Electronic Frontier Canada
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Computers, Freedom, and Privacy 2000:
Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, APRIL 4-7
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.
Z99FM.COM is no longer online. Terms of the settlement are not public.
|``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|
``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
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
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.
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.
Local copies of some other CRTC submissions:
Public libraries should facilitate, rather than censor,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.
access to Internet
Please read EFC's recent press release for more details. This web page had been updated with recent newspaper articles and other relevant documents.
CryptoThe 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:
56-bit DES encryption can be cracked in 3 daysThe (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.
- U.S. Data-Scrambling Code Cracked With Homemade Equipment (New York Times, 17jul98)
- Code-breakers crack government-approved encryption standard (Associated Press, 17jul98)
- Fed Encryption Standard Exposed (Wired News, 17jul98)
- Group cracks crypto standard (CNet News, 17jul98)
- EFF Builds "DES Cracker" that proves that Data Encryption Standard is insecure (EFF press release, 17jul98)
Bill C-424 (licensing ISPs) is a cynical, political ployChris 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.
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.
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.
Please read EFC's statement on Canadian cryptography policy and let us know what you think. Send your comments, criticisms, and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org You can read more about cryptography in an article published this week in The Convergence.
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 (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,
Note: Finally, as of August 4th, 1997, the Nottinghamshire County Council has backed down. Score another victory for free speech on the Net.
|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.
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.
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.
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.
|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.|
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!
|Some proceeds from the
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.
Have you heard about iSTAR's recent decision to ban certain controversial newsgroups? Join EFC today!
|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.
Have you heard the rumour about the Canadian Library Association
plan for classifying books?
Apparently, it's a new book rating system,
modelled after television's highly successful
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
Please read more about the
and a related
and then tell us
what you think about this proposal.
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.
What does EFC think about German officials instructing
to block access to Ernst Zundel's web pages on a California computer?
Why does this remind us of
the many-headed serpent from Greek mythology?
Please read our Press Release:
Net Censorship Backfires
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.
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.
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
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".
In their March '95 issue,
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.
Chronicle of Freedom of Expression in Canada
has been compiled by
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
regarding possible additions.
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
Please send questions or comments you have about these Web pages to: