Telcos and Hollywood ask Canadian govt for right to secretly install spyware, listen in on your network connection -- ACT NOW!

Michael Geist sez,
C-27 is the Canadian anti-spam bill that comes out of committee on Monday. The opposition Liberals have proposed amendments which appear to have been drafted by copyright and telecom lobbyists. They would allow for surreptitious installation of computer programs and - even more outrageously - would allow copyright owners to secretly access information on users' computers.

The bill contains an anti-spyware provision, yet the Liberal motion would allow for the collection of personal information on a computer without authorization if the collection is related to a "investigating a breach of an agreement or a contravention of the laws of Canada." Note that that is private sector surveillance, not the police.

On top of these provisions, the Liberals have also tabled motions to extend the exemptions for telecom providers including allow telecom providers to engage in a host of activities - right down to scanning for and removing computer programs - without permission.

With the hearing on Monday, it is critical for Canadians to speak out - yet again - to ensure that C-27 does not leave the door open to private surreptitious surveillance.

Michael has links to contact the relevant MPs with your comments. Yes, we have to keep doing this, because the second we stop, they'll break the goddamned Internet, put spyware on your computer, and start listening in on every click and email.

The Copyright Lobby's Secret Pressure On the Anti-Spam Bill


    1. Canadian companies often ship things outside of Canada.

      Whether Canadian legislators will listen to non-citizens’ opinions on this is another matter….

  1. “Because I’m not Canadian, this will never, ever affect me.”

    Just wait till we take over the world. Bwahahaha.

    I wonder if this means that the public can hack corporate computers if they have an expectation of wrongdoing or copyright violations by the corporation.

    Anyway on a more serious note, I don’t have much faith in our current federal parties but I really did not expect to opposition to go above and beyond being complicit and actively make the draft worse.

  2. They wont be putting any spywear on my computer thank you very much. I switched to Ubuntu several years back, and see no need to ever return to the DRM infected world of windows.

  3. What the hell? I thought evil shenanigans was only the domain of the Conservatives. I’ll be sending a letter promptly.

  4. I want to be able to contact my MP and express my concerns and opinions in an articulate, and well thought-out manner, however each attempt thus far has only devolved into a vitriolic, anti-government diatribe. This could take me awhile. If someone has a form to share, it would be appreciated.

  5. So this is the same Liberal party that is pushing for a coalition government? Yeah, they really have Canadian’s well-being in mind. GG.

  6. I am Canadian and it does affect me… there goes the weekend. I’ll throw together a post abd plaster it over my blogs, then run about the internet mentioning it hither and yon. Between UBB and this I don’t have a life anymore. *sigh*

    I know, I know, grump grump grump… between UBB and this… some days I just get SO tired of evil politicians.

    @anonymous Ubuntu User who thinks (s)he’s safe…


    If they make this the law they can put this program in anywhere to affect anything and everything, Unbuntu included. If it is legal for them to remove software from your computer without your permission, it could well be your anti-spyware software or alarm.

    Until you put the software or the movie DVD or music CD in your computer you won’t know if it is set to target Unbuntu.

    Even if you never introduce a new piece of software or hardware or CD or DVD to your computer again you are still not safe if you go online anywhere near Bell Canada, since CRTC gave Bell Canada the right to do Deep Packet inspection, they’ll be able to get to you thataway.

    If this becomes law, the ONLY way to be safe is to keep your computer pure… no internet, no new anything. Doesn’t sound like much fun to me. Personally, I’d rather fight it.

    Grumping aside, thanks Cory.

    1. I’m not sure if you understand the implications of using Ubuntu.. They can’t just ‘target’ it and expect to be able to bypass all security that’s in place and gain root access to the machine. And if they do, whatever security flaw that allows them to do so would be patched VERY quickly.

  7. This is exactly what I was talking about last year when I asked about privacy issues at the Montreal talk (2nd question at the end of the podcast). The idea is not only that surveillance is better done by private companies, but that they somehow are entitled to monitor us because of outdated ideas about intellectual property. Yes, okay, I’m saying I told you so. I can’t help it, but people, we have to be on this. Get ye to thy keyboards and start writing!

  8. I still say we need to go on the offensive, and get a friendly politician to keep introducing pro-consumer legislation. Make them go on the defensive for a change.

  9. Easy way to stop it: Someone has to propose and pass a law that ANY spyware placed on a PC leaves the author liable to twice the full cost of each and every PC infected, payable immediately.

  10. “Me, I don’t have to act.

    Because I’m not Canadian, this will never, ever affect me.”

    I have a longer memory, I remember how a Canadian hosting service didn’t have to respond to a US DMCA notice as it applied to a certain blog. Hmmm, if only I could remember where I read about this.

    I guess I could just avoid Canadian sites that might be spying on me- but then where will I get all the latest poutine related info? ;-)

  11. Why then bother to take the time to read and comment about it? Strange. And insular. If it isn’t relevant to you, then please just pass it by. We are communicating via the WORLD wide web my friend.

  12. What about blacklisted IP addresses by, and others. Large network carriers, ISPs, and government and corporate mail servers, all make use of some form of DNSBLs to manage the traffic and emails, which can slow down your connection, and black hole your emails.

    Most dynamically issued IPs are blacklisted regardless of ISP. To be deselected is not practical for the leasee of these IPs, it is the technical and ethical responsibility of the ISPs.

    Good luck dealing with XplorNet or Bell on this issue. The other day I spoke with no minds in India, El Salvadore, Phillipines and Canada during a 2 hour call to the Bell Internet Technical Call Centre.

    What a joke.

  13. :)

    I think we’re striking the same point, via both sarcasm and bluntness — that the copyright lobby is as global as the medium they’re trying to throttle. More specifically, they’re likely seeking out favorable jurisdictions to advance their global agenda, “bit” by bit. First they came…, etc.

    Which is to say: if you bring the pitchforks, I’ll bring the torches.

  14. Hey, I wonder if the idiots who drafted the bill understand that the law permits *private firms* to legally “wiretap” government computers, as long as they claim to be investigating copyright infringement?

    I guess if the RIAA/MPAA/Rogers just “accidentally” happens across evidence of embezzlement, or infidelity, or some other unethical behavior by a government employee or elected official, why, they’ll just destroy the evidence that they collected “by accident.” Right? They would never use it to apply pressure to the Government, or to get an official they dislike replaced by a candidate who is friendlier to The Corporation.

    Dear gods and all the little fishes! Isn’t there anyone in Government in the Western World who can *THINK*?

  15. @Anonymous re: “What about blacklisted IP addresses by, and others.”

    What about them? If you’re planning to send email directly from your computer, you should be using a static IP, you should have a registered domain name, and you shouldn’t be using a spam-friendly ISP like Bell Canada. IF you don’t like that, get Bell to get off their collective backside and shut down their spammers.

  16. @Anonymous | October 19, 2009 8:32 AM |

    What is being discussed here is language in eleventh hour tabled amendments. The whole point of last minute amendments like this is that it makes it much easier to pull a “fast one”. In this way, MPs can be convinced to push a law like this through without having a chance to notice ramifications such as the one Morely the IT Guy just pointed out.

    The actual phrase is “detection or prevention of the unauthorized, fraudulent or illegal use of a network, service, or computer software, including scanning for and removing computer programs”

    The fact that it is has not yet been posted on the government website is a good sign. (Thanks Cory Doctorow & Michael Geist)

    You can find the italicized quotation on Michael Geist’s blog at

    Poor Richard Nixon. Born at the wrong time in the wrong country.

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