Telcos ask Canadian govt for right to secretly install spyware, listen in on your network connection

16 posts / 0 new
Last post
Telcos ask Canadian govt for right to secretly install spyware, listen in on your network connection

...yet the Liberal motion would allow for the collection of personal information on a computer without authorization...right down to scanning for and removing computer programs - without permission. ...

Read the full article at the above link and PLEASE contact your MP and voice your opposition!

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

The article quotes Michael Geist:

Michael Geist wrote:

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

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


Meanwhile, the sultans of spam are looking to have their business protected by Bill C-27:


The Canadian Marketing Association is lobbying MPs to change an anti-spam bill so that consumers have to opt out of receiving commercial email messages, rather than opting in to get them.

In a message sent to its 800 corporate members - which include Costco, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, Home Depot and Rogers - on Thursday, the CMA urged companies to get in touch with their local MPs to demand changes to the proposed legislation, which is expected to enter a critical phase on Monday.

The current draft of Bill C-27 will require a marketer to obtain a consumer's consent, whether implied or explicit, before sending them an email. The CMA says this clause will limit companies' ability to prospect for new customers or grow their businesses.



Sean in Ottawa

It is absolutely impossible to suppose that the collection of personal informaiton could be limited. Limiting it to only when there is an investigation for the breaches of the laws of Canada is an interesting concept.

So the private company wants to shut down a certain user who has opinions being expressed that the corporation does not like-- the inestigation can start. In the course of that investigation certain other things may be found-- accidentally of course. Certain mistakes may happen, perhaps oops by mistake of course the person's computer won't work any more. You can look anywhere for criminality. Why not automate the process completely and look everywhere? There is plenty of resources to monitor anyone and everyone. The excuse of searching for criminality is meaningless when this is in the hands of a private corporation with private interests. There is a reason why traditionally such searches would ahve required a court order, a judge, the ability to defend yourself in law.

Once we have the precident of absolute control and monitoring of your computer at the whim of a private company. Why not remove those pesky requirements for court orders for anythign else? We all know that the computer is now where we store our most private things. Why assume any privacy at all? Why not require that any time you change the keys to your house you should drop off a copy at the local "corporate" office? Let them come in any time to inspect and see if you are doing anything illegal. It would keep us safe from terrorists. We could snuggle into our beds safe and secure in the knowledge that some friend of the government might barge either into our home or our computer (what is the difference) to check and see that we are safe. If we were to write in an email that they themselves were terrorists then they could come and clean up such a misunderstanding.

Imagine the possibilities such a tool can have? I wrote more about this in the Moving left 2 thread as it became apparent that they are related topics.


The title of the thread is misleading, implying that somehow currently the copyright owners do not have the right to do so. Actually, it is the opposite: current legislation allows the copyright owners to collect personal information. Bill C-27 meant to block such access without consent. And Liberals are trying to water it down on behalf of their corpoate masters.

See Michael Geist's weblog for details:


radiorahim radiorahim's picture

That's a definite argument in favour of "free as in freedom" software.

If you use "free as in freedom" software you (if you have the skills) or someone else who does have the skills has access to the software source code and can find out what that software is doing on your computer.   They will then have a means by which to turn off or defeat malicious corporate spyware.

But as long as people use proprietary software and nobody in the general public has access to the source code, it will always be possible for corporations to install malicious software on our computers without us knowing about it.


Sean in Ottawa

Interestingly-- when the Chinese were talking about similar software being built into computers there we all jumped all over them for that.

Tigana Tigana's picture

Contacted MP and relayed info and links to staffer -  thank you!

LaurelRusswurm LaurelRusswurm's picture

@Sean in Ottawa

I'm new here and I'm curious what the "moving left 2" thread is, since it would probably also be of interest to me.


Its the "scanning for and removing computer programs" powers being given to to the telecom providers that worries me.  Next to that spam is nothing....  Is that maybe the real strategy? 

Frighten us all so badly that none of us will have the energy to complain about the three year grace period? That would be "grace" for the company we've left,not "grace" gor us.... since they will be allowed 3 years to spam us to try to win us back before we can stop them.  So having now moved my phone service away from Bell (to help pay for impending UBB increases) Bell will still be allowed to paper me with spam for 3 years after.   Isn't it funny that they could possibly need so long.  They certainly recycle phone numbers in a matter of months, so why can they harass an ex customer for a matter of years?

Call me crazy, but I can't see giving Bell Canada the right to:

  • ferret out wrongdoing,
  • decide what is a criminal behaviour, and then
  • punishing it as they see fit

as being a good thing.

Isn't that what laws are for? Probable cause and warrants and habeas corpus and funny outdated notions like civil rights?

Its bad enough giving law enforcement agencies draconian powers to fight terrorism, but at least they have the life or death excuse.

Giving private companies similarly draconian powers to fight copyright infringement is just... just... just...



NOTE: I've included a list of al MPs involved in the law with email address links on:



Tigana Tigana's picture

The buried connection between Bell Canada and AT&T would be worth exploring. 

And if you are using Bell's 2Wire, be aware that your personal info and other things may already be based in the USA.


[url=]Revisiting Echelon: The NSA's Clandestine Data Mining Program[/url]

Mike Frost, who spent 20 years as a spy for the CSE, the Canadian equivalent of the National Security Agency, told the news program 60 Minutes in February 2000 how Echelon routinely eavesdrops on many average people at any given moment and how, depending on what you say either in an email or over the telephone, you could end up on an NSA watch list. "While I was at CSE, a classic example: A lady had been to a school play the night before, and her son was in the school play and she thought he did a - a lousy job. Next morning, she was talking on the telephone to her friend, and she said to her friend something like this, 'Oh, Danny really bombed last night,' just like that," Frost said. "The computer spit that conversation out. The analyst that was looking at it was not too sure about what the conversation was referring to, so erring on the side of caution, he listed that lady and her phone number in the database as a possible terrorist.". . .

Echelon: USA, Canada, UK, NZ, Australia

[url=]Communications Security Establishment Canada[/url]


[url=]CSE authorized to spy on the lives of Canadians[/url] And we already know they're not interested in white collar crooks or catching corporate tax evaders. Stop Richard Nixoning us, you CSE spooks!

LaurelRusswurm LaurelRusswurm's picture

@michelle... thanks for merging the threads.  Unfortunately my last few months have involved putting one set of fires after another out.  I haven't had any time at all to sit and think or relax, and haven't had the time I'd like to find my way around here.  But these things are important and they must be talked about.

I don't doubt that governments- even our government - have some scary toys at their disposal.

Before this war on terror nonsense, we were at a point where civil rights were respected.  Or at least they gave the appearsnce of respecting civil rights.  I don't doubt that there were abuses, but when they were brought into the light there would be outrage and crack downs.

Don't get me wrong, the twin tower bombing was a terrible thing.  But if you think about it, the terrorists succeeded far more wildly than they could have possibly imagined.  They didn't just knock down a few buildings and kill a few thousand people, they changed our society with terror.

Because our governments have followed fear choices (which are after all the terrorists intention) and suspended civil rights and thrown out laws designed to protect citizens.  Legal systems that were developed over hundreds of years of trial and error have been turned upside down.  Safeguards designed to prevent prosecutorial abuse have been turned on their ears.

It is exceptionally important that we fight against laws allowing anyone access to personal information without judicial oversight.  As has been pointed out by Fidel, things can easily be taken out of context.

My grandparents fled Russia after the revolution.  The berlin wall is down now.  We're supposed to be living on the civilized side,  Growing up on the cold war I as a kid I considered moving to a wasteland somewhere and living off the land to be out of the line of fire.  But then I came to the realization that doing that would mean I wouldn't get to have the life I wanted, so I had to decide to suck it up and have a life. 

As a society we have to say, "Hey you dumb terrorists... we're not going to let terror take away our humanity and our remove our rights and freedoms." 

(I'm a mom... maybe there's been a bit too much Robert Munch in my life)

Canadians are on the whole too trusting and complacent.  A big problem with the technical stuff is that too many of us don't know what's going on.  So it's especially important that we don't leyt them make any of this stuff legal. That's why I've been so aghast at all the dreadful aspects of the Usage Based Billing to the poiint of spending too much of my life doing my public service Stop Usage Based Billing blog.

Letting corporations like Bell Canada spy on us through our internet would be terrible.  Allowing a corporation to have that much power ober a populace is insane.  DPI is bad enough and going to be abused enough by Bell.  But if the law allows it Canada would end up worst than the worst of the Soviet Union. (Because after all, if they can spy on people through the internet using DPI, they can just as easily spy on politicians and their friens and family...

OK, I'm dropping with datigue here...forgive me if I'm rambling I should be sleeping.  (Maybe I am :) ) i'm gonna try to take a month off to regroup so I am likely to pop up even less here until december.

Take care and don't let 'em pull any fast ones.  (Have you heard the one about Wind Mobile?  If there isn't a thread there ought to be. 

Goodnight john-boy.




I know what you mean, Laurel. I've been paranoid since at least the start of the 2000's. I'd been working in IT for a few years by 2000 when I first took a gander at US CALEA protocol manual for wiretap. I was working with but not for Nortel junior and senior level engineers on one of their telecommunications routers then. The manual I had to pour through in search of what I needed to know was extensive to say the least, and many parts of it were redacted out for my sake being of very low level security clearance with Nortel as an employee working for an outside contractor based in the states. CALEA is now considered a weak backdoor security protocol in telecom, and it's been hacked by just about everyone around the world. But still at that time I was completely unaware of the compliance of our corporations with incorporating what I think is total spyware into communications equipment sold all over the USA. The Stasi never had the same technical capabilities for spying on people.

LaurelRusswurm LaurelRusswurm's picture

Scary stuff Fidel. 

One thing never ceases to amaze me is that so many people fall for it when they stick a name on a law that is the opposite if what the law is. What's really sad is that once we elect anyone even if they're caught with their hands in the cookie jar, there is no mechanism for removing them from office. At least the ameicans have the option of impeachment.


You're absolutely right, Laurel. Our setup for catching white collar crooks, and influence peddlers and conflict of insiders in government, has dropped Canada's ranking from what are newer OECD and UN assessments for international accountability and transparency in government. The US system is corrupt, and I believe things are even worse here. The US-FBI has threatened our federal police dogs that if they can't do their jobs, then the FBI will decide not to share information on cases involving international crooks and cross-border crime in general.