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Massive online surveillance

By Yves Faguy
January 28, 2015 at 09:49AM Le 28 January 2015 à 09:49AM

The Intercept and CBC are reporting that documents obtained by Edward Snowden show that Canada’s Communications Security Agency (CSE) would track millions of uploads and downloads daily from various popular websites (including the now defunct file-sharing website MegaUpload) , as part of an effort “to identify extremists” engaged in the pursuit of terrorist activities. These practices, it would appear, amount to warrantless searches:

LEVITATION does not rely on cooperation from any of the file-sharing companies. A separate secret CSE operation codenamed ATOMIC BANJO obtains the data directly from internet cables that it has tapped into, and the agency then sifts out the unique IP address of each computer that downloaded files from the targeted websites.

Here’s an explanation from Torrent Freak why the monitoring of file-hosting sites is a big deal.

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Balancing act: Keeping brain and body on an even keel

By Kim Covert
January 27, 2015 at 13:32PM Le 27 January 2015 à 13:32PM

The mind and body create a delicate equilibrium – when one is out of joint, chances are the other one suffers.

CBA member Angela Rinaldis knows this all too well. When she was in law school she weighed around 80 pounds, her body wracked by anorexia nervosa. Anorexia is not simply a desire to be thin, it is a form of mental illness that, according to a report prepared by the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, “significantly impairs physical health or psychosocial functioning.”

It’s a disease that affects as many as 600,000 Canadians at any given time, men and women, and kills an estimated 1,000-1,500 a year – a number considered low because not every case of the disease is documented, and not every death it causes is directly attributable to it.

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The right to bargain collectively

By Yves Faguy
January 19, 2015 at 16:34PM Le 19 January 2015 à 16:34PM

In Mounted Police Association of Ontario v. Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that members of the RCMP have the right to bargain collectively under Section 2(d) of the Charter, though that doesn’t necessarily give them the right to unionize. David Doorey explains…

The SCC concludes that a meaningful process of collective bargaining “is a process that provides employees with a degree of choice and independence sufficient to enable them to determine their collective interests and meaningfully pursue them.”  Employee choice includes the right to form, join, direct, and dissolve their associations and choose their representatives.  Independence means a process that is not dominated by management.  A process in which workers have only the ability to choose among options put to them by their employer is not one with independence.  

… and then wonders where the Court is headed with its line of reasoning.

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Cyber attacks, as viewed by the FBI

By Yves Faguy
January 16, 2015 at 10:42AM Le 16 January 2015 à 10:42AM

From a speech delivered by FBI Director James Comey at Fordham University last week:

I harken back to what I believe was the great vector change that gave birth to the FBI. And this popped in my head when I was visiting the field office that we have in Indianapolis. A local sheriff gave me a round that had been fired from John Dillinger’s Thompson submachine gun. It occurred to me that the great vector change of the 1920’s into the 1930’s was the confluence of the automobile and asphalt. It gave birth to an entirely new way of doing bad things.

Suddenly criminals could move at breathtaking speeds, right? Forty miles an hour. Fifty downhill. Right? They could go from Ohio to Indiana to Illinois in the same day and do bank robberies in each of those locations. They were blowing away traditional notions of county line and state line. Right? It was straining the framework that law enforcement used and so a national force was needed and there was—I’m the seventh director—there was the first director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover. And a national force was born to respond to that entirely new way of crimes being committed. A new vector that required a new approach.

This is that times a million. Dillinger or Bonnie and Clyde could not do a thousand robberies in all 50 states in the same day from their pajamas from Belarus. That’s the challenge we face today. The traditional notions of space and time and venue and border and my jurisdiction and your jurisdiction are blown away by a threat that moves not at 40 miles an hour or 50 downhill, but at 186,000 miles per second. The speed of light.

Traditional notions, frameworks, are destroyed by that kind of threat. That requires every part of the FBI, those who are spending their days protecting kids, fighting fraud, fighting spies, fighting terrorism, protecting intellectual property, all of those things; it requires those people to be digitally literate. It requires me to have the right kind of people, the right kind of equipment and deploy them in a way that deals with a vector change that is mind boggling compared to the Dillinger era.

Read the whole thing here.

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When pigs fly, and other limits on free speech

By Kim Covert
January 15, 2015 at 13:21PM Le 15 January 2015 à 13:21PM

When pigs fly will international educational publishers announce the miraculous event?

This week it was reported that Oxford University Press has asked one author to avoid mentioning anything pig-related in a book for young people. According to author Eleanor Updale’s husband James McNaughtie, a BBC presenter, “Among the things prohibited in the text that was commissioned by OUP was the following; ‘Pigs, plus anything else which could be perceived as pork.'”

Sausages, supposedly, or bacon.

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