Wikipedia defines phishing as "a way of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites, auction sites, online payment processors or IT administrators are commonly used to lure the unsuspecting public."
How is that any different than Stephen Harper's phishing exercise:
Critics take aim at Harper's online surveillance bill
By Sarah Schmidt,
Postmedia News February 15, 201
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper called on parliamentarians Tuesday to stand firm against child pornography and support a contentious bill that will require telecommunications companies to hand over customer information to police without a court order.
But opposition parties hit back hard by predicting the new bill will lead to an infringement of the privacy of Canadians, saying it will allow police to build a detailed profile of people, including law-abiding citizens, using their digital footprint — without any judicial oversight. They also blasted one of Harper's senior ministers who told a critic of the bill he "can either stand with us or with the child pornographers."
Even Ontario's privacy commissioner called the government's attempt to sell this bill as an effort to protect children from predators as "fear-mongering" and "spreading fear."
At issue is the government's "lawful access" legislation tabled in the House of Commons Tuesday. The legislation, newly branded by the government as the "Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act" but dubbed "online spying" by critics, is expected to pass under a Conservative majority government.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews inflamed matters Monday by saying that an opponent of the bill "can either stand with us or with the child pornographers." This comment dominated Question Period, with opposition parties calling on Harper to explain them.
"A Conservative minister accuses people who are worried about an unjustified government intrusion in their personal lives as in favour of child pornography. They're going off the rails. The question is, is this being managed by the prime minister?" asked interim NDP leader Nycole Turmel.
"With regard to child pornography, our party is totally against it and I encourage the NDP to adopt the same position," replied Harper, who invoked the protection of children in response to more questions from interim Liberal leader Bob Rae about lumping Canada's privacy commissioners in with "friends of child pornographers."
"It is important that among the provinces there really is an all-party consensus on this. I hope Parliament will study this bill carefully and make sure we do what is best for our children and our law enforcement agencies," Harper responded.
Toews, when pressed by reporters Tuesday, said that to characterize an opponent of the legislation as standing with child pornographers "is not a fair comment," claiming he never made such comments in the House of Commons Monday.
The bill will require Internet service providers and cellphone companies to install equipment for real-time surveillance and will create new police powers designed to access the surveillance data. This means police can order a telecom company to preserve data for a specified period, but must first obtain a warrant to read the actual content.
The bill will allow for the warrantless access to subscriber information — a provision that triggered a sustained campaign last year by the federal and provincial privacy commissioners to get it scrapped from the bill before the Conservatives re-introduced it. An earlier version of the bill died when the federal election was called last spring.
Currently, telecom companies can provide the personal information of customers on a voluntary basis. Companies turn over the information to law enforcement agencies in about 95 per cent of cases, but the turnaround time takes an average of 13 days, Toews told reporters Tuesday.
"The point here is this can no longer be discretionary on the part of telecommunication service providers, especially when children's lives are at stake. It's clear we need a better system," said Toews.
In addition to name, address, phone number, email address and name of service provider identifier, the bill will require companies to hand over the Internet protocol address.
The government has dropped a series of device-identification numbers from the list of basic information that must be handed over if police ask. Those numbers can facilitate the tracking of a person's movement through the location of their cellphone.
Ontario's privacy commissioner, Ann Cavoukian, called the removal of device identification numbers and a strengthened oversight system with regular audits as a "small victory." But Cavoukian said warrantless access to customers' basic subscriber information is "completely unacceptable."
"Once you have something like an IP address or some other number, that can facilitate connection with other pieces of information: websites that you visit, what activities you're engage in, what sites you surf, what you read, the videos you look at, who you connect with. It's these kinds of connections, these data linkages that can form a very detailed personal profile that can be extremely revealing," said Cavoukian.
"The police can do this on law-abiding citizens. They don't have to make the case that there's been an infraction here and they go before a judge to make the case and get a warrant. I have no problem with them going after the bad guys — of course not. I want them to do that. But that is not what warrantless access entails. And what I take great personal offense at is Minister Toews comparing all the privacy commissioners, saying we're on the side of child pornographers," said Cavoukian.
Chantal Bernier, assistant privacy commissioner of Canada, echoed Cavoukian's concerns, while characterizing the two changes as "improvements."
"But the privacy concern remains, which is the warrantless access to personal information," Bernier said in an interview.
"They're going to the personal information behind the IP address without a warrant and without a framework that limits this to criminal activity, which means, as we read that provision now, it can capture any law-abiding citizen," said Bernier, who said it's grossly unfair to peg any critic of the bill as standing with child pornographers.
"What I would reply to you is that, of course, privacy can never ever, ever stand in the way of protecting children, but that is not the issue here. The issue is warrantless access to anyone's personal information in Section 16 of the bill."
Friday, February 17, 2012
Posted by Brent Fullard at 8:30 AM