Electronic Frontier Canada
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[gopher] For more information, please consult the EFC Gopher, our main archive.
The Searchable Index will help you find what interests you.
[email] We also have several mailing lists: efc-talk is a discussion list for current topics of interest; efc-announce has infrequent announcements or press releases. To join either list, just send a subscribe message to efc-talk-request@efc.ca and/or efc-announce-request@efc.ca.
[law] Our growing collection of legal information, which includes copies of legislation, court decisions, and other background documents, has been moved onto a separate Legal Resources Page.
[media] Be sure to see read about cyberspace issues that have been in the news recently by visiting our Media Archives.

Canada's new Privacy Law

The federal government recently enacted a new privacy law to help protect your personal information when it is collected and shared by companies. If you would like to learn more about this law, which comes into effect in January, 2001, please visit the following web page, maintained by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

[new 01mar00]


Computers, Freedom, and Privacy 2000:
Challenging Assumptions

Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, APRIL 4-7


[new 18feb00]


The (ahem) "Moral Support Group" in Cambridge Ontario is upset that the University of Waterloo recently lifted its ban on certain controversial Usenet newsgroups. Although the decision was ultimately made by UW president David Johnston, noted author, educator, legal scholar, and former chair of the federal government's Internet Highway Advisory Council, ... the MSG has decided to focus on outspoken free-speech advocate and EFC co-founder, Jeffrey Shallit.

A local Christian fundamentalist and rabble rouser, Erika Kubassek, has organized a protest calling for Jeffrey Shallit to be fired by the University. This just ain't gonna happen.

[new 15feb00]

Z99 FM in Regina

Parody or Defamation?

Z99FM.COM is no longer online. Terms of the settlement are not public.

[new 10dec99]

Debit-Card Fraud

``The entire debit-card system has been compromised''
Mel Young, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
``What are we going to do?''
Gene McLean, director of security, Canadian Bankers Association

[new 17may99]

CRTC decides not to regulate the Net

[new 23apr99]

Why Kids Kill

The first thing we need to do, ...
ban all black trench coats. (Not!)

``Since the kids they're supposed to be protecting know quite well that wearing trench coats, going online, or watching movies isn't dangerous in and of itself, mostly what educators and journalists end up demonstrating to kids is that they're clueless.''
-- Jon Katz

Why Kids Kill
by Jon Katz, Slashdot, (23apr99)

What Makes Kids Kill?
by Jon Katz, Hotwired, (04jun98)

``We don't need no education
  We don't need no thought control
  No dark sarcasm in the classroom        
  Teachers, leave those kids alone.''
-- Pink Floyd, The Wall

[new 20apr99]

Yes, the Rumour about a 5¢ Email Surcharge is a Hoax

Electronic Frontier Canada has received numerous inquiries about a rumour that there may soon be a new 5-cent surcharge on email. This was an April Fool's joke, so relax.
E-mail hoax travels the continent
Halifax Chronicle-Herald, June 13, 1999

Return to Sender: E-Mail Fee is a Hoax
Halifax Chronicle-Herald, March 28, 1999

[new 09feb99; updated 22apr99]

Privacy and E-Commerce:   Bill C-54

Please read EFC's most recent Press Release (22apr99) and our previous Press Release (14apr99) in support of Bill C-54.

EFC was recently invited to Ottawa to participate in hearings before the Parliamentary committee on Industry considering Bill C-54, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

[new 01aug98, updated 26nov98]

To Heck with the CRTC

EFC opposes CRTC regulation of the Net

You might be amused by our "Top Ten List" of changes Canadian would notice if the CRTC were to begin regulating the Net, that we presented to the CRTC at the "New Media" Hearings in Hull on Thursday, November 26, 1998.

[new 29jan98, updated 21may98]

Public libraries should facilitate, rather than censor,
access to Internet

In local communities across Canada, public libraries are finding themselves caught in the middle of a tug-of-war over access to the Internet. On the one hand, a few vocal parents want librarians to intervene and block access to what they consider "inappropriate content" that is available on the Internet. On the other hand, free speech advocates are concerned about censorship.

Please read EFC's recent press release for more details. This web page had been updated with recent newspaper articles and other relevant documents.

['Public Voice' Internet Conference]

[new 15sep98]

Cryptography is not a weapon

Electronic Frontier Canada, together with almost 50 human rights, civil liberties, consumer protection, and computer user groups in more than 15 countries that together comprise the Global Internet Liberty Campaign, have issued a joint statement calling for the recognition of the importance for cryptography for protecting the privacy of personal communication and the security of electronic commerce. We are urging our respective governments to stop treating cryptography as if it is an offensive military technology and to eliminate restrictions on manufacture, use, and distribution of strong encryption technology. Please read more about it in our letter to the Dept of Foreign Affairs and Int'l Trade and our recent press release.

[new 18feb98, updated 27apr98]


The Canadian federal government (through Industry Canada) is making important changes to Canada's policy on cryptography. Your privacy rights are at stake. Please read our recent press releases:
[EFC Golden Key - Strong Crypto] [EFC Supporter] [EFC Blue Ribbon - Free Speech Online]

[new 17jul98]

56-bit DES encryption can be cracked in 3 days

The (US) Electronic Frontier Foundation designed and built a machine for less than $250,000 that can successfully decipher messages encrypted using the 56-bit "Data Encryption Standard". For more info, please see the links below.

[new 11jun98; updated 16jul98]

Bill C-424 (licensing ISPs) is a cynical, political ploy

Chris Axworthy's latest private member's bill, C-424, is just a recycled version of his previous one, C-396, that failed to get any support. The new version of the bill calls for Internet Service Providers to be licensed by the CRTC, in order to protect us all from sex on the Net. Because of its many serious flaws, this bill will never become law. We thought this was just a cynical political ploy last time, and we think it's no different this time around.

[new 26feb98]

What's going on with Usenet in Manitoba??

The folks at the University of Manitoba and MBNet have apparently decided they own the wpg.* and man.* newsgroups and are exercising what many Manitobans believe is a rather authoritarian control over them: filtering our articles they deem inappropriate, such as ones posted from out of province, and refusing to propogate these newsgroups, even to some hosts within the province.

More detailed information will be posted, as it becomes available.

[new: 21aug97]

What's going on in the
West Edmonton Mall?

In what may be Canada's first domain name dispute to go to court, the West Edmonton Mall has been granted an interim injunction against Stuart Martin, preventing him from using his domain name, westedmontonmall.com. Here's what the press has had to say about it: 20aug97, 22aug97.

[new: 02aug97]

Can you keep a secret?
Canadian Crypto: True, Strong, Free

Please read EFC's statement on Canadian cryptography policy and let us know what you think. Send your comments, criticisms, and suggestions to djones@efc.ca You can read more about cryptography in an article published this week in The Convergence.

[new: 12jul97]

Mondex E-Cash Security: A House of Smart-Cards?

Mondex has already conceded that its electronic cash isn't really as private as they once claimed. Now critics are questioning whether their security is all it's cracked up to be. Do participating banks have any contingency plans for what Mondex calls its "meltdown scenario"?

Read more about Mondex in an article published in The Convergence.


The CDA is dead. Film at 11.

Thursday, June 26 -- The U.S. Supreme Court today struck down the Communications Decency Act. The full text of there decision is available online.

[Countdown to Supreme Court] "The (Communications Decency Act) is a content-based regulation of speech. The vagueness of such a regulation raises special First Amendment concerns because of its obvious chilling effect on free speech."

"The CDA, casting a far darker shadow over free speech, threatens to torch a large segment of the Internet community."

-- Justice John Paul Stevens,
writing for the majority

[new: 14jun97]

Language police target Québec web sites

Does your business have too much English on its Quebec web sites? If so, you're in trouble. For more details, please read our web page with information about the Quebec Language Police.

[new: 14jun97, updated 04aug97]

Naughty, naughty, Nottingham

Why is the County Solicitor for Nottinghamshire, England, sending threatening and intimidating letters to Jeremey Freeman of Penticton, British Columbia? If you're curious, please read more about Notthingham's Secret Shame.

Note: Finally, as of August 4th, 1997, the Nottinghamshire County Council has backed down. Score another victory for free speech on the Net.

[new: 02apr97, updated: 1jun97]

Should political opinion surveys on the web be be illegal in Canada?

News Item: Elections Canada is threatening 2 Internet Service Providers because of their intention to publish political opinion surveys on their web sites during the publication ban the government imposes during the final 72 hours of the federal election campaign. Find out more on our Elections Canada Information Page, and read the nasty letter received by Online Direct.

[new: 02apr97, updated: 31may97]

Should anonymous political web pages be illegal in Canada?

[Yahoo! Pick of the Week] News Item: There are now 52 mirror sites of the "Vote Green!" web page, in 14 countries, plus a new anonymous "Vote NDP!" web page, with 11 mirror sites of its own. Will there be more?

The Commissioner of Canada Elections sent a letter informing the apparent author of an anonymous political web page that he is breaking the law, and instructing him to comply with the Canada Elections Act, with the implication that if he doesn't, he'll be charged with an offence and face a fine of up to $1,000 or up to a year in jail.

Elections Canada is regulating political speech on the Net. If you publish web pages that endorse or criticize candidate or parties, you must identify yourself and disclose your political affiliations, or else you will be prosecuted. Please take a look at our recent press release and our Elections Canada information page and let us know what you think.

[new: 23apr97]

Civil Liberties organizations protest German Compuserve action

Electronic Frontier Canada is joining together with a coalition of international civil liberties organizations to protest the German prosecution of Compuserve managing director, Felix Somm, in connection with the alleged distribution of pornorgaphy and violent games over the Internet. Please read our recent joint press release.

[new: 08apr97, updated: 23apr97]

Bill C-396 - an Act to license ISPs in Canada

[License This!]
This is not some kind of goofy April Fool's joke. This is a genuine private member's bill (Chris Axworthy, NDP, Saskatoon). With the federal election on the horizon it is extremely unlikely this bill will become law, but we still think this bill exhibits a remarkable disregard for freedom of expression on the Internet. It calls for ISPs to be licensed, and allows for the Minister of Justice to instruct ISPs to block access to sites the government doesn't like. Failure to comply will result in a jail term. Please read our recent press release and read the text of Bill C-396 and let us know what you think.

[new: 09apr97]

Mondex - Private? Anonymous? Fully Auditable?

Mondex is an electronic payment system, based on smart-cards, that is currently the subject of a pilot study in Guelph, Ontario. The electronic transaction records it keeps have raised privacy concerns. Please take a look at our Mondex information page and let us know what you think.

[new: 26mar97, updated 28mar97]

Canadian Web Sites to be Licensed?

[web license] Hey Webmaster! Have you got your Internet License yet? You'd better read this recent announcement from the Canadian Internet Licensing Board.

[new: 19mar97]

Free speech battle in U.S. Supreme Court

Countdown to Supreme Court There's a battle unfolding in the U.S. Supreme Court over the Communications Decency Act. It's being described as the first free speech case for the 21st century. We've gathered together a hotlist of CDA-related web sites you can visit to stay in touch with the proceedings as they develop. Oral arguments were presented March 19th. A decision is expected by July. Reno v. A
CLU: The CDA on Trial

[new: 10feb97]
Internet in the Classroom

Should Internet connections used by students in the classroom be free from government censorship? We think so. To find out more, please read our recent press release and letter to Ontario's Education Minister, John Snobelen.

[new 22nov96, updated 24nov96]

Federal Commission seeks to regulate Internet
Despite two years ago admitting it had no jurisdiction over the Internet, and no jurisdiction outside Canada, the Canadian Human Rights Commission is now taking steps to shut down Ernst Zundel's web site, which is based in southern California. As we learn more details, we'll add them to our summary.

[new 08nov96, updated 14nov96]

IGS censors web page
Ottawa-area ISP, Information Gateway Services, decided to pull the plug on a controversial web page published by one of its customers. We think they made a real mess of the situation by acting precipitously and issuing a press release denouncing their customer as being a criminal, guilty of publishing hate propaganda, and citing police as concurring. An Ottawa Citizen article quotes the investigating police officer as saying the material doesn't fit the Criminal Code definition of hate propaganda. -- oops! -- For more information, please read our recent press release (14nov96).

[new 15oct96, 15jan97]

Electronic surveillance of innocent people ... one step closer

The controversial new Bill C-55 has already passed second reading (Oct 7th, '96). This is the law that would allow the court to order a person to wear an electronic surveillance bracelet so they can be monitored by police for up to 1 year, even if they've never committed a crime.

Read the controversial section of Bill C-55 for yourself, along with several related newspaper articles. If you agree with us, and think this law is blatantly unconstitional, we urge you to contact your Member of Parliament without delay.

[new 25jul96, updated 01aug96]

Will the government of British Columbia regulate the Internet
in an attempt to control the flow of hate propaganda?

Read EFC's recent Press Releases and find out!

[Eden Musicfest] Some proceeds from the Eden Musicfest will benefit Electronic Frontier Canada: Three days of fun in the sun, live alternative music, highlights to be cybercast live over the Internet. Isn't this what freedom of expression is all about?!

The Eden MusicFest just finished! (July 12-14). We hope you visited the Live CyberCast!

We've now got some brief reports on EFC @ EDEN if you want to read about this exciting event.

[new 03jul96, updated 31jul96]

Have you heard about iSTAR's recent decision to ban certain controversial newsgroups? Join EFC today!

Free speech court decision Three judges of the US District Court in Pennsylvania decided on June 12th that certain provisions of the the American Communications Decency Act which prohibit `indecency' on the Internet are an unconstitutional infringement on the right to free speech. They issued a preliminary injunction preventing the US Attorney General from ``enforcing, prosecuting, investigating, or reviewing any matter premised upon'' certain sections of the Communications Decency Act. This decision paves the way for the US Supreme Court to overturn the law. Please visit this link for more information.

Have you heard about the Edmonton's ``Fruitabomber'' ?! Who's to blame?

``The Real Meaning of Free Speech in Cyberspace''
Please read Jeffrey Shallit's recent speech and learn how
cyberspace is being treated like a second class medium.

Cyberspace Charter Challenge: When the police put you and your computer under electronic surveillance, without prior judicial authorization, is that a violation of your Charter Right not to be subject to unreasonable search and seizure? Some BBS sysops think so, and their lawyer presented his argument in a Québec court on Feb 15th. A ruling was given May 3rd.

[barcode] Have you heard the rumour about the Canadian Library Association endorsing the V-barcode plan for classifying books? Apparently, it's a new book rating system, modelled after television's highly successful V-chip. It's been dubbed the V-barcode, because each book will have a machine-readable "barcode" on the spine that encodes a rating of the book's contents on several scales: sex, violence, coarse language, drug use, religion, and `alternative lifestyles'. Please read more about the V-barcode and a related telephone interview, and then tell us what you think about this proposal.

[black thursday] It was Freedom to Read Week in Canada recently (Feb 26 - March 3). EFC encourages you to take a moment and visit the Black Thursday Machine, to see what the 'Net might look like if you suddenly lost your Freedom to Read in Cyberspace.

[Zundelsite] What does EFC think about German officials instructing Deutsche Telekom to block access to Ernst Zundel's web pages on a California computer? Why does this remind us of Hydra, the many-headed serpent from Greek mythology? Please read our Press Release: Net Censorship Backfires (01feb96)

[compuserve censorship] We were concerned about CompuServe's decision, on December 22, 1995, to block access to hundreds of Usenet newsgroups. We urged customers to let CompuServe know what they think of the move, and we urged CompuServe to modify its software to suit the needs of some other countries, without unreasonably limiting access to information for Canadians. On February 13, 1996, we were pleased to learn that CompuServe restored access to almost all the banned newsgroups. CompuServe currently provides access to 13,880 Usenet newsgroups.

[the net] We successfully opposed Bell Canada's application for a trademark on the phrase, ``The Net'', in relation to computer communications and messaging services. The basis of our opposition is that for quite some time, ``The Net'' has been used as a common and generic term for the Internet or cyberspace.

[symposium] EFC members may want to read more about an EFC-sponsored Symposium titled Free Speech and Privacy in the Information Age (held November 26, 1994). The keynote address was given by the Honourable Mr. Justice John Sopinka of the Supreme Court of Canada. His talk was entitled "Freedom of Speech and the Protection of Privacy under the *Charter* in the Information Age".

[maple leaf] In their March '95 issue, Wired Magazine carried a well-written article about Canada's Thought Police. It documents the impact of Canada's vague pornography laws on operators of computer bulletins boards.

[censorship] The Chronicle of Freedom of Expression in Canada has been compiled by Sandra Bernstein on behalf of the Periodical Writers Association of Canada and the Book and Periodical Council, in collaboration with Electronic Frontier Canada. It's still being updated, so please feel free to send email regarding possible additions.

[pgp] Here are a few links to cryptography resources on the net if you'd like to learn more about PGP -- public-key encryption software that can be used to send private e-mail.

We have a small collection of assorted documents you might like to browse.

We also have a growing list of

[pencil] Please send questions or comments you have about these Web pages to: efc-web@efc.ca

Copyright © 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 Electronic Frontier Canada, Inc. All Rights Reserved.