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March 7, 2015

Got a password-protected Smart-Phone? You still kiss your Right to Privacy Away at the Border


We Canadians like to believe we have rights. We like to believe those rights are protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

We are fools.

Our government moves to strip us of our rights every day.

The latest abuse of power stripping us of our Right to Privacy comes to us courtesy of the Canadian Border Services Agency, who can now demand the password for our smart phones. Should we mistakenly believe we have a protected Right to Privacy we will find ourselves in the same position as Quebec resident and “mere citizen” Alain Philippon.

Upon landing in Halifax from his holiday in the Dominican Republic Alain Philippon went through customs. Nothing shocking there. What was shocking was what happened when Alain Philippon refused to give up the password for his cell phone.

Canadian Border Services agents arrested him on the spot and charged him under the Customs Act for “hindering or preventing an officer from doing anything that the officer is authorized to do” as defined in that Act.

What a joke.

Here is the entirety of Section 153 of the Customs Act of Canada:

153. No person shall

(a) make, or participate in, assent to or acquiesce in the making of, false or deceptive statements in a statement or answer made orally or in writing pursuant to this Act or the regulations;

(a.1) make, or participate in, assent to or acquiesce in the making of, false or deceptive statements in an application for an advance ruling under section 43.1 or a certificate referred to in section 97.1;

(b) to avoid compliance with this Act or the regulations,

(i) destroy, alter, mutilate, secrete or dispose of records or books of account,

(ii) make, or participate in, assent to or acquiesce in the making of, false or deceptive entries in records or books of account, or

(iii) omit, or participate in, assent to or acquiesce in the omission of, a material particular from records or books of account; or

(c) wilfully, in any manner, evade or attempt to evade compliance with any provision of this Act or evade or attempt to evade the payment of duties under this Act.

Marginal note: Hindering an officer

153.1 No person shall, physically or otherwise, do or attempt to do any of the following:

(a) interfere with or molest an officer doing anything that the officer is authorized to do under this Act; or

(b) hinder or prevent an officer from doing anything that the officer is authorized to do under this Act.

Naturally, the Canadian Border Services Agency would not go on record to explain why Alain Philippon was “selected” for a smartphone search, nor would they explain why they need to search smartphones at all, or the section of law under which they claim they have the authority to search smartphones.

Rob Currie, director of the Law and Technology Institute at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, said this is a new area of law that has yet to be tested in court.

“This is a question that has not been litigated in Canada, whether they can actually demand you to hand over your password to allow them to unlock the device,” he said. “[It’s] one thing for them to inspect it, another thing for them to compel you to help them.”

There are two resources you ought to read if you plan on leaving the country for a holiday.

First is from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. It is titled “Checking In – Your privacy rights at airports and border crossings” and should be required reading for all Canadian travellors.

The second is the Privacy Handbook published by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

Know your rights.

Stand up for your rights.

Yes, even when it is inconvenient to do so.

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November 29, 2014

NYT “Journalist” Julie Bosman – Hypocrite and “Stupid Little Bitch”



For those who don’t know, Julie Bosman is an [alleged] journalist who works for the New York Times. That’s the title the New York Times gives her, anyway. I call Julie Bosman an irresponsible and hypocritical little bitch who felt it was her absolute right to violate the privacy of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson.

Officer Darren Wilson hit the national stage when he shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, the event that sparked riots at the time and again this past week when the Grand Jury refused to indict Wilson.

[Alleged] journalist Julie Bosman clearly believes Wilson should be on trial for the shooting death of the young black man, despite not knowing all the facts. Monday morning quarterbacks can argue all day long but they, like alleged journalist Julie Bosman, argue from a position of ignorance.

The Grand Jury did hear all the facts and came to the conclusion Darren Wilson defended himself against criminal aggression.

Julie Bosman, perched high atop her moral tower, found Darren Wilson’s current home address and knew immediately what she would do with the information. She published Wilson’s address and the name of his fiancé in the New York Times newspaper. It has since been removed from the story, of course, thereby revising history in Bosman’s favour, but the comments on the story tell the tale vividly and are not so favourable:

Given the death threats against Darren Wilson, printing the street where he lives (not a long one) and his hometown is irresponsible. It’s also irrelevant to the story of his wedding.

Dangerous and utterly irresponsible to include the street where this couple resides. It is deeply disturbing that the reporter and/or editor at the NY Times did not exercise better judgment and realize that this was a serious problem.

Unbelievable…. That the Times would print the name of Officer Wilson’s bride and then print the name of the street and town they own a house on… totally irresponsible.

Julie Bosman felt she was doing a good and moral thing, while in truth she violated Darren Wilson’s rights by invading his privacy.

Her motive for publishing Wilson’s home address will never be known for certainty, but it is no stretch to believe she did it hoping someone would “get him” for killing Michael Brown, despite the fact that shooting was in self-defense.

In what Mad World News calls “the most reckless and careless move in journalism this year” Julie Bosman published Wilson’s home address and the name of his fiancé (now wife), practically guaranteeing their lives would be in jeopardy.

John Hawkins of Right Wing News issued a challenge to his Twitter followers:

“I will link to anybody who can publish the verified home address of @juliebosman & @campbellnyt”

It wasn’t long before the website GotNews did precisely that.

New York Times reporters Julie Bosman and Campbell Robertson published the address of Darren Wilson in the New York Times so here are their addresses. It would be wrong, for example, to publish Bosman’s address at

CHICAGO, IL 60660-4204

It would be similarly wrong to publish the address of Robertson, too.

NEW ORLEANS, LA 70119-3203

So why do journalists think they are beyond examination?

This is absolutely a case of “You reap what you sow.”

Julie Bosman reportedly is now calling the Chicago police non-stop because she feels “threatened“.

Huh. You’ll have to excuse me for not feeling sorry for her. And as for her “feeling threatened“… perhaps this stupid bitch ought to have considered how Officer Darren Wilson and his new wife would feel before publishing their home address for the world to see.

Maybe then she wouldn’t be terrified in her own home.

If we expect others to respect our Right to Privacy we must first respect theirs. It’s a shame it took her Right to Privacy being violated before Julie Bosman could comprehend the lesson.

While it is a brutal lesson to learn, I’m sure both Julie Bosman and Campbell Robertson learned it well this week, their terror and fear imprinting the lesson indelibly on their souls.

Mad World News said it best when they wrote:

As Hawkins points out, if they’re willing to endanger the lives of Wilson and his recent bride, then why wouldn’t they be okay with their own addresses being posted for the public to see? Nobody is beyond reproach, and these two scumbags just got a little taste of how it feels to have your personal life invaded over something that happened in their professional life.


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November 16, 2014

Why does my Doctor want to know if I own Firearms?

Ryan Steacy liked this post


Why does my family physician want to know if I own Firearms before treating me for [insert medical issue here]?

The only doctor who will ask you about gun ownership before treating you is a doctor who hates guns. Any doctor who hunts or target shoots or believes in your Right to Self-Defense isn’t going to ask the question. He won’t care. It’s only anti-gun doctors who believe you must abdicate your Second Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms before he or she will treat you.

There is a single reason for medical practitioners demanding to know if you own firearms before treating you. It’s got nothing to do with medicine and everything to do with politics. Their politics, not yours.

It’s obscene, but that’s the reality. The problem is so bad that two states, Florida and Missouri, have passed a law against the practice, effectively a gag order against doctors prying into that particular area of a patient’s life.

The practice comes out of the Center for Disease Control’s decision that guns are a disease and they must treat ownership of them as a disease.

President Obama, in his gun violence a “public health crisis” rhetoric, announced in 2013 he would fund the Center for Disease Control to “study the issue“, or in layman’s terms, look at ways of stripping people of guns based on a medical model. He also rescinded the 1995 prohibition on using federal tax dollars to advocate and/or promote “gun control”.

“While year after year, those who oppose even modest gun-safety measures have threatened to defund scientific or medical research into the causes of gun violence, I will direct the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to go ahead and study the best ways to reduce it.”

Daniel Webster, director of the Center for Gun Policy and Research, backed Obama’s anti-gun plans.

“I agree that the CDC should be free to fund high-quality research into the causes and solutions to gun violence, one of the leading causes of premature mortality in the U.S. that affects not only deaths and injuries, but mental health as well.”

The CDC ought to stick to matters of medicine and stay out of social policy. As Emily Miller of the Washington Times noted in her January 2013 column, “Tax Dollars for Gun Control“,

By calling gun violence a “public health crisis” on Wednesday, Mr. Obama echoed Mr. Clinton’s model. It’s a move that could cost lives, as shifting funding away from fighting disease creates severely misplaced priorities. In 2010, 780,213 Americans died from cardiovascular disease and 574,743 from cancer, compared with 11,078 firearm homicides.

Under the Bush administration, the CDC already conducted a two-year independent study of the laws, including bans on specified firearms or ammunition; gun registration; concealed-weapon carry; and zero-tolerance for firearms in schools. The scientists concluded in 2003 that there was “insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws reviewed for preventing violence.”

The notion that suicidal people denied access to firearms will not kill themselves, statistics on both sides of the border show that to be false.

Then in 1992, writing in another New England Journal of Medicine piece, Kellermann cited an American Journal of Psychiatry study to back up a claim that “limiting access to firearms could prevent many suicides.” Instead, that study really concluded that suicidal people who don’t have guns find other ways to kill themselves.

In Canada as in the United States, while anti-gun forces triumphantly crowed that suicides by gun were down (correct, they were), those same anti-gun forces refused to acknowledge that suicides by hanging grew exponentially for the same time period, and were now higher than the number of suicides by gun they said were “prevented”.

People didn’t stop killing themselves, they simply chose a different method.

To put an end to the practice of harassing patients about gun ownership, Florida passed the “Florida Firearm Owners Privacy Act (FOPA)” which prohibits doctors from asking their patients if they own or possess firearms.

Anti-gun doctors and their associations, like the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to name but two, were up in arms over the legislation, claiming it violated their First Amendment rights.

Doctors claimed that FOPA “will denigrate the practice of medicine” by preventing physicians from “communicating freely with their patients on issues relating to the ownership and possession of firearms.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), known for the passionate love of firearms (not!), predictably wrote in their brief to the court,

“there is no disagreement within the medical community that providing patients with information about firearm safety is a valid aspect of preventative care and thus beneficial to public health.”

Utter crap, of course, but that is irrelevant. The ACLU, AMA and AAP believe civilians should be disarmed, and will say pretty much anything to make that a reality.

Fortunately the courts disagree with such nonsense and the 11th Circuit Court specifically upheld Florida’s Firearm Owner’s Privacy Act in Wollschlaeger v. Governor of Florida.

The essence of the Act is simple: medical practitioners should not record information or inquire about patients’ firearm-ownership status when doing so is not necessary to providing the patient with good medical care. The Act’s harassment and discrimination provisions serve to reinforce these prohibitions.

As suggested by the complaints the Florida legislature received prior to passage of the Act, patients are aware that their answers to physicians’ inquiries will be entered into their medical record, and may fear that their record will be shared with third parties, including, for example, government bureaucrats.

We need not speculate as to the reasons a patient may have for objecting to the sharing of his or her firearm-ownership status, but we note that a patient might be concerned about disclosing to a physician information regarding any number of private topics when such information is not relevant to his or her medical care for similar reasons. For example, a patient may not wish to disclose his or her religious or political affiliations, sexual preferences, or bank account balance to a physician.

The Act merely circumscribes the unnecessary collection of patient information on one of many potential sensitive topics. It does so as a means of protecting a patient’s ability to receive effective medical treatment without compromising the patient’s privacy with regard to matters unrelated to healthcare.

Nothing in Florida law prevents or prohibits doctors from expressing their views on firearms or firearm ownership. Their First Amendment Rights are not infringed, but their ability to violate the Privacy Rights of their patients most certainly is.

As the National Rifle Association stated in their brief to the court in Wollschlaeger v. Governor of Florida,

“The Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act is another reasonable regulation of the medical practice. It exhorts doctors to stick to practicing medicine when examining patients, rather than pushing their own political agendas, and it protects patients from doctors who refuse to do so.”


Firearm ownership is not a disease, contrary to the irrational believes of some in the Center for Disease Control, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics.

These groups should stick to medicine and stay out of politics.

The American Civil Liberties Union ought to protect our rights, not violate them whenever it suits their political agenda.


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November 13, 2014

R. v. Spencer: Our Right to Privacy vs Police Need to Investigate Crime – Who Wins?



Police want easy access to personal information, generally with the assurance that they will not misuse the data they collect. The trouble is they almost always misuse the data, or if that statement seems too unfair, they often use it in ways never intended and they said they would never do.

Take the testimony of Scott Naylor of the Ontario Provincial Police before the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs regarding the so-called “lawful access” Bill C-13, also known as the “Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act”.

Naylor and the Ontario Provincial Police correctly want to stop child sexual exploitation and cyber-bullying. They get themselves in hot water, however, due to their overreaching desire to strip Canadians of their Right to Privacy in the process.

Here is Naylor’s testimony before the committee, courtesy of privacy expert Michael Geist:

If the bag was open and I could do anything, the biggest problem that I see in the world of child sexual exploitation is anonymity on the Internet. When we get our driver’s licence we’re required to get our picture taken for identification. When you get a mortgage you have to sign and provide identification. When you sign up for the Internet, there is absolutely no requirement for any kind of non-anonymity qualifier. There are a lot of people who are hiding behind the Internet to do all kinds of crime, including cybercrime, fraud, sexual exploitation and things along those lines.

The Internet is moving so quickly that law enforcement cannot keep up. If there were one thing that I would ask for discussion on is that there has to be some mechanism of accountability for you to sign on to an Internet account that makes it like a digital fingerprint that identifies it to you sitting behind the computer or something at that time. There are mechanisms to do it, but the Internet is so big and so vast at this point, and it’s worldwide, I’m not sure how that could happen, but that would certainly assist everybody. In that way I can make a digital qualification that that’s the person that I’m talking to. If I had one choice, that’s what I would ask for.

As Michael Geist points out, Scott Naylor starts his argument with something completely disconnected and irrelevant to the discussion of privacy rights and internet anonymity: driver’s licenses and mortgages.

I am required to prove who I am when I take out a mortgage because the bank needs to know who they have on a string, and where to go to yank on that string when required. A driver’s license is required to drive a motor vehicle on the state’s roadways. These comparisons are ludicrous, yet Naylor delivered these statements with a straight face as though some non-existent causal link between the two and privacy on the internet actually exists.

It doesn’t.

More to the point, and this is something a police officer looking to violate our Charter Right to Privacy ought to be fully aware of, is that Canada’s Supreme Court already ruled this year that our right to privacy is a paramount concern, and should only be violated in the most egregious cases.

The case I’m referring to is R. v. Spencer, 2014 SCC 43, where the Supreme Court made these statements about internet access and anonymity in a child pornography case:

The nature of the privacy interest engaged by the state conduct turns on the privacy of the area or the thing being searched and the impact of the search on its target, not the legal or illegal nature of the items sought. In this case, the primary concern is with informational privacy. Informational privacy is often equated with secrecy or confidentiality, and also includes the related but wider notion of control over, access to and use of information.

However, particularly important in the context of Internet usage is the understanding of privacy as anonymity. The identity of a person linked to their use of the Internet must be recognized as giving rise to a privacy interest beyond that inherent in the person’s name, address and telephone number found in the subscriber information.

Subscriber information, by tending to link particular kinds of information to identifiable individuals may implicate privacy interests relating to an individual’s identity as the source, possessor or user of that information. Some degree of anonymity is a feature of much Internet activity and depending on the totality of the circumstances, anonymity may be the foundation of a privacy interest that engages constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

In this case, the police request to link a given IP address to subscriber information was in effect a request to link a specific person to specific online activities. This sort of request engages the anonymity aspect of the informational privacy interest by attempting to link the suspect with anonymously undertaken online activities, activities which have been recognized in other circumstances as engaging significant privacy interests.

The Court goes on to say:

[66] In my view, in the totality of the circumstances of this case, there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in the subscriber information. The disclosure of this information will often amount to the identification of a user with intimate or sensitive activities being carried out online, usually on the understanding that these activities would be anonymous. A request by a police officer that an ISP voluntarily disclose such information amounts to a search.

[67] The intervener the Attorney General of Alberta raised a concern that if the police were not permitted to request disclosure of subscriber information, then other routine inquiries that might reveal sensitive information about a suspect would also be prohibited, and this would unduly impede the investigation of crimes. For example, when the police interview the victim of a crime, core biographical details of a suspect’s lifestyle might be revealed. I do not agree that this result follows from the principles set out in these reasons. Where a police officer requests disclosure of information relating to a suspect from a third party, whether there is a search depends on whether, in light of the totality of the circumstances, the suspect has a reasonable expectation of privacy in that information: Plant, at p. 293; Gomboc, at paras. 27-30, per Deschamps J. In Duarte, the Court distinguished between a person repeating a conversation with a suspect to the police and the police procuring an audio recording of the same conversation. The Court held that the danger is “not the risk that someone will repeat our words but the much more insidious danger inherent in allowing the state, in its unfettered discretion, to record and transmit our words“: at pp. 43-44.

Similarly in this case, the police request that the ISP disclose the subscriber information was in effect a request to link Mr. Spencer with precise online activity that had been the subject of monitoring by the police and thus engaged a more significant privacy interest than a simple question posed by the police in the course of an investigation.

Police routinely make requests for internet subscriber information from Internet Service Providers (ISPs). While there is no legal requirement for ISPs to surrender this data, and in fact a very real legal requirement to protect the personal information of their clients, the act of a police officer asking for someone’s personal information creates the illusion that their request has the authority of law and cannot be denied.

It does not, as the Supreme Court makes clear.

Turning to whether the search of Mr. Spencer’s home and computer was lawful, the Supreme Court makes it crystal clear that it was not.

[73] With respect, I cannot accept that this conclusion applies to s. 7(3) (c.1)(ii) of PIPEDA . Section 487.014(1) is a declaratory provision that confirms the existing common law powers of police officers to make enquiries, as indicated by the fact that the section begins with the phrase “[f]or greater certainty”: see Ward, at para. 49. PIPEDA is a statute whose purpose, as set out in s. 3 , is to increase the protection of personal information. Since in the circumstances of this case the police do not have the power to conduct a search for subscriber information in the absence of exigent circumstances or a reasonable law, I do not see how they could gain a new search power through the combination of a declaratory provision and a provision enacted to promote the protection of personal information.

[74] The subscriber information obtained by police was used in support of the Information to Obtain which led to the issuance of a warrant to search Ms. Spencer’s residence. Without that information, the warrant could not have been obtained. It follows that if that information is excluded from consideration as it must be because it was unconstitutionally obtained, there were not adequate grounds to sustain the issuance of the warrant, and the search of the residence was therefore unlawful. I conclude, therefore, that the conduct of the search of Ms. Spencer’s residence violated the Charter : Plant, at p. 296; Hunter v. Southam, at p. 161. Nothing in these reasons addresses or diminishes any existing powers of the police to obtain subscriber information in exigent circumstances such as, for example, where the information is required to prevent imminent bodily harm. There were no such circumstances here.

Quite clearly the highest court in the land takes our right to personal privacy and anonymity on the internet very seriously. Equally clear is the fact that police forces routinely do NOT take that right seriously at all, and in fact ignore it as often as possible, since ignoring our rights makes their job of investigating crime much easier.

Is it a problem for police that we mere citizens have Rights and Freedoms guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Absolutely, and as a result they must find ways of doing their job that does not violate our rights.

Police don’t like that.

I suppose were I in their shoes I wouldn’t like my job being made more difficult either, but as I view this issue from the standpoint of a mere citizen I naturally disagree with police and their quest for the easy way out.

My right to privacy has meaning. I don’t care that they don’t like it, or that it makes their jobs more difficult.


Where I find fault with the Supreme Court decision in this case is that even though the police request for information was not “lawful” the court ruled their behaviour was not egregious enough to warrant tossing out the evidence simply because police “reasonably thought” they acted lawfully when they did not.

While I would not want to be understood to be encouraging the police to act without warrants in “gray areas”, in light of the fact that the trial judge and three judges of the Court of Appeal concluded that Det. Sgt. Parisien had acted lawfully, his belief was clearly reasonable. In short, the police were acting by what they reasonably thought were lawful means to pursue an important law enforcement purpose.

They cite the fact that a trial judge and three Court of Appeal judges concluded Det. Sgt. Parisien acted reasonably as proof that he did. That is not the case. They said this, yet in the very next paragraph explain that the Charter violation is extremely serious.

[78] The second Grant factor is the impact of the Charter-infringing conduct on Mr. Spencer’s Charter-protected interests. That impact here was serious. As discussed above, anonymity is an important safeguard for privacy interests online. The violation of that anonymity exposed personal choices made by Mr. Spencer to be his own and subjected them to police scrutiny as such. This weighs in favour of excluding the evidence.

Their decision to allow the evidence to stand ultimately rests on the idea that since they’d caught a man with child pornography, the ends justified the means. I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea. Here is their actual written rationale:

[80] The offences here are serious and carry minimum prison sentences. Society has both a strong interest in the adjudication of the case and also in ensuring that the justice system remains above reproach in its treatment of those charged with these serious offences. If the evidence is excluded, the Crown will effectively have no case. The impugned evidence (the electronic files containing child pornography) is reliable and was admitted by the defence at trial to constitute child pornography. Society undoubtedly has an interest in seeing a full and fair trial based on reliable evidence, and all the more so for a crime which implicates the safety of children.

[81] Balancing the three factors, my view is that exclusion of the evidence rather than its admission would bring the administration of justice into disrepute, and I would uphold its admission.

Having caught someone who is downloading and distributing child pornography the Supreme Court says it must overlook the “serious” violation of Mr. Spencer’s Charter Rights because not to do so would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

This ruling essentially tells police they can do as they please so long as they “reasonably believe” they are following the law when they are not.

That is a very dangerous precedent to set.

Where do we draw the line between our Right to Privacy and police violations of it under the rationale that to do otherwise would bring the administration of justice into disrepute? It’s a hard question and one our Supreme Court did its best to answer in R. v. Spencer.

Did they get it right?

I would prefer that our Supreme Court hold our police to a higher standard when they violate our right to privacy. Just because the police wrongly believed they were acting in good faith when they clearly are not doesn’t justify their violation of our rights. This leads us down a road none of us want.

However, the Supreme Court of Canada concluded that when it the choice is between our Right to Privacy vs the need of police to investigate crime, the police win.


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May 26, 2014

EFF Report- Who is Protecting Your Data from Government Requests?



The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) constantly fights for our right to privacy on the Internet. It’s an organization every single person who values privacy ought to support financially, as they are continually beating back Leviathan when it comes to issues of personal privacy online.

In this fourth-annual report, EFF examines the publicly-available policies of major Internet companies—including Internet service providers, email providers, mobile communications tools, telecommunications companies, cloud storage providers, location-based services, blogging platforms, and social networking sites—to assess whether they publicly commit to standing with users when the government seeks access to user data. The purpose of this report is to allow users to make informed decisions about the companies with whom they do business.

Their report titled “Who Has Your Back” (download PDF version) is a detailed investigation of which companies actively fight for your right to privacy and which companies don’t. They evaluated companies based on six criteria:

1. Require a warrant for content of communications.
2. Tell users about government data requests.
3. Publish transparency reports.
4. Publish law enforcement guidelines.
5. Fight for users’ privacy rights in courts.
6. Publicly oppose mass surveillance.

It’s a valuable report for you if you’re looking to vote with your dollars, something I highly recommend you do, and support only those companies who will support you, their customer.

These questions are even more important in the wake of the past year’s revelations about mass surveillance, which showcase how the United States government has been taking advantage of the rich trove of data we entrust to technology companies to engage in surveillance of millions of innocent people in the US and around the world. Internal NSA documents and public statements by government officials confirm that major telecommunications companies are an integral part of these programs. We are also faced with unanswered questions, conflicting statements, and troubling leaked documents which raise real questions about the government’s ability to access to the information we entrust to social networking sites and webmail providers.

There were some surprises on the list for me, as I was not aware of the pro-privacy stance of some of the companies listed. Others, like Twitter, Google and Microsoft, are companies I’ve written about repeatedly when their refusal to give up private information takes them to court at their own expense. That’s the true test of a company’s commitment to privacy really, isn’t it? Do they merely pay lip service to the notion or will they back it up with cold hard cash.

I was appalled but not surprised that both AT&T and ComCast routinely give up personal information without a warrant and pleased to see, Apple and Dropbox (among many others) all required a warrant first. All three of these companies also back up their belief in privacy with their own cash when they fight the government in court.

That’s a good thing.

The next largest single factor in the privacy battle is whether the company you deal with will tell you if the government is after your personal information. A shocking number of companies will not tell you this, including both the aforementioned AT&T and ComCast. For me, the fact ComCast “fights for users’ rights in court” is meaningless since they don’t require a warrant and won’t tell me if some government goon is after my personal information. But that’s just me, and I don’t use ComCast. Or AT&T.

We are pleased to announce that nine companies earned stars in every category: Apple, CREDO Mobile, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Sonic, Twitter, and Yahoo. In addition, six companies earned stars in all categories except a court battle: LinkedIn, Pinterest, SpiderOak, Tumblr, Wickr, and WordPress. We are extremely pleased to recognize the outstanding commitment each of these companies has made to their users.




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April 2, 2014

Bill C-13 is Conservative Government’s Attempt to Police Internet (and strip you of your rights)


Bill C-13 – dubbed the “Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act” is really an attempt by our so-called Conservative government to re-introduce measures from their failed Bill C-30, “Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act”.

You remember that one, right?

That’s the bill where then-Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said you either sided with the government (and abdicated your Right to Privacy) or you sided with child pornographers.

You either embraced warrantless searches or you sided with child pornographers.

You either give up your rights or you are no better than child pornographers.

Refusing to give up my Rights means no such thing.

That stance does not change simply because the Steven Harper shuffled the deck chairs and there are new faces sitting in the seats of the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Public Safety.

That stance does not change simply because they want to re-introduce atrocious portions of failed legislation under a new name and bill number.

My right to privacy will not be sacrificed under Bill C-13, “Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act”, whose much less catchy name is “An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act”.

The text below is from the introduction to Bill C-13, the “Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act”.

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to provide, most notably, for

(a) a new offence of non-consensual distribution of intimate images as well as complementary amendments to authorize the removal of such images from the Internet and the recovery of expenses incurred to obtain the removal of such images, the forfeiture of property used in the commission of the offence, a recognizance order to be issued to prevent the distribution of such images and the restriction of the use of a computer or the Internet by a convicted offender; (Note: cyber-bullying and privacy violations)

(b) the power to make preservation demands and orders to compel the preservation of electronic evidence; (Note: “compel” means charge you criminally if you refuse their “demand”)

(c) new production orders to compel the production of data relating to the transmission of communications and the location of transactions, individuals or things; (Note: failure to follow a production order is in itself a criminal offense.)

(d) a warrant that will extend the current investigative power for data associated with telephones to transmission data relating to all means of telecommunications;

The enactment amends the Canada Evidence Act to ensure that the spouse is a competent and compellable witness for the prosecution with respect to the new offence of non-consensual distribution of intimate images.

Bill C-13 is about far more than cyber-bullying.

Of the cyber-bullying aspect of Bill C-13 Tim Banks of writes,

Whether the original image results from misplaced trust in a partner, a lack of judgment, deliberate risk taking, or coercion, the act of distributing intimate photos or videos without consent can have serious social and economic consequences for the individual whose image is being circulated.

However, criminal law is a blunt instrument to deal with these problems, and Bill C-13 is no exception. The legislation would criminalize any distribution of intimate material without consent irrespective of the motives of the individual who distributes the material.

Perhaps in an attempt to balance issues of freedom of expression, Bill C-13 requires the victim to have had a reasonable expectation of privacy both at the time that the image was taken and at the time the image is distributed. Even then, the distribution of the image will not be criminal if it is for the “public good”.

As Tim says, this is tough legislation to get right, so why compound this problem by adding the kitchen sink into the bill?

For example:

  • Police could make a “demand” under 487.012 to preserve computer data in their possession or control where “reasonable grounds to suspect an offence has been committed.” No actual crime… just “reasonable” grounds a crime might be committed. No judicial approval required, and refusing this “reasonable” demand is a separate criminal offense.
  • Bill C-13 allows tracking of individuals or items through “tracking devices”, or GPS. It also allows for covert installation and removal of these “tracking devices.”
  • Bill C-13 broadens “protected” group status further under the hate crimes provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada.

To quote Terry Wilson of,

This is almost word for word, the same legislation as the former Bill C-30. It is a highly dangerous piece of legislation that in all honestly is not needed for cyberbullying, unlike what the government would have you believe. Laws to arrest the people involved in the cases of Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons (who are being held up as the “poster” children for this legislation) where already in place. The police just simply did not act.

Write Justice Minister Peter MacKay and demand this bill be rescinded and replaced with a bill that deals specifically and only with cyber-bullying.

Write Prime Minister Stephen Harper and demand this bill be rescinded and replaced with a bill that deals specifically and only with cyber-bullying.

Write your MP today and demand this bill be rescinded and replaced with a bill that deals specifically and only with cyber-bullying.

Make these people aware your support for this Conservative government depends upon this government’s respect for the rights of all Canadians while dealing with the cyber-bullying issue. is once again leading the charge. From their website:

The government is about to ram through a new law which provides immunity to telecom companies that hand over our sensitive information without our knowledge or consent.

We’re at a crucial stage in this fight; with the government imposing time allocation motions and closure to severly restrict debate, now more than ever we must ensure that pro-privacy voices are heard by decision makers in Parliament. Your support today will enable us to make sure your voices are heard in Ottawa.



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February 22, 2013

A Victory for Privacy Rights! Conservatives Kill Bill C-30



When the Conservatives introduced Bill C-30, titled the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act, Vic Toews said anyone who didn’t agree with the bill was standing “with the child pornographers”.

In light of that stand, I suppose it’s reasonable to conclude Vic Toews is now standing “with the child pornographers” in the wake his government’s decision to kill off the bill.

In the wake of massive public outcry and social media campaigns against Bill C-30 Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announced, almost a year to the day Vic Toews introduced Bill C-30 to parliament, he was putting the final nail in the coffin of a bill that would have stripped Canadians of one of their most fundamental Rights: the Right to be Free from Unreasonable Search and Seizure.

Here is an excerpt of the Ottawa Citizen article on this announcement:

Almost one year after introducing its controversial Internet-surveillance bill, the federal government has conceded the measure is officially dead due to public outrage.

Shortly after tabling new legislation that incorporates some of the less contentious elements of Bill C-30 related to emergency wiretaps, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson admitted Monday that the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act will not proceed.

“We will not be proceeding with Bill C-30 and any attempts that we will continue to have to modernize the Criminal Code will not contain the measures in C-30, including the warrantless mandatory disclosure of basic subscriber information or the requirement for telecommunications service providers to build intercept capability in their systems,” he said Monday.

“We’ve listened to the concerns of Canadians who’ve been very clear on this and we’re responding to that.”

This is great news.

Governments only change direction when they learn it will cost them votes. Politicians don’t care about anything else.

So the next time your elected officials try implementing more anti-Freedom legislation, make sure they know it will cost them dearly… when we do it’s amazing how fast they stop dead in their tracks.

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December 27, 2012

Hypocritical Anti-Gunners – Careful What You Wish For



Anti-gun zealots got a lot more than they bargained for after publishing the names and home addresses of New York handgun permit holders.

On December 24, 2012, The Journal News got up on it’s high horse and published an article titled “The gun owner next door: What you don’t know about the weapons in in your neighborhood“, which included links to two interactive maps. These online maps contained the names and addresses of thousands handgun permit holders in New York’s Westchester and Rockland counties.

red_icon-246x250Needless to say, gun owners and privacy advocates were furious, just as Canadians were back when the Ottawa Citizen pulled a similar stunt here in Canada. The only difference was the Canadian information didn’t contain names and addresses of gun owners, “just” their postal codes along with every firearm they owned.

This time it’s far worse as the names and home addresses of every permit holder in these two counties are displayed on these maps.

Common sense and decency appear to be rare commodities at The Journal News, as evidenced by the self-righteous justification spewed forth by Janet Hasson, president and publisher of The Journal News Media Group.

“New York residents have the right to own guns with a permit and they also have a right to access public information.”

Janet Hasson is correct legally, if not morally. Under current law, the names and addresses of all license holders is considered public information.

5. Filing of approved applications. The application for any license, if granted, shall be filed by the licensing officer with the clerk of the county of issuance, except that in the city of New York and, in the counties of Nassau and Suffolk, the licensing officer shall designate the place of filing in the appropriate division, bureau or unit of the police department thereof, and in the county of Suffolk the county clerk is hereby authorized to transfer all records or applications relating to firearms to the licensing authority of that county. The name and address of any person to whom an application for any license has been granted shall be a public record.

Clearly this law needs to be changed to protect the personal information of license holders.

That said, just because you can do something, does that really mean you should? Just because it’s legal, does that mean it’s the right thing to do?

No-Handguns-Allowed-150x150As long as you’re a gun-hating zealot, the answer is a resounding YES! Anything that can advance the anti-gun agenda is fair game, especially if it endangers the lives of those neanderthal gun owners.

CynDee Royle, editor and vice-president of the paper, said after the article was published,

“We knew publication of the database would be controversial, but we felt sharing as much information as we could about gun ownership in our area was important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings. People are concerned about who owns guns and how many of them there are in their neighborhoods.”

People willing to jump through all the legal hoops to obtain a handgun permit in New York State are hardly the criminals-in-waiting Royle and Hasson makes them out to be. They are, in fact, the most law-abiding citizens there are.

I think an interactive map publicizing the name and home address of every convicted pedophile would be far more useful to citizens concerned about the safety of their children.

Then, of course, there are the Unintended Consequences.

The problem with what The Journal News did is far greater than it appears on the surface. It’s not just about an invasion of privacy, it’s about the safety and security of every person included on that map, which just happens to include law enforcement as well.

One very upset member of law enforcement wrote under a pseudonym:

My name and address appear on that map and to say the least, I’m pissed. In all my years as a LEO, I listed my telephone using a pseudonym and my vehicles and driver’s license came back to a post office box. Now these idiots have identified my address.

All the cases I worked as a detective involved career criminals and lots and lots of those low-lifes were sent to prison with extended sentences. Hell, they all knew my name as the cop that put them in prison but none were able to find me outside of the detective squad where I worked.

So now I have to be on super high alert wherever I go just in case one of these nit-wits decides to look me up? WTF!!!

Well, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander too, right? Apparently not, at least as far as The Journal News website is concerned.

When Christopher Fountain posted the name, home address and phone number for the paper’s publisher, Janet Hanson, (3 Gate House Lane, Mamaroneck NY 105643 (248-) 594-2197) that comment was promptly deleted.

Seems all this talk of “freedom of information” is just a one-way street.

Shocking, I know!

network-blue-150x150As a result of this, Christopher Fountain made a decision.

If posting her name, address and phone number wasn’t okay on the newspaper’s website, he’d post that information on his own blog. He then went a few miles further and posted the names, addresses, phone numbers and anything else he could find out about the employees of The Journal News to his blog.

Suddenly the shoe is on the other foot and the hypocrites at The Journal News are no longer quite so thrilled with all this “access to information”.

Again, I’m shocked.

Below you will find contact information for every person working at The Journal News as it was posted on Christopher Fountain’s blog. I’m reposting it here in the interest of openness and fairness. If it’s okay to publish the names and home addresses of New York State Gun owners, surely it’s okay to do the same for the publishers and staff of the newspaper so willing to hop up on their high, hypocritical horse, right?

White Plains newspaper The Journal- News, a Gannett publication, has published the full name and address of every licensed pistol permit holder in three New York counties. I don’t know whether the Journal’s publisher Janet Hasson is a permit holder herself, but here’s how to find her to ask:

(UPDATE: Uh oh – InstaPundit’s linked here. Hundreds of thousands of readers; Janet, you have a great Christmas Eve)

Janet Hasson, publisher,Journal News

Janet Hasson, publisher,
Journal News

Janet Hasson, 3 Gate House Lane, Mamaroneck, NY 10534.

Phone number:

(914) 694-5204


Here’s a photo showing her Mamaroneck house – interior shots are on Zillow:

janet-hasson-3-gate-house-rd-mamaroneckUPDATE: From reader RJS: Gannett’s CEO-

Gracia C Martore
728 Springvale Rd
Great Falls, VA 22066
(703) 759-5954


The reporter on the story is

Dwight R Worley
23006 139 Ave
Springfield Gardens, NY 11413 (718) 527-0832

UPDATE: Intrepid readers have come up with all sorts of contacts for these people:


Miss Royle’s married name is Lambert. She lives in White Plains and here is her Facebook page complete with pictures of her and her kids. Hello Sanctimony.

Cynthia R Lambert
17 Mcbride Ave
White Plains, NY 10603 (914) 948-9388

Work: 914-694-5001
Drives a red convertible:
Family photo:

Publisher, Janet Hasson,

3 Gate House Lane, Mamaroneck NY, 10543

(914) 694-5204


Reporter, Dwight R. Worley, 23006 139 Ave

Springfield Gardens, NY 11413

(718) 527-0832

The “Visual Editor” responsible for the map itself is:

Robert F. Rodriguez

(w) Stephanie Azzarone
Home (212) 222-4566
420 Riverside Dr, Apt 7A
New York, NY 10025-7748

Publisher: Janet Hasson (@janhasson on twitter) 3 Gate House Rd, Mamaroneck, NY 10534


Gracia C Martore 728 Springvale Rd Great Falls, VA 22066 (703) 759-5954


–(Junior Editor) Nancy Cutler 9 Woodwind Ln, Spring Valley, NY. (845) 354 3485

Barbara Livingstone Nackman a Reporter on the municipal beat can be found here:
Barbara L Nackman
279 Farrington Ave
Tarrytown, NY 10591 (914) 332-5185

Swapna Venugopal Also a Reporter and can be found on
306 Quaker Rd
Chappaqua, NY 10514 (914) 238-4607

Mike Risinit
Michael J Risinit
42 Robinson Ln
Wappingers Falls, NY 12590 (845) 454-2278

Seth Harrison
107 Valleyview Rd
Irvington, NY 10533 (914) 231-5411

OTHER STAFF. Let them know you how you feel about the actions of their co-workers and management.

Albert Conte
Photo reprints
Work: 914-696-8401

Anjanette Delgado
Community Conversation (Forums, Blogs, Social Media)
Work: 914-694-5072

Brian Howard
Social Media Editor at The Journal News
Work: 914-666-6177

Carrie Yale
Visuals Director at The Journal News
Photography (Days)
Work: 914-694-5092

Caryn McBride
Print and digital news editor, award-winning journalist
Editor at The Journal News
Westchester County, NY
Work: 845-578-2434

Cathey O’Donnell
Journal News reporter in NY covering Westchester, Rockland and Putnam
White Plains
Investigative Reporter at The Journal News

Chris Brown
Graphics Artist at The Journal News

Chris Gaughan
Works at The Journal News

Dan Donovan
Comics, crosswords, Jumble, Sudoku, movie clock
Work: 914-694-5309

David McKay Wilson
Columnist at The Journal News, freelance journalist, cycling advocate
Mahopac, NY

Ed Cummins
News Editor at The Journal News

Ed Forbes
Digital Team/Homepage
“Ed Forbes, a @StLawrenceU and @columbiajourn alum, is the Digital Editor at The Journal News and Westchester resident, N.J. native, Ad’k expat.”
Lives in Mount Kisco, New York
From Randolph, New Jersey
Columbia, St. Lawrence
Work: 914-696-8488

Gary McGriff
Works at The Journal News

George Troyano
Vice President Sales & Marketing at Journal News Media-Gannett
Studied Marketing at Drexel University
Work: 914-694-5157

Heather Salerno
New York-based journalist, wife and mom
Works at Feature writer for the Journal News
Studied at Georgetown University

Herb Pinder
Community Conversation / Opinion Page editor at The Journal News and
Work: 914-694-5031

James Kwasnik
Online Director at The Journal News, Technology/Analytics Editor
Work: 914-694-5172

Jill Mercadante
Multimedia/Marketing Editor at The Journal News

Joe McDonald
Local News, Local Content Editor
Work: 914-694-5099

Karen Croke
LoHud Weekend
Work: 914-696-8267

Kathy Moore
Local Content Editor
Work: 914-694-3523

Ken Valenti
“I’m a transportation reporter for The Journal News/”
White Plains, Westchester, NY

Linda Lombroso
Features Writer at The Journal News

Leah Rae
Journalist in Westchester County, N.Y., following local news, immigration trends, and cool maps.

Lee Higgins
Breaking news reporter for
Work: 914-696-8570

Liz Johnson
Food editor at The Journal News and in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam. Eater, drinker, gardener.
Lower Hudson Valley
Work: 914-694-5075

Mary Dolan
Deputy Managing Editor, Features editor The Journal News/
White Plains
Work: 914-694-5230

Mike Meaney
Morning breaking news
Work: 914-696-8565

Nancy Cutler
Opinion editor, Rockland, The Journal News/
Rockland County, NY
Work: 845-578-2403

Nights, weekends, holidays and news tips: 914-694-5077

Phil Reisman
Columnist for The Journal News/
Westchester, NY

Robert F. Rodriguez
Visuals Editor / Photo Editor at The Journal News
Photography, Nights
Studied at NYU
Lives in New York, New York
Married to Stephanie Azzarone
Work: 914-694-5092

Sean Mayer
Sports and Operations Editor for the Journal News Media Group.
Studied at Binghamton University
Married to Randi Kravetsky-Mayer
From Monroe, New York
Work: 914-696-8527

Swapna Venugopal
Reporter, The Journal News at Gannett
Staff Writer,The Journal News/
Write about politics, development issues and life in Westchester County, New York
Studied at New York University
Lives in Chappaqua, New York
From Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Work: 914-696-8229

Thane Grauel
Local Editor Rockland/Digital Editor at The Journal News
Norwalk, Conn

Theresa Juva-Brown
Reporter at The Journal News
“Transportation/TZB reporter for The Journal News/ Reach me at tjuva@lohud.comwith tips/story ideas. I love hearing from readers/riders/drivers.”
White Plains, NY
Studied at Syracuse University
From Queens, New York

Contact Us
The Journal News and

Main Office:
The Journal News
1133 Westchester Ave.
Suite N110
White Plains, NY 10604

Main phone number: 914-694-9300
Report breaking news: 914-694-5077
E-mail breaking news:
Lobby Hours:
Monday – Friday
8 a.m. – 5 p.m. – open for visitors
Closed Saturday and Sunday

Home Delivery Operations Manager: John Czarnecki, 914-696-8540,
Director/Circulation Operations: Elaine Kirsch, 914-696-8511,
Single Copy Manager: Mauro Ferrotta, 914-694-5233,

News Managers
Sound Shore: Liz Anderson, 914-696-8538,
White Plains: Scott Faubel, 914-696-8569,
Northern Westchester: Robert Brum, 914-666-6579,
Yorktown-Cortlandt: Robert Brum, 914-666-6579,
Putnam: Robert Brum, 914-666-6579,
Rockland: Nicole Futterman, 845-578-2408,

Online Ad Director: Eileen Zaccagnino, 914-696-8463,
Director, Marketing and Client Solutions: Tessa Garcia, 914-694-5188,

Janet Hasson herself is married with one child, and her personal interests, as culled from her credit card records, are noted below:


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December 7, 2012

If you’re a Facebook user who values your personal privacy you’ll want to read this



Facebook, ever the defender of personal privacy, is giving users just a few days to vote down changes to their privacy policy. Failure to garner votes from 30% of Facebook’s users means the social media giant will no longer allow users to vote on privacy policy issues.

So, if you value your privacy on Facebook and want some small amount of control over what they do with YOUR personal information, vote now.

If you haven’t cast your vote by Monday, December 10th, 2012 you will be too late.

To quote the Yahoo News story about this:

So far, the vote stands at less than half a million, but is around six to one against the new Statement of Rights and Data Usage Policy.

The wording of the vote itself is not a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ – to vote against, users have to select, ‘Existing Documents: The current SRR and Data Use Policy’ as opposed to ‘Proposed Documents: The proposed SRR and Data Use Policy’.

Privacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Activism Director Rainey Reitman says, “The voting system currently in place doesn’t work; it is simply impossible to get 30% of the users (300 million individuals) to vote on anything on Facebook within 30 days.”

“The overwhelming majority of users participating in the vote right now are voting against removing the voting system.”

“We believe this shows that Facebook users are concerned that their voices will not be heard, and do not want to lose the ability have a say in site governance. While the vote may never end up binding Facebook, voters are sending a message about a serious concern, and one we hope Facebook respects and responds to.”

Facebook claims that the change is to streamline ‘voting’ in favour of a system that allows “meaningful feedback”.

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December 5, 2012

When Compliance with the Nanny State is More Important than Education



Andrea Hernandez just wants to get an education. She is, by all accounts I can find, a good student. She’s also a human being who understands we must never allow ourselves to be tracked like pieces of meat in a grocery store.

Andrea-Hernandez-protests-RFID-tracking-chips-250x198Andrea Hernandez decided that when her high school issued mandatory RFID-enabled high school ID cards, she would not be a sheep. Andrea Hernandez objects to the tracking chip for many reasons, including her personal right to privacy and also for religious reasons. For that Andrea is to be commended.

Andrea, backed by her parents, wrote a letter to the school expressing her Christian religious objections and was promptly told by school officials that “there will be consequences for refusal to wear an ID card.”

As a result of Andrea’s determination to be a free American citizen, her high school threatened to kick her out. For that, the bureaucratic thugs at John Jay High School ought to be ashamed of themselves.

In today’s Brave New America we are absolutely intolerant of individuality.

John Jay High School is one of many schools who want to track students’ every move inside school facilities. Why is beyond me, since kids have managed to get educated for centuries in America without being tracked like… well, like pieces of meat.

It makes sense to track pieces of meat through our food supply chains. Should something go horribly awry at the meat processing plant we can track down each and every bit of contaminated cow and destroy it.

That actually makes sense.

But tracking the movements of kids throughout the school, every minute of every day? Is this really necessary?

NO, it is not.

Unconditional obedience to the State is not an American value. In fact it’s the exact opposite of an American value, and that’s precisely why the incessant tracking of our children must be fought everywhere it rears its ugly Nanny State head.

Once found, that head should be cut off and mounted on a stick for all the world to see, perhaps with a sign underneath that says “Liberty Lives Here”…

It’s just a thought.

In reality, this isn’t actually about tracking the kids at all. Not really. It’s about money. Government money. And being good little bureaucratic minions, the San Antonio School District wants more government money. The path to that mythical pot of gold runs directly through student attendance records. The more kids they can prove are attending class, the more money they can beg from the government, hence the intense push to track the movements of every single student in John Jay High School.

The Rutherford Institute took on Andrea Hernandez’ case and filed a temporary restraining order against the high school. A Bexar County judge agreed, and for the moment Andrea is “allowed” to attend classes without the mandated RFID chip tracking her movements.

“The court’s willingness to grant a temporary restraining order is a good first step, but there is still a long way to go—not just in this case, but dealing with the mindset, in general, that everyone needs to be monitored and controlled,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute.

“Regimes in the past have always started with the schools, where they develop a compliant citizenry. These ‘Student Locator’ programs are ultimately aimed at getting students used to living in a total surveillance state where there will be no privacy, and wherever you go and whatever you text or email will be watched by the government.”

John Whitehead isn’t wrong.

This restraining order is only a temporary measure, however, and there is a long legal road ahead of Andrea and the Rutherford Institute.

If you feel strongly about the issue of personal privacy and wish to support Andrea Hernandez’ case, please contact Nisha Whitehead at the Rutherford Institute directly.

There is one final tidbit of hypocrisy to report, of course.

School officials quietly tried bribing Andrea Hernandez with an uninterrupted education if she would just wear a badge that did not contain the tracking chip so everyone would see her “compliance” with the Student Locator Project, as it’s so lovingly called.

My question is the obvious one, of course.

If it’s okay for Andrea not to wear the tracking chip ID card, why should everyone else wear one?

Oh silly me. What was I thinking??? Think of all the money they’ll lose of every student refuses to comply, just like Andrea!

How will we train kids to be good little automatons if we allow them to think for themselves, protect their personal privacy and have their own thoughts on religion?

How very anti-Nanny State of me.

I’m sure the censors will be coming for me shortly…

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November 20, 2012

Your Right to be Free of Unreasonable Search and Seizure does not apply in bars or other private establishments



A 2005 court ruling by the Alberta Court of Appeal makes it clear that bar staff of a privately-owned business cannot be considered “agents of the state” when they detain and search you on private property.

Judge-250x197The decision in R. v. Dell (2005 ABCA 246) is an interesting read and makes a clear distinction between private individuals employed by a private company and police or other agents of the state.

Brian Matthew Dell was discovered in the bathroom stall of a Calgary bar with a film canister that contained rock cocaine. He was found by a bouncer employed by the bar, whose duties included checking the bathroom every 15 minutes to ensure they were clean and there were no unsafe or illegal activities going on.

Mr. Dell’s attorney argued that the search by bar staff and subsequent detention until police arrived to arrest him was a violation of his Charter rights. He wanted the evidence against him, the canister of cocaine, tossed out because of that alleged Charter violation.

In upholding Mr. Dell’s conviction and denying the appeal, Madame Justice Fruman wrote the following:

[25] The Charter was instituted, in part, to address situations in which the administration of justice is called into disrepute. For this reason, remedies such as exclusion of evidence were crafted.There is no “administration of justice” involved in the momentary detention of Dell in the washroom. Dell argues that because the consequences of the detention and resulting search are grave(admission of the cocaine evidence), the Charter should apply. But Charter application depends on government action, not the severity of the consequences. Incriminating evidence collected by private persons is routinely admitted at trial without Charter scrutiny. In Shafie, supra,it was argued that although private action may not trigger the application of the Charter, when the state later proposes to use the evidence as part of a prosecution, the earlier Charter breach should engage s. 24(2) of the Charter. The Court rejected this argument, noting at p. 34 that the question whether a person’s Charter rights were infringed must be tested at the time the alleged detention occurred.


[26] In summary, unlike citizen’s arrest, investigative detention cannot be reasonably construed to be a specific government function that has been delegated to private citizens. Therefore, the principles on which Lerke is based, and the government function exception recognized in Buhay,do not apply to extend Charter protection to investigative detention. Moreover, sound policy reasons dictate that no such extension should be made.

[27] Borrowing from the language of Buhay at para. 28, the bouncer’s work may overlap with the government’s interest in preventing and investigating crime. However, it cannot be said that in conducting a brief investigative detention, the bouncer was acting as a delegate of the government,carrying out its policies and programs. Accordingly, the Charter does not apply to the actions of the bouncer in detaining Dell, or the search and seizure flowing from the detention. The cocaine evidence was properly admitted. I would therefore dismiss the appeal of the conviction for possession of cocaine.)

In concurring with Madame Justice Fruman, Justice Côté wrote the following:

B. The Common Law

[30]R. v. Lerke is reported as (1986) 67 A.R. 390, 24 C.C.C. (3d) 129 (C.A.). That case held thata citizen’s arrest is carried out under authority historically derived from the sovereign as a citizen’s duty to help keep the King’s Peace, and later merely codified in the Petty Trespass Act (or s. 494(1)of the Criminal Code). So such arrest is a state function and subject to the Charter. Does the Lerkecase help one to decide that a temporary detention by a private citizen is subject to the Charter?

[31] I suggest that it does not, because the bouncer’s right here may not exist and is regulated only by private law, and has no trace in public law rights or duties.

[32] No one suggests that the King’s Peace, or common-law obligations to arrest felons, extended to mere temporary detention to investigate. The common-law citizen’s right to arrest certainly did not, because it only extended to actual felonies, not suspected ones, nor even a reasonable appearance of a felony, which in fact had not occurred: Walters v. W.H. Smith & Son (1913) 110L.T. 345.


He went on to write:

[36] Temporary detention by private employees,whether legal or not, is private and depends upon the private rights of the detainee and the business owner. If (as here) there is no question of a public breach of the peace, the topic has nothing to do with the King’s command, the King’s Peace, or any duty owed to the sovereign. That is precisely the distinction made in R. v. Lerke, supra. When a citizen arrests another for a crime, he acts under duty to the sovereign, and the person arrested must be brought to a justice or a constable, so that a court proceeding in the name of the sovereign may be started. Any penalty is exacted by or for the government. Neither the complainant nor the victim nor the citizen arresting is a party to that criminal proceeding: R. v. Lerke, supra, at para. 22. What the bouncer did here in the washroom,and the resulting wait of 2-5 minutes, involved no such duty. Temporary detention does not require court proceedings, nor lead to any right or duty to have a prosecution.

[37] It also follows that debates about whether the bouncer had the right to and did detain the appellant in the washroom for 2-5 minutes, whether he exceeded reasonable protection of property,and whether the appellant consented, all take place in the context of torts law (and maybe the other side of that coin, property law). They have nothing to do with constitutional law.

[38] Indeed, it is arguable that the very concept of detention exists in our law only when a police officer or a government official detains, not a private citizen. See the discussion in R. v. M.R.M.[1998] 3 S.C.R. 393, 233 N.R. 1 (paras. 66-68); 355-6 (para. 12), 40 C.C.C. (3d) 411, 417-18.

Given these decisions, it would be wise to remember when you are out in public, that even though you are in a public place, it is owned and run by a private business, and some of your Charter rights do not extend so far as extinguishing their Charter Rights and Freedoms.

I would suggest, if this subject is of interest, that you read the following decisions for a sound grasp of the limits of your Rights and Freedoms in terms of search and seizure by private citizens.

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October 27, 2012

Road Procing – A new tax to pay what our gasoline taxes supposedly pay for, with added bonus of spying on us 24×7



Government is innately wasteful. It’s a simple enough concept to understand really.

When a group of people are not accountable for the money they spend there is no incentive to spend that money wisely.

While a simple concept, bureaucrats and politicians routinely show they cannot comprehend it.

Take the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) and TransLink. These two thoroughly unaccountable groups continually waste millions and millions of dollars doing God knows what and for what reason. What is unassailable is that they waste money like there’s no tomorrow. TransLink, for example, continually runs deficits despite never actually paying attention to what commuters in the Greater Vancouver area want.

That would be roads that make commuting faster and more sensible, just in case anyone cares, not bicycle lanes on the Burrard Street Bridge.

No, bicycle lanes are mandatory not so much because cyclists demand them, but because TransLink signed on to the Seville Charter, an agreement that requires cities to make “transportation networks more conducive to cycling.”

The document aimed at the national and transnational level underlining the benefits of cycling as a daily mode of transport, citing improved health, reduced traffic congestion, significantly cheaper infrastructure, and lowered transport emissions among many other advantages.

Stripped of its politically-correct double-speak, what that means is simply social re-engineering, or making we mere citizens do what “our betters” want us to do.

Forget the notion that cars make up the overwhelming majority of transportation on our roads and bridges. That’s irrelevant, since the overriding thought of these unelected bureaucrats is that people shouldn’t be driving cars in the first place. It’s unhealthy according to them so we must be moved out of our cars, no matter what.

The latest strategy by these social engineering buffoons is to add ANOTHER tax onto those evil people who still dare drive a vehicle on public roads called “Road Pricing”.

Essentially this plan is being proposed for two reasons. First, as I have already mentioned, is the social engineering they deem necessary, and second, as a way of generating more revenue to do what they’ve already taxed us to death on: mass transit.

The GVRD already taxes vehicle drivers 15 cents per liter of gasoline to pay for these programs, whether we use them or not. They already have in place additional taxes on property and land grants that allow them to charge a premium for parking when using the transit system, yet the still do not have enough money for their grand schemes.

Shocking, isn’t it? Okay, no it’s not even remotely shocking. It’s typical of the bureaucratic mindset.

“We’ll just raise taxes to cover the shortfall.”

Since the GVRD and TransLink are unaccountable to anyone and spend money like it’s rain falling from the sky, they naturally need more money since the millions they already steal from British Columbians is not enough to cover their wasteful spending.

“Road Pricing” is their latest scheme that would require every single vehicle to be equipped with a GPS transponder so government would know where your vehicle is at all times. Whenever your vehicle crosses an arbitrary border or travels on a road they deem “taxable”, you would be sent a bill.

They conveniently forget that the gasoline tax and the special addition to our property tax is already in place and was supposed to pay for these agencies.

Let me say that again. These agencies have already added taxes on gas and property to cover their expenses.

They are so inept at managing their resources, however, that they must now pass an additional tax scheme that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to implement, not to mention create another layer of bureaucracy to track every vehicle, and therefor every person, in the Lower Mainland.

Setting aside the obvious privacy considerations that should mean an automatic “NO!” be screamed by every single British Columbian, these bureaucrats want to be paid twice for the work they didn’t do the first time.

How typical. How predictable.

How despicable.

Frank Hilliard made some interesting points recently in his article “Road Pricing Needs to be Strangled at Birth“.

OK, now why is all this extremely dangerous, anti-democratic and anti-libertarian? It’s dangerous because this system will allow the government to monitor the movement of everyone in the area. No matter where you go, what you do, who you see; everything will go into a giant database. All the personal freedoms we now enjoy will go out the window.

Secondly, every road regulation you break will be automatically recorded. If you’ve ever checked your speed against a GPS (and who hasn’t) you know it’s almost impossible to not break the speed limit even if you’re trying hard to comply (and who is). This means that instead of just taxing you for the kilometers you’re traveling, they’ll be able to fine you for EVERY little infraction you made along the way.

And thirdly, the basic idea is anti democratic. Why should car drivers be asked to pay for bus riders anyway? If car drivers wanted to ride the bus, they would! If they wanted to pay for a Translink pass, they would. The fact is car owners want to use their cars, not the local bus system.

This is what so infuriates urban planners, politicians and cultural Marxists. The private automobile gives people a freedom they NEVER had before it arrived. They want to shut that down and go back to the 1890’s when you had to take mass transportation if you wanted to travel.

They want control. Road pricing is all about control.

We need to kill this monster in its crib before it gets out, grows up and ends Canadian liberties.


Amen, Frank.

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October 13, 2012

Privacy: We don’t care about it until the invasion of privacy gets up close and personal


We live in a strange age.

We don’t care that airport security screeners take what amounts to naked pictures of us with their “porn scanners” before allowing us to board our flight, something that was unimaginable just ten short years ago.

We think nothing of posting our most private and intimate thoughts to Twitter or Facebook for the world to see.  We happily share photographs of our daily lives to these same social media sites without a single thought as to who might use these photos to do us harm.

We don’t even care that we are photographed by total strangers dozens or even hundreds of times a day by governments and corporations without our consent.

These same corporations and their RFID chips track our every purchase and even movements about their stores, yet we are unconcerned.

Our cell phones, the devices we just can’t live without, can be turned against us in a heartbeat yet we blissfully and ignorantly carry on as though there is nothing to be concerned about.

Yet when the invasion of privacy is up close an personal, when we can see the person tracking us,  suddenly we get our knickers in a twist and the world comes to an end.

Yet the unseen trackers, photographers and cell phone recorders don’t cross our minds for a moment…  Out of sight, out of mind, as the saying goes.

Perhaps our thoughts and priorities around personal privacy need to change.

YouTube user “IBMeddling” created a fantastic video that highlights this point.

Will how you operate in your daily life change after watching this short video?  I hope so.


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September 10, 2012

Freedoms: Yours Until They Are Stolen

People don’t give a whit about freedom as long as they naively believe the government is not goring their ox, which, they painfully discover with time, it was their own personal inalienable rights that were stealthily chipped away in silence until those freedoms no longer exist.

Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemöller

Frequently, freedom-lovers allude to the famous “First They Came For” passage that refers to the dark 1930s, when Nazi Fuhrer Adolf Hitler was stoking up a full head of steam for his relentless rampage to enslave and conquer the world.

The chilling quote which warns of the dire consequences awaiting those who do not speak up, was penned by Lutheran clergyman Martin Niemöller (see his biography on page 6 of Rights and Freedoms Bulletin #91, June 30, 2012)

“In Germany, they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
“Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
“Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
“Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
“Then they came for me, and by that time, nobody was left to speak up.”

For some inexplicable reason man has a nasty habit of wanting to repeat history in the name of “progressivism”.

By inserting altered passages into the “First They Came For” theme that are appropriate to a present-day context, it is easy to see how the cunning globalists, through brainwashing techniques, are successfully managing to repeat history by stealing individual freedoms while the masses sleep.

Here are some examples:

First they came for the petroleum industry, and you didn’t speak up because you were against big business polluting and making profits.

Then they came for the fur industry, and you didn’t speak up because you weren’t a trapper whose livelihood depended on the markets and working on the land.

Then they came for the tobacco industry, and you didn’t speak up because you aren’t a smoker and hate those who are.

Then they came for the corporations’ rights to advertise and promote in print, electronically and on billboards or to sponsor whoever they choose, but you didn’t speak up because you don’t own a business.

Then they stripped the tobacco companies of their intellectual property rights, such as packaging designs and logos, but you didn’t speak up because you don’t own–and don’t intend to own–any copyrights or patents. (However, once it is established in precedent-setting law that the government can ban intellectual property, then it has the vehicle to use to confiscate any and all of an individual’s intellectual, personal and fee simple property.)

Then they did confiscate fee simple mineral claims, and you didn’t speak up because you’re not a miner or prospector whose livelihood depends on the land.

Then they came for the forestry industry, and you didn’t speak up because you’re not a logger whose livelihood depends on the land.

Then they told the farmers where and for how much to sell their grain, and you didn’t speak up because you’re not an agronomist.

Then they came for the farmlands, and you didn’t speak up because you’re not a farmer whose livelihood depends on the land.

Then they came for the ranchers who depend on land to run their herds, and you didn’t speak up because you don’t raise livestock.

Then they came for the firearms, and you didn’t speak up because you’re not a gun owner and don’t like those who are.

Then they came after the churches, and you didn’t speak up because you’re not a religious person.

Then they took away 5,000 people’s mailing addresses in one town, and you didn’t speak up because you still had your postal address and the post office wasn’t losing your cheques and personal letters.

Then they passed one piece of evil legislation, treaty and policy after another through the parliamentary factories and United Nations Councils that dictate what you can and cannot do with your property, how you will behave, what you can speak and write, what you can eat, wear and own, where you can live, and what kind of light bulbs you can use, and you didn’t speak up because you weren’t paying attention.

Then they came forward with unfounded accusations and charged innocent people unjustly in the courts, and you didn’t speak up because you selfishly didn’t care what they did to somebody else as long as it wasn’t you who was being persecuted and prosecuted.

One day, they will surely come for you and your mind, intellectual, personal and real property, land, business, home, vehicles, money, and other valuables — even your children — then they’ll go for your soul, which they will conquer because you aren’t a spiritual person.

By then, nobody will be left to speak up in your defence.

You get the idea how the demonizing game works.

As Niemöller warned, people cannot rely on others to fight their fight.

You and you alone are personally responsible for vigilance in protecting your freedoms which are only yours until you let somebody else come along and steal them from you.

Yours in Liberty,

Jane Gaffin — Whitehorse, Yukon

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August 24, 2012

BC’s RCMP Despise Your Right to Privacy

Cst. Jamie Weber of East Kootenay Traffic Services stands beside an RCMP vehicle equipped with an Automatic License Plate Recognition system.

Most people believe they have a right to personal privacy and that the government doesn’t need to know their whereabouts every moment of every day.

Most people would be wrong.

Cst. Jamie Weber of East Kootenay Traffic Services stands beside an RCMP vehicle equipped with an Automatic License Plate Recognition system.

Take, for example, the BC RCMP’s plan for using license plate recording scanners to build a database of the movements of citizens who have done absolutely nothing wrong just because you might do something wrong in the future.

In other parts of the world we would decry the violation of civil rights and be aghast at the police state antics of those nations;  here at home it’s just yawn… nothing to see here… business as usual as the Thought Police set up shop across the province.

Sounds ridiculous?  If you believe so then you really need to pay a lot closer attention to what the RCMP is saying.

It can be used to either validate an alibi, or it can be used to find information on a suspect,” said Supt. Denis Boucher, head of the provincial E-Division traffic services.

So you just happened to be driving by a crime scene at roughly the time a crime is committed.  You’re now automatically a suspect even though you had nothing to do with the crime and were, in fact, driving home for an afternoon with the wife because you got off work early.

Hmmm… sounds pretty darned suspicious… and a huge waste of police resources tracking down and questioning people who have done nothing.

The list could help to check the whereabouts of suspects, Boucher said. “We’re interviewing a suspect in a homicide and he says, ‘I was nowhere near that crime scene,’ and we run his plate and lo and behold, we have a picture of him two blocks from a crime scene,” he offered as an example.

Is that really the best you’ve got, Supt. Boucher?  You need to build a database of every citizen just in case it might help you solve a crime, some day?  Didn’t we just waste $2 billion based on that very premise?  It was called the long gun registry, and it never once helped solve a crime according to government sources.

Sounds like a mighty fine reason to waste a ton more of taxpayer dollars, don’t you think?

Don’t you just feel so much better knowing the RCMP is tracking the whereabouts of every law-abiding citizen in the province?


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February 17, 2012

Vic Toews: Politicians, like diapers, should be changed often, and for the same reason

Come Back with a Warrant

While claiming it’s perfectly reasonable for the government to spy on its citizens, the shoe is clearly on the other foot in a lovely social media twist that makes a point to Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews.

Toews is very cranky over how his personal life and details of his divorce, infidelity and lack of child support is being displayed very publicly on a Twitter account called @Vikileaks30.  While nobody knows yet who created the account, the industrious genius behind it is using social media to show Minister Toews exactly what it feels like to have his privacy invaded.  Breaking news has reported that an IP address from Parliament itself was used to create the account and post updates, so someone is probably about to lose their job for doing what is ostensibly a public service.

Others are using the Twitter hashtag #TellVicEverything to make a mockery of the Minister’s apparent need to know everything about everyone.

Personally, I think it’s an absolutely wonderful thing for the Minister to get this first-hand taste of what he has in store for all Canadians should his atrocious and invasive legislation, Bill C-30, actually pass in its current state.

Warrantless searches are not something Canadians should tolerate or be subjected to at the whim of a police member “suspecting” someone may or may not have done something. If the police believe someone is committing or has committed a crime, they should be required to get a search warrant.  Anything less is a violation of our Charter Rights and is 100% unacceptable.

I suppose Minister Toews believes warrantless searches are okay because other legislation passed by previous governments already contain such horrific clauses.  Canada’s Firearms Act, for example, makes provision for police to search the homes of lawful firearm owners without a warrant simply because they own a certain number of firearms.

That is and has always been unacceptable to Canadian firearm owners.  If we can jump through all the bureaucratic hoops, pass CPIC and RCMP background checks, then why do police require the ability to search our homes without a warrant?

If we’ve passed all those checks, clearly we’re NOT the problem.  Yet one look at the Ian Thomson case shows just how poorly a legitimate firearm owner is treated when he dares use one of his firearms to save his own life from three masked fire-bombers screaming death threats and tossing Molotov cocktails at his home.

Warrantless searches are perfectly okay though, according to Minister Vic Toews, as are stripping us of our Right to Remain Silent.  Just like the Firearms Act, the proposed Bill C-30 contains the provision requiring you to assist someone who is searching your home with or without a warrant.

Duty to assist

(3) The owner or person in charge of the place and every person in the place must give all assistance that is reasonably required to enable the inspector to perform their functions under this section and must provide any documents or information, and access to any data, that are reasonably required for that purpose.

Anyone who does not side with him, as in the case of Bill C-30, are obviously just child pornographers that haven’t been caught yet, right?  That is patently absurd, if not downright an abuse of his position, and an insult to every single Canadian who holds their Right to Privacy near and dear.

Vic Toews had the gall to stand in Parliament and say Canadians “can either stand with us or with the child pornographers,” as though the privacy concerns of regular, decent Canadians are of absolutely no importance at all.

A man of any decency would be ashamed of himself for making such a comparison, but it seems the Minister is not such a man.

Naturally, he denied making the statement until he was confronted with his own words on videotape, but that’s hardly surprising for a politician, is it?


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