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Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Michael Harris observes that the Cons’ vote suppression tactics match the worst abuses we’d expect from the Tea Party: Stephen Harper would make a good governor of Arizona.

In addition to the lies and sleaziness his government has been serving up during its majority, its sickening reliance on marketing over truth, its dishonest use of technology in political matters, and its shameful abuse of language, the prime minister is blighting democracy in the name of political advantage.

When Stephen Harper gave Canada fixed elections dates, no one expected a whole lot more “fixing” (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Laura Ryckewaert looks in more detail at the continued lack of any privacy protection in the Unfair Elections Act. And Murray Dobbin is hopeful that the Cons’ blatant attempt to suppress voting rights will instead lead to a backlash among those who are intended to be excluded: (W)hatever the outcome, perhaps the best possible response of democracy activists would be to treat this loathsome piece of legislation as a useful crisis. This is exactly what leaders of the African-American and Latino communities have done in their fight against the blatant voter suppression efforts (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Sarah Ayres discusses the value of the social safety net as a matter of both social and economic policy: A significant body of evidence supports the view that, far from creating a so-called poverty trap, the safety net actually reduces poverty, increases economic mobility, and strengthens our national economy. Moreover, studies have shown that many antipoverty programs, especially those that target children, offer an excellent return on investment to taxpayers.…An analysis by the Council of Economic Advisers shows that when safety net programs are taken into account, the poverty rate actually fell from 26 percent in 1967 (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Yves Smith notes that a short-sighted focus on returns for shareholders generally represents a poor allocation of resources even on the level of a single corporation – while also pointing out what that mindset does when shared across the business sector: As the Occupy Wall Street movement correctly recognized, the concentration of income and wealth of the economic top “one percent” of society has left the rest of us largely high and dry. Corporate profits are increasingly going to share buybacks or dividend distribution, but very little is going back into research and (Read more…) Protect Our Privacy with our Letter to the Editor tool

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Highlight Link: Huffington Post: Bill C-13 would grant immunity to telecoms who hand over your private information without a warrant

It looks like the video we created with your support about the online spying bill C-13 has really been turning heads. Check out this piece about how Peter MacKay’s bill would grant immunity to telecoms who hand over your private information without a warrant.

read more The Globe and Mail: Inside CSEC’s new headquarters

How did CSEC officials describe their two-hour long conversation with the Globe and Mail? “Uncomfortable.” Colin Freeze takes a look into Canada’s ultra-secretive spy agency CSEC.

Article by Colin Freeze for the Globe and Mail

No cellphones, no recording devices, no computers.

No names.

The seven officials at the boardroom table insist that their identities cannot be published – the risk, one explains, is that they would become targets of a “hostile foreign intelligence service.”

read more How Canadian companies can fight surveillance

Canadian Internet Service Providers are eerily silent when it comes to information about whether or not they have assisted ultra-secretive spy agency CSEC with their surveillance of law-abiding Canadians. Jon Penney discusses what Canadian companies can do to help fight surveillance.

Article by Jon Penney for The Citizen Lab

The Communications Security Establishment’s surveillance practices raise significant privacy concerns but full answers, transparency, or substantive reforms ensuring democratic oversight from either CSEC, or the Canadian Government, are not likely forthcoming. Canadians should also care about what to do in the meantime. Professor Michael Geist has recently posted about what average (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: CSEC Exonerated

Mr Jean-Pierre Plouffe, CSEC watchdog, has determined that CSEC is off the hook,it did not direct any activity at Canadians or persons in Canada. He’s hanging his hat on the distinction between “collecting metadata” and “tracking Canadians”. I guess if CSEC activity isn’t “directed” at Canadians, then CSEC bears no responsibility if it just happens to capture data from Canadians by spying on…um…somebody in Canadian airports.

Ron Deibert, a cyber expert who wrote the book (literally) on cyber snooping says the ruling “makes a mockery of public accountability and oversight.”

Ms Cavoukian

Ontario’s privacy commissioner, the inimitable (Read more…) The Day We Fight Back

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Susan on the Soapbox: Forget “Angry Birds” Where are the Angry Canadians?

Saturday’s headline in Canada’s “newspaper of record”, The Globe and Mail, was not “Harper government caught spying on Canadians” but “Rob Ford admits jaywalking ticket in Vancouver”. Are you kidding me???

Let’s review the week, shall we?

Angry Birds

It started with Edward Snowden revealing that American and British spy agencies target smartphone applications like Angry Birds to capture the user’s personal information including his age, gender, location and sexual orientation. This information combined with the real time geo-tracking function made “leaky apps” irresistible to spy agencies.

Do terrorists play Angry Birds? Aren’t they mucking around (Read more…)

ParliamANT Hill: ParliamANT Hill 2014-01-31 17:20:00

Inspired by this headline:  CSEC used airport Wi-Fi to track Canadian travellers: Edward Snowden documents

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Leo Panitch reminds us that the term “reform” was once understood to represent efforts to bolster the public interest against unbridled market forces – and suggests it’s well past time to take the word back from the business interests who have turned it into just the opposite. 

- Paul Krugman comments on the twin myths of the undeserving poor and the deserving rich. And Sam Polk writes from experience about the mindset that drives money addicts to demand that others’ basic needs give way to their desire to accumulate: I’d always (Read more…) Toronto Star: Independent Investigation of CSIS oversight is needed

This hard-hitting piece by Professor Michael Geist argues for a full, independent investigation into CSEC’s spying activities. As Parliament is set to resume shortly, the time has come for MPs to take a far greater interest in what our security services are doing in our name.

Will 2014 be the year when our out-of-control spy agency is finally reined in? Call for an end to all illegal spying on Canadians at

Article by Michael Geist for the Toronto Star

Months of surveillance-related leaks from U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden have fuelled an international debate over privacy, spying, and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Michael Katz looks back at how the U.S. abandoned its poor – and how that choice continues to affect people across the income spectrum today. And Michael Valpy discusses how Canada can and should avoid travelling any further down the same path – with his “Big Four” ideas focusing on mandatory voting, proportional representation, a guaranteed basic income and protections for vulnerable workers.

- Jeffrey Simpson describes the Cons’ narrow focus on about 10 per cent of the Canadian electorate in the lead up to the next federal election, while Andrew Jackson (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Facebook Is the New AOL/Compuserve Big Brother

The evolution of the decay of Facebook privacy.

The late, great Neil Postman once wrote that we’d more likely voluntarily embrace the fascism of Huxley’s Brave New World than Orwell’s 1984. The corporate version of this is the crack-like addiction a billion people have to the Facebook.

But it’s worse than you thought, in terms of how they’re snooping on you.

Years ago, I wrote about how people left AOL, Compuserve and other full service “internet” portals when they learned that there was this huge real Internet thing out beyond their gated community. One of the ideas was that they (Read more…) The Ryan and Amy Show tackles surveillance issues with a catchy music video

Check out this great video by The Ryan and Amy Show. Do you always feel like somebody’s watching you too? You can learn more about Canada’s largest pro-privacy coalition at

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Left Over: Huffington Post: Big Brother is Unstoppable……

I don’t think I’m alone in this..I hate Facebook and the site has morphed into..a crassly capitalist commercial, 24/7…and after telling us that they would use whatever images we had foolishly uploaded for whatever purposes they deemed beneficial to them, and that our privacy was, essentially, at an end, I closed my accounts. That was at least two years ago, and don’t miss it, although I notice that all my ‘friends’ have lost track of my existence since then, despite the fact that there are numerous other ways to keep in touch online…which only reinforces the opinion that (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Harper’s new $1.2B CSEC spy complex “a waste of money”: ShitHarperDid

This is what ShitHarperDid activists had to say Wednesday during a peaceful protest against Harper’s $1.2B CSEC complex in Ottawa: “I SPY A WASTE OF MONEY”

The post Harper’s new $1.2B CSEC spy complex “a waste of money”: ShitHarperDid appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: Canada’s privacy czar questions Harper’s cyberbullying Bill C-13

Canada’s privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart says the Harper government’s new cyberbullying Bill C-13 lacks “accountability and reporting mechanisms to shed light on new investigative powers”.

The post Canada’s privacy czar questions Harper’s cyberbullying Bill C-13 appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: ShitHarperDid to execute “creative action” against Harper’s $1.2B CSEC spy castle

ShitHarperDid to execute a “creative action” at the site of the $1.2 billion “spy castle” Harper is building for the secretive spy agency CSEC in Ottawa.

The post ShitHarperDid to execute “creative action” against Harper’s $1.2B CSEC spy castle appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on what Saskatchewan can learn from some significant developments in privacy law in Manitoba and Alberta.

For further reading…- Paul Broad and Daniel Michaluk introduce Manitoba’s new private-sector legislation.- Alberta’s similar legislation is here, while the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision striking it down is here. In particular, see paragraphs 37-38: PIPA imposes restrictions on a union’s ability to communicate and persuade the public of its cause, impairing its ability to use one of its most effective bargaining strategies in the course of a lawful strike.  In our view, this infringement of the right (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Never Heard Of FATCA? You Should

Until recently, I had never heard of FATCA, in fact it was a program on CBC that brought it to my attention.

FATCA is seriously troubling for Canadians.  In theory, it should only affect people who have American citizenship.  But, the law itself has enormous implications for countries outside of the United States.

FATCA is so intrusive it often needs to be somehow incorporated into foreign countries’ legislation in order for the banks to be able to comply with it without breaking domestic laws (such as the ones that govern the release of confidential information). It isn’t clear yet (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Mother Jones’ Modest Proposal

Like me, you probably share that sinking feeling that privacy is gone for good, dead without so much as a fight.  If you want a reasonable degree of privacy any more you have to live self-sustainably in a cabin on a lake deep in the forest and hope you’re not outside when the satellite passes overhead snapping pictures.  If, on the other hand, you’re reading this, somewhere that’s being noted and added to everything else that has been noted about you including your utility bills, medical records and that last credit card statement.

 At times it seems our (Read more…)