Author Archives: Christopher Parsons

Canada’s National Security Consultation: Digital Anonymity & Subscriber Identification Revisited… Yet Again

In this post, we critically examine the Government of Canada’s proposal to indiscriminately access subscriber identity information that is possessed by telecommunications service providers. We conclude by arguing that the government has failed to justify its case for such access to the information.

IMSI Catcher Report Calls for Transparency, Proportionality, and Minimization Policies

This report, written by Research Associate Christopher Parsons and CIPPIC Staff lawyer Tamir Israel, investigates the surveillance capabilities of IMSI Catchers, efforts by states to prevent information relating to IMSI Catchers from entering the public record, and the legal and policy frameworks that govern the use of these devices. The report principally focuses on Canadian agencies but, to do so, draws comparative examples from other jurisdictions. The report concludes with a series of recommended transparency and control mechanisms that are designed to properly contain the use of the devices and temper their more intrusive features.

Release: DIY Transparency Report Tool

The DIY Transparency Report tool helps smaller organizations produce holistic transparency reports. Such reports comprehensively explain to customers, citizens, and government agencies alike how an organization can, and does, receive and respond to government requests. It does so by guiding organizational members through the process of developing a holistic report, while empowering them to customize their reports to reflect their organizational profile. And, critically, the tool is entirely open source and operates where the organization decides, so sensitive information is never disclosed to another party until the organization makes that decision.

Canada’s Quiet History Of Weakening Communications Encryption

This article, written by Postdoctoral Fellow Christopher Parsons and CIPPIC Staff lawyer Tamir Israel, analyzes how successive federal governments of Canada have actively sought to weaken the communications encryption available to Canadians. The article covers regulations imposed on mobile telecommunications providers, state authorities’ abilities to compel decryption keys from telecommunications providers writ large, and Canada’s signals intelligence agency’s deliberate propagation of flawed encryption protocols.

The Governance of Telecommunications Surveillance

The report, authored by Postdoctoral Fellow Christopher Parsons, examines how contemporary telecommunications surveillance is governed in Canada. He concludes that serious failures in transparency and accountability indicate that corporations are failing to manage Canadians’ personal information responsibly and that government irresponsibility surrounding accountability strains its credibility and aggravates citizens’ cynicism about the political process.

Christopher Parsons on the effectiveness of telecommunications transparency reports

Christopher Parsons, post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab and managing director of the Telecom Transparency Project, has published a draft paper analyzing the effectiveness of the ‘transparency reports’ that Canadian telecommunications companies released in 2014.

The Canadian SIGINT Summaries

The Canadian SIGINT Summaries includes downloadable copies, along with summary, publication, and original source information, of leaked CSE documents.

Canadian Cyberbullying Legislation Threatens to Further Legitimize Malware Sales

By getting into the malware business the federal and potentially provincial governments of Canada would be confronted with an ongoing reality: is the role of government to maximally protect its citizens, including from criminals leveraging vulnerabilities to spy on Canadians, or is it to partially protect citizens so long as such protections do not weaken the state’s ability to secure itself from persons suspected of violating any Act of Parliament?

Responding to the Crisis in Canadian Telecommunications

In this post we explain how Canadians can issue requests to their telecommunications companies to learn what personal information those companies collect, retain, and disclose about them. We argue that Canadians should do this both to empower themselves and to enable Canadian policy experts and government officials to better hold the companies to account.

Christopher Parsons on national security, digital infrastructure, and transparency issues

Christopher Parsons was interviewed by a number of news outlets throughout April, loosely on the subjects of national security, critical digital infrastructure, and government transparency.