How you fight back…in Canada!

Today is the day we fight back! In Canada, this means bugging your MP:

Find your MP based on your postal code

Basically, you should write your MP and let them know that what CSIS, CSEC, the RCMP and CBSA are doing is not OK, and that it’s never OK to engage in spying to benefit Canadian companies, and that it’s not OK to massively collect data from the Internet from Canadians to build an Analytical Model, since all that model will be targeting is Canadians.

Paroxysms Update

Hey

In the next week or so, I will be migrating Paroxysms from WordPress to Jekyll. This sadly means that comments will be disabled and most likely lost. The reason for doing this is to reduce the number of services required to host paroxysms. The same thing will most likely be happening to PROFUNC as well.

As usual, you can get a hold of me via e-mail at bowserj@paroxysms.ca. I apologize for the inconvenience that this may cause.

I’ll have a 2013 in review post up, however since I haven’t been active in 2013, I don’t expect there to be a lot to report back on.

State of the Paroxysms

Update: I’m not going to be pulling the plug on the blog, but there will be many changes. I will start on trying to make paroxysms.ca more searchable, and there may be some breakages in the interim to make the site better. I’m still not happy with the site as is, and I think certain aspects can be improved.

Today is a day that I never thought would come. At the end of August, I will be pulling the plug on paroxysms.ca in its current form and I will be working on making it a searchable documents archive only. While wordpress is good for a blog, it’s not good for document discoverability, and the main draw of paroxysms is the documents.

This means that all the links will break on Vancouver Media Coop. That being said, since the 403 will re-direct to the page containing all the documents, I don’t consider this an absolutely terrible thing. The main reason that I’m doing this is because this site is getting super crusty and I need to do a full remake of the site so that it’s cheaper and more efficient to run.

I will also be pulling the plug on profunc.ca. I haven’t updated profunc in years, and profunc.ca will redirect to a section on paroxysms.ca. I plan to have these changes done by September at the very latest.

Astroturf: Countering the claims of Canada’s Big Telcos

I despise the big three telcos.  For years, they have subjected consumers in Canada to outrageous prices in order to maximize what they call Average Revenue Per Unit, or ARPU (pronounced Ar-Poo).  Whenever I hear some telco person talk about their ARPU, I think that I want to shove a big fist-full of our poo right in their faces!

The thing is that the Canadian Government has created a telecom tri-opoly in Canada by providing continuous subsidies to the various telephone companies throughout the years, and has failed to stop clearly harmful practices.  For example, the purchase of Microcell Solutions by Rogers Wireless was probably the worst thing to have ever happened to Canadian Wireless, since this ended innovative plans such as CityFido and set things back at least a decade.

There were steps to change this, but the problem is that they failed out of the gate.  The spectrum for new entrants was a failure because of multiple reasons:

  • Infrastructure was too expensive to build – This meant that WIND and Moblicity got a reputation as being a ghetto, cheap carrier that wasn’t worth buying because it didn’t work outside of major centers
  • Rogers and Telus engaged in predatory business practices by creating Chat-R and Koodo
  • Certain new entrants didn’t actually build a network: Shaw bought the spectrum only to re-sell it to Rogers at a later time.  This was clearly some cynical arbitage and Shaw shouldn’t have been allowed to do this.

At any rate, due to the fact that Canadians still have the highest cellular phone bills in the world, it’s clear that the government wants to do something about this.  Of course, since this is the Conservative Government, instead of breaking up the telcos, they’re trying to get foreign competition to come in.  Of course, the telcos don’t want this, so they set up this astroturf group, Fair For Canada.

Fair for Canada seems to be targeting Verizon, who wants to enter the Canadian market. Personally, I think that Verizon doesn’t have a hope in hell, since they use CDMA-based tech, and Canada has almost entirely converted to GSM-based tech, and the LTE convergence still hasn’t happened. However, Verizon does have the deep pockets WIND and Moblicity doesn’t have and can actually compete.

Now, Fair for Canada does have some points, but two of their points, the “Ensuring Canadian Jobs” and “Protecting Canadians’ Privacy” is absolutely bullshit. The only time the big three telcos push back against things like lawful access, it’s only because of the cost of the equipment. It’s clear that they’re trying to use the recent NSA news to their advantage. To pull from their website:

Who do you want to own your private data?

Across the country, Canadians use their wireless devices to make calls, send text messages and emails, and browse the internet every day. That information should be safe, secure, and private.

Will American companies say no to requests from U.S. government agencies, for customers’ personal data?

Canadian wireless providers have a solid track record of protecting your data in compliance with Canadian laws. But what will happen with regard to the data of Canadians in the hands of foreign-owned wireless carriers? What laws will regulate the protection of your information? This is not a trivial issue. It is one that should be of concern to all Canadians.

Now, in reality, we know that Bell during the Olympics just pulled terabytes of data from their network for Botnet Analysis just because they could, and then decided to try and defend this as legal because they owned the network.  I don’t trust Bell with a fucking Ham Sandwich, let alone a data network, and I don’t think that anyone else should either.  That should go for the other two major networks, Rogers and Telus.  Now, just to be fair, and to prove that I’m not picking on Bell, I’m going to look at this claim:

Together, Canada’s wireless companies support 280,000 jobs in communities across Canada.

Giving giant foreign corporations preferential treatment will result in job losses for Canadians.

Since they don’t have any requirements for Canadian job-creation or a true requirement to invest in Canadian infrastructure, American wireless giants have no incentive to bring high-skilled jobs to Canada.

The Government of Canada has a responsibility to protect Canadian jobs. By allowing a giant foreign wireless company to compete unfairly, they are driving jobs south of the border instead.

Wait, when did these people give a flying fuck about their workers? We know that Telus outsources their call centers to the Phillipines, and there is also the bitter strike that saw Telus violate Network Neutrality in the worst way possible, as well as Telus hiring surveillance and union busters. So, yeah, Telus at least, doesn’t give a shit about Canadian jobs.

Now, it seems that Rogers is getting off without me paying attention to them. This is definitely not the case. Here’s their third point, which hits the main Rogers weakness, Northern Communities:

Canadians enjoy some of the world’s best, most reliable wireless networks.

This is no accident. Our wireless carriers invested over $22 billion over the past decade on new network infrastructure. This commitment ensures that 99% of Canadians have access to 4G networks. And they are on pace to deliver best-in-class 4G LTE coverage to 75% of Canadians by the end of 2013.

By imposing only minimal coverage obligations on new entrants, the government’s wireless spectrum auction rules show little concern for rural and remote communities. This spells disaster for truly “national” coverage.

This is bullshit. Rogers didn’t care about providing rural communities with Internet when they killed the Portable Internet that was offered by Fido as part of their Inukshuk Wireless subsidiary. Nationwide Coverage is clearly the main weakness of Rogers, in fact getting a signal half the time is a major weakness of Rogers.

The fact is that this is all bullshit astroturf. Hearing the big three make arguments of privacy and labour groups for their own interests is pretty rich given how fast they piss these things away. I would have much prefered that the government break up Rogers, Telus and Bell, but this weird protectionism isn’t helping anyone, and Fair for Canada is just feeding everyone horseshit.

New Release: OccupyVancouver and Stephen Harper

Even though I’ve mostly stopped working on ATIP, I still have a series of ATIP requests pending and I finally got some files regarding OccupyVancouver’s protest at Science World. This event was a rather small event, and it was interesting to see the full security detail.

The documents go in detail about Holly Hendrigan and the damage to her bicycle, as well as print-outs from a blog of a person who is mostly known for harassing Occupy Vancouver. There were some comments about how protective services couldn’t sort between families attending Science World. These docs are generally pretty predictable and boring, but in the interests of transparency, they’re included here.

For anyone who is permalinking to these documents, I’m going to be changing up the back-end so that it’s easier to host documents and is less expensive to host. This site won’t be going away, but there may be broken links from VMC. I personally hate it when links break, but at least the docs will still be available.

Click here to download the file.

Why S7 MUST be stopped

For the past couple of years, the Senate, you know, that appointed body of people who are either retired politicians or people who couldn’t get elected to office, worked on an Anti-Terrorism Bill. The bill has a list of goodies for the RCMP and local police, but here are the two worst things that it has:

  • Pre-emptive Arrest: The police can arrest you and hold you for 72 hours because of mere suspicion. It’s arguable that the police can already do that, but now they need even less evidence to do so.
  • Imprisonment for up to 12 months for refusing to testify during an investigative hearing

The second one should sound familiar, because it is. Remember what happened to Matt Duran, Maddy Pfeiffer and Kteeo Olejnik? Now the witch-hunts can happen north of the border as well. This means that I can face a year in prison for not cooperating with an investigative hearing. If they can come for me, they can come for you just for having that one weird friend. I know that once S7 passes, I’m going to have a to get an emergency “Joe’s going to jail for no fucking good reason” account going because if I’m asked to testify, I’d rather go to jail for the 12 months than tell the state even the most mundane shit. The fact is that the state shouldn’t be able to go on fishing expeditions and this new power in this Anti-Terrorism legislation allows them to do so in Canada.

What is the status of Bill S-7?

Bill S-7 is out of the senate, and is now in the House of Commons. Not only that, this has passed the second reading of the House of Commons, which means that only one more vote by the House of Commons will make this thing a law. This is kind of the reverse of the usual parliamentary process since this was a bill that was written up by unelected officials who were appointed by Stephen Harper and other past Prime Ministers. This is also why both the Liberal Party of Canada and the Conservative Party support this bill. The likelihood of this bill going into law is really good.

S7 in Committee: Reading Committee Minutes is HARD

It seems that the committee is talking a lot about September 11th, Air India and the Toronto 18 and that this is done with a certain type of terrorist in mind. I have to say that the NDP really did a good job on this committee, and that’s why they’re voting against this legislation. They have been asking the questions that I would have asked, and I find it strange that the Liberal Party of Canada is mostly silent and useless on this. They pressed on the Beyond the Border program, Exit Visas and other issues. The Civil Libertarians that came before the committee did get their point across, but it seemed like the Conservatives were constantly trying to pit them against the victims of terrorism as if it was a zero sum game between the two. The fact of the matter is that it should never be a zero-sum game.

Also, I agree with the Canadian Bar Association about the worth of a law to compel people to testify. This is an excellent reality check when you look at actual terrorism versus what the state calls terrorism. While I don’t see this making the public any safer from terrorist attacks from those that committed the Boston Marathon, I do see this as making the government able to silence critics by throwing them in jail for not wanting to testify against their associates.

The number one cop-out that the government has is the reasonable limits clause, which is basically what the government uses when they create these bullshit laws. They say that because there is terrorism, it’s reasonable to pre-emptively arrest someone based on their political beliefs, or based on what they were doing in another country, whether or not it’s terrorism. For example, do my trips to Chaos Communications Congress and Chaos Communications Camp count as terrorist training? It seemed to back when I was under surveillance by the RCMP during the Olympics. When the word terrorism means nothing, and when the government tries to use that term to cover movements like Idle No More and the environmental movement as a whole, we’re going to be in a really serious police state rather quickly.

I feel that we should have mobilized against this bill long ago, and we should have at least done the whole petition thing to stop this like what happened with Internet Spying. The thing is that this is so much worse than the internet spying bills, since this has to do with freedom of association. If you’re suspected of associating with terrorists, you’ll be dragged into questioning, and if you don’t sell out your friends, you’ll be jailed. While that may be common practice in the US already, and may be a common practice in Canada soon, it does make us all far less free.

Sorry for the lack of substance in this post. In the next week or so, I’ll fire off a series of ATIPs to CSIS, RCMP, CBSA and others about their S7 briefings, and how they’re pushing for these new powers. I probably won’t get all the answers, but at least what we will get may see the light of day.

RCMP, Drones and You

Back in June of last year I requested everything the RCMP had on drones from the past three years, including agreements with the DHS. What I got back was a large 79.8 MB PDF talking about various drone studies and all the current plans the RCMP have for drones. It seems that the main use for drones is currently for traffic accidents. It details the various drones that certain divisions are using.

The uses that are listed by the RCMP for their Dragonfly drones specifically mention the following:

  • Tactical Troop: Perching and observing crowds, videotaping troop formations in training
  • Major events: Observing crowd behaviour, flow of persons/traffic, pre-planning

One thing that the RCMP mention is that they don’t intend to use it for surveillance, since they saw the backlash in the United States. The thing is that observing major events can be used as surveillance, for example, a protest march can be a major event, and while they may be saying that they’re not conducting surveillance, this is really playing fast and loose with definitions. That being said, thanks to Transport Canada, drones can’t be flown over groups of people, like in an urban setting like Occupy.

Also, it seems that city councils could shut down possible drone usage. I doubt that this would happen where the RCMP have jurisdiction, but I would be interested in filing a similar request to the VPD to see what they’re going to do with drones, and it’d be interesting to see how VPD plays out.

Finally, the off-the-shelf nature of some of these drones is interesting. It seems that the OPP and the Saskatchewan RCMP are the leaders in adopting drones for use in Canada, with others lagging behind. It appears that much of the drones that are used by the RCMP aren’t much different than those used by hobbyists.

As usual, the file is below. I think this is the last of the outstanding RCMP requests that I received.
A201204038_2013-02-05_06-48-48.PDF

C-30 off the table, C-55 is on the table

I haven’t had a lot of time to do much of anything recently, but I did find this CBC story, and the attached bill, and after reading the comments, C-55 scares me a LOT more than C-30, and here is why:

The new bill, C-55, changes the criminal code after the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the emergency warrantless wiretapping bill. Now, the new bill in the CBC story says that in an emergency, the police can get a warrantless wiretap in place and intercept the communications of someone in the event of a hostage situation or a kidnapping. In reality, this law can also be used to intercept messages before a mass action such as a protest against a pipeline or a protest at a major international event such as the Olympics or the G20.

Furthermore, it states that the person who was wiretapped must be notified 90 days after the fact that they were wiretapped, except in the case that they have an open investigation against them, where instead it has to stay hidden for three years. This basically means that if there was a protest happening, and if the RCMP were to spy on someone on the day before the protest, they can then do that and sit on this for three years. This is a pretty serious pile of bullshit, and I think C-55 needs to be stopped because just about anything could be considered an emergency by people who run the Joint Intelligence Groups at the RCMP.

Honestly, this bill isn’t good, and it needs to be killed. I don’t think that this will get the same reaction as C-30 mostly because of what people understand as an “emergency”. That being said, it’s much shorter and clear cut than C-30 with the bullshit about the inspectors and mandated backdoors. At least this one is JUST spying.

Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP: G20 Report goes easy on the JIG

Last year I requested the documents from the CPC-RCMP regarding the G20 summit to try and figure out how they were processing the complaints against the RCMP and why the G20 cops got off scott free. What I got back was this huge file including presentations from the G20ISU-JIG, as well as interviews with the head of the G8-G20ISU-JIG Rod McCann and others involved with the G8G20ISU. I’ve skimmed the doucments, but the main takeaways that I get from these documents are the following:

  • The Commission for Public Complaints is very much in bed with the RCMP: The atmosphere between the investigators and those being investigated appears to be a rather cordial one like they’re friends and the fact that the RCMP knows that this is a bullshit formality
  • Due to the nature of the police force that was brought in for the G20, the complaints were dispersed to the various police forces involved, absolving the RCMP of any responsibility whatsoever for what happened on the street.
  • Apparently there was a complaint of someone’s employment being disrupted, but I haven’t seen that complaint included.

Overall, the CPC was very supportive of the RCMP and was generally useless to the public. I’m not sure why this complaints commission even exists except to give a false vision of accountability to the RCMP. As usual, the files are below and people are free to go through them and use them as a source for their material.

RCMP and their fear of the future

Last year the ARIN conference happened in Vancouver, and the RCMP’s Integrated Tech Crime Unit showed up to speak up against the adoption of IPv6 and their fears that crypto is too dangerous to give to people since the cops won’t be able to listen in. This logic is completely ridiculous, but they have a document where they attempt to justify exactly this.

So, here’s the latest amount of FUD out of the RCMP. I’m sure that I’m probably going to find more bullshit like this in the future, I’m not really going to bother making a large write-up about this.

RCMP_IPv6.pdf