March 31 – Toronto, Canada
Citizen Lab Research Associate Christopher Parsons joined The Agenda with Steve Paikin to discuss the controversial Bill C-51, anti-terrorism legislation passed by the previous Conservative government. He joined a panel to discuss potential changes to the law, which has been used by agencies like the RCMP and Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police to petition for new powers to access telephone and Internet data.
November 10 – Toronto, Canada
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) plans to send text messages to individuals who were present in the particular neighbourhood in which a homicide occurred, in an attempt to gain more information in solving the crime. Postdoctoral Fellow Christopher Parsons commented on the use and storage of this data.
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.
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.
The United States Department of Homeland Security has filed a proposal to collect social media details from visitors to the country. Citizen Lab Postdoctoral Fellow Christopher Parsons commented on the privacy implications of the proposal, as well as broader trends in social media monitoring by security officials.
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.
Citizen Lab Postdoctoral Fellow Christopher Parsons reviewed documents on BlackBerry for the CBC, and was interviewed by VICE on Canada’s RCMP’s use of IMSI catchers.
Access My Info (AMI), a web tool used to submit disclosure requests to telecommunications providers on the data they collect and share with third parties about their customers, launched in Hong Kong.