to lose it: Service as a Software Substitute, or SaaSS, which means letting someone else’s server do your own computing activities. Both non-free software and SaaSS can spy on the user, shackle the user, and even attack the user."

US Federal Judge finds Google's Gmail scanning might violate wiretap law

Gmail scanningSome patients and others have noticed when dealing with an MVA claim they start seeing more ads for lawyers when they are browsing the Internet making them wonder if someone is scanning their email.

Wired magazine reported on this week's decision in a proposed class-action alleging Google wiretaps Gmail as part of its business model.

"A federal judge today found that Google may have breached federal and California wiretapping laws for machine-scanning Gmail messages as part of its business model to create user profiles and provide targeted advertising. ...

"The decision is also a blow to Yahoo, whose free email platform with more than 300 million users also scans email to deliver ads. Microsoft’s rebranded free Outlook webmail offering does not scan messages of its 400 million users.

Fix released: Is Android phone intermittently sending SMS messages to wrong contact?

Addendum: On 2011-01-22 Android announced a fix is being rolled out and patches are available, click here for details.

It is hard to know what level of concern one should have regarding posts on the Internet about Android phones having a bug such that text messages are sent to the wrong and random contact.

Twitter agrees to settlement with FTC over privacy charges

The settlement between Twitter and the US Federal Trade Commission over charges that customers privacy was put at risk hit the news this past week.  The settlement may have wide reaching implications.

David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said, “When a company promises consumers that their personal information is secure, it must live up to that promise.”  And if a company allows consumers to designate their information as private, it must use reasonable security to support that designation, he said.

BC Auditor General issues report on Electronic Health Record (EHR) Implementation.

Health professionals not effectively or adequately engaged.

Approach should ensure health professionals, stakeholders and the public are informed.

BC Auditor General, EHR implementation in BCOn February 17, 2010 the Auditor General of BC, John Doyle, issued his report on “Electronic Health Record Implementation in British Columbia” which is available on their website

In his report, the BC Auditor General, acknowledges “The development and implementation of an EHR system … is a complex and high-risk endeavour … because of the large investment of public funds” and “because collecting, storing and disclosing information electronically raises concerns about the privacy and security of personal health information”.

Concerns about the privacy and security of personal health information is not covered to any great extent in the BC Auditor General’s report.  However, several issues have been reported on by the BC Commissioner of Privacy and individual orders are available on their website,  The BC Civil Liberties Association also provides information and discussion on eHealth issues on their website,

BC is one of five Provincial Auditor General Offices that will issue separate reports for their jurisdictions and the Office of the Auditor General of Canada will be issuing a joint summary report in April 2010.

There’s more in the full report than contained in the news release and Executive summary.  Here are some key highlights.

New Palm Pre sends data to Palm every day

This news feed from today about the new Palm Pre smart phone may be of interest to those who want to know about intrusions to their privacy.

Palm Pre users watch out. Palm may know a lot more about you than you would like to share.

International Jurists say human rights undermined by measures using fear of terror

The following article appeared on the BBC News in February 2009.

The article begins:

"Anti-terror tactics 'weaken law'

Anti-terror measures worldwide have seriously undermined international human rights law, a report by legal experts says.

After a three-year global study, the International Commission of Jurists said many states used the public's fear of terrorism to introduce measures.

These included detention without trial, illegal disappearance and torture.

Health Records and Privacy (Humour?)

If you haven't already seen this, here is a somewhat humorous piece from the American Civil Liberties Union

You can also check out their home page for other interesting news stories,

Government moving to access personal info, sparking privacy fears

FYI, here is a CBC news item from September 12, 2007.

Government moving to access personal info, sparking privacy fears

Some readers may recall this is not a new Government initiative and has been previously referred to as "lawful access".

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