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Canadian ISP Shoulder Surfing 411

1nfamous writes "Canada's Largest ISP, Bell Sympatico, has informed its customers that it intends to 'monitor or investigate content or your use of your service provider's networks and to disclose any information necessary to satisfy any laws, regulations or other governmental request.' The new customer service agreement is effective June 15, 2006."
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Canadian ISP Shoulder Surfing

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  • by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:31PM (#15622390)

    The chief difference between Canada and America? At least the Canadians get fair warning.

    Clearly, the Canadian government is going to have to work on that...after all, we can't tip our hand to the terrorists, right? These things must be kept secret, because unless they're explicitly informed, the terrorists will have no reason to believe their internet access is being tracked, just as they had no reason to believe that their phone calls may have been bugged and their financial records traced, that is, until the meddling fourth estate decided to educate them, much to the peril of all freedom-lovers.

    ( sarcasm button was stuck there for a while...)

    I've said it before [], and I'll say it again: it's time to start encrypting everything. Just one question...anyone out there familiar with the current legality of crypto in Canada?
    • I've said it before, and I'll say it again: it's time to start encrypting everything

      Doesn't work everywhere. In England, isn't it illegal to not provide encryption keys to the police if they request now?
      • Best to "forget" them, then...
        • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice@gm a i l . com> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:46PM (#15622546)
          Prove that you no longer have the keys, otherwise you go to prison for a set period of time. Thats the law under the RIP II Act.
          • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:51PM (#15622593) Homepage Journal
            Prove that you no longer have the keys

            Simple. Generate a new set every session. As long as they're cached in memory only, you'll never know the keys or be able to provide them to law enforcement.
            • If there's one thing US cowboy cops and UK bobbies can agree on, it's that they don't like people "getting away" with a crime based on a technicality. I'd be interested to see if any instance was ever as simple as this, or if the person was harassed for it.
            • One would assume they mean the keys to stored data.
              If you generated a new key every session what would be the point of keeping all that random data (because by throwing the key away every day everything you do is lost)?
              • One would assume they mean the keys to stored data.
                Where would you get that assumption from? The story is about data transmissions over the Internet. The original responder replied that we should "encrypt everything" to prevent this. I don't see any method of interpreting the matter other than, "Generate new keys for each Internet session."
            • Fuck that - format your shit after having a security-sensitive conversation - the key no longer exists and they can't tell whether or not you did it out of CYA or due to Microsoft's incompetence in securing their own OS against problematic threats.

              As for LiquidCooled's comment - exactly why would you keep anything incriminating on your computer after you just talked about performing a terrorist attack on someone? None of that data, except the actual attack plan, is of any use. And odds are, if they're SM
              • by CreatureComfort ( 741652 ) * on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @05:42PM (#15624270)

                You sir, seem to be under the mistaken assumption that this, or any other, "War on Terror" program is actually aimed at terrorists. As you point out, any real terrorists/hackers/bad guys can find a multitude of ways around all of these systems. In fact, if you are actually doing anything deliberately illegal, you must assume that you are being evesdropped on at all times, and so make all of your contacts as innocuous as possible. That's basic subversion 101.

                All of these "programs" are to make sure that those in power have something on everybody. That way when you actually do something that interferes with their agenda or makes someone with power mad at you, they can nail you on several unrelated charges and keep their actual agenda somewhat obscured.

                As to your point, this very post could, at some point, come back to haunt me. But everytime I state these very obvious facts in a public forum, it would be terribly inconvenient for me to have to "format my shit" to avoid prosecution. The problem with the GP's idea of rotating encryption, is that only works where both ends of the conversation are trusted entities. If I were in Canada, and searching the web for information on something of dubious legality, like growing strains of South American botanicals north of the 48th parallel (hey, I like orchids), this would raise a flag somewhere in a database with my name on it. If later I searched for and made posts in support of opposition candidates and positions (whoever the "opposition" of the day was), that would also go into the file. If I was later surfing "fine art" sites and a link farm popped a window with underage models up, bang. You guessed it, a note into the file. When I did something annoying enough to the monitors, they would select the most convictable of possible offenses, get a warrant for a "secret search" and "discover" illegal content on my PC. Evidence clearly substantiated by the logs provided by my ISP.

                See how easy it is. If I were actually doing anything deliberately illegal, I would go to great lengths to protect myself. It's the poor buggers that think they are within the law that will get hammered unsuspectingly.

                /paging Harry Tuttle

                • by Anonymous Coward
                  i agree with parent on the fact that programs like this have a different aggenda, not everyone wants the `powers that be` to have somthing on them, look at the people working on anonet [], they have got so fed up of the current internet and started to form their own over the top using VPN's. not only that, they also offer a somthing that projects like tor cant do, true ip access! you no longer need to find a way to proxy applications, just download a vpn client like OpenVPN [] and play.

                  i am so stoked that there a
      • Yeah but thankfully they have to prove you have them first.

        They did try to sneak in an innocent until proven guilty (you have to prove you don't have them) but it seems that justice isn't *quite* dead here yet.
        • If you use a system that creates a new key for every sesssion, or message, then its completely probably that you would no longer have the encryption keys.
          • by krusadr ( 679804 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @02:03PM (#15622705)
            Unfortunately 99.99% of internet users have no clue about encryption, they have never heard of PGP, probably don't know when they are even viewing an https page. The mass bumbles along in ignorance and any attempt to educate them is blocked by an enourmous inertia of apathy.

            It would take several years of media coverage about invasion of privacy and some high profile cases before the masses would rise from their slumber and do something about Bell Sympatico. It's the same as what the US government (and the UK government) are doing to strip away freedom in the name of security.

            It's sad but true, if you understand the issues you are in a tiny minority. Don't expect and change anytime soon.
            • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @02:33PM (#15622949) Homepage
              Which means that anybody who really has anything to hide, will still be able to hide what they are doing, while the people who aren't really doing anything wrong, or not wrong enough to bother learning how to hide what they are doing are the ones being watched. Seems kind of backwards to me. Anybody who wants to get around it can, but those who don't need to get around it won't. It's like DVD copy protection. Stops regular joes from copying dvds from their friends, but the real pirates who copy millions of DVDs have an easy way to get around it.
              • by sepharious ( 900148 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @04:16PM (#15623654) Homepage
                Amen, its the argument I've made for years now. You can't stop the pirates, they are just as smart/smarter than the people designing the DRM. Time and time again DRM schemes have been cracked. Every new console is supposed to be "unhackable" and you'll never be able to play copied games. [BUZZ!]WRONG! All it takes is time and patience. I wrote my congressman about the broadcast flag informing him that it would do nothing to stop piracy but everything to harm the regular consumer. Greater control breeds less consumer confidence in both the manufacturer and the government that's supposed to protect them.
                • DRM is actually not about stopping it or making it "unhackable". It's about making it difficult enough that "most" people won't want to take the time and effort and will be driven to an easier path instead (ie: buying the product). Any product can be hacked eventually, but for example, if I can buy an original copy of a DVD movie I want for $10, or spend $0.60 for a blank DVD-R and spend an hour copying it, I'll take the $10 DVD. My time is worth more than the $9.40 I've "given up" by not pirating.

                  So tha
      • isn't it illegal to not provide encryption keys to the police if they request

        This doesn't bother me (assuming it's a court order, and not just a cop knocking on your door!)
        If a judge feels that there is enough evidence to issue a "data warrant", then I'm probably not the object of random searching.

        If all my internet traffic is encrypted, and my personal data on my computer is encrypted then I know that I won't get 'profiled' or any other such nonsense. If on the other hand they have reason to believe (

      • Truecrypt has an option to hide an encrypted volume within the random-ish data of another. You have a different password for each, and they suggest leaving sensitive-looking stuff in the outer one. See, I showed you what was there, can I go home now?
    • by Triv ( 181010 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:43PM (#15622508) Journal

      The chief difference between Canada and America? At least the Canadians get fair warning.

      June 15th, the date this went into effect, was two weeks ago, and the Globe and Mail article was posted yesterday. So either Bell Sympatico told people with little to no warning, or the Globe and Mail didn't bother to run this until everything was said and done. Either way, this sucks.

    • Fair warning? This looks to be postdated; June 15th was a few weeks ago.
    • Crypto's perfectly legal here, as far as i know there aren't any laws (yet) that say we have to hand over the keys..
    • by ablair ( 318858 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @02:44PM (#15623045)
      There are virtually no restrictions [] on the use of cryptography or encryption technology in Canada. Famously, this is the reason [] that the OpenBSD project is based in Canada [] and not the US - the extensive use of encryption in OpenSBD would mean that, amongst other things, if it were US-based its development and distribution would be severely curtailed. People distributing the software may technically even be arrested, depending on how stringently their laws were interpreted.

      This proposed "warrantless" internet surveillance bill will encounter a great deal of resistance in Canada, and with a minority government it's passage is by no means guaranteed. In the event that it does become law, at least people can encrypt anything & everything they send over the internet. A law such as this, however, would be challenged in the courts almost immediately here.
      • This proposed "warrantless" internet surveillance bill will encounter a great deal of resistance in Canada, and with a minority government it's passage is by no means guaranteed.

        Both of your assumptions are likely to be proven false.

        Although the current Conservative government is a minory government, they have been reading/swaying public opinion rather well and some of their other recent announcements have been met with everything from total apathy to considerable support.

        For example, hot on the tai

  • Welcome, Big Brother (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cp.tar ( 871488 ) <> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:31PM (#15622395) Journal

    I wonder how long before people start being bothered by this kind of behaviour?

    And I don't mean us, but the majority of sheeple...

    Will it be too late then?

    • by alshithead ( 981606 ) * on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:42PM (#15622491)
      Unfortunately, I think a lot of people will look at this as the ISP participating in a neighborhood watch type program to protect everyone from the "bad" people on the internet. That's how I would certainly try to market it if I worked for an ISP that was instituting this kind of invasion of privacy. "Will it be too late then?" My cynical side says it's too late now. My hopeful side says...nothing.
    • by dwandy ( 907337 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:45PM (#15622534) Homepage Journal
      Having had a conversation over the past couple of weeks with some non-techie friends, but whom I regard [nontheless! :) ] as educated and intelligent it's apparent to me that as with many topics, there is the /. view, and then there is the rest of the population. And they are no where near the same.
      In general terms, they feel that mass monitoring, arresting people on security certificates and all the other things that I feel are an invasion of my privacy and liberty were perfectly acceptable.

      It's "think of the children" applied to "think of our security".
      I suppose it's human to fear the unknown. And the terror age we live in is filled with uncertainty.

      After much discussion, I think they see my point of view, though they still maintain that "something" must be done. And if that "something" infringes on liberty that's still a cost they are willing to bear.

      So, sadly, in my limited experience, the sheeple are not going to be bothered any time soon...

      • So, sadly, in my limited experience, the sheeple are not going to be bothered any time soon...

        If you start mentioning paralells to a certain European country in the mid 30's, I'm sure that'll turn their heads. It's frightening, really.
      • by jridley ( 9305 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @02:49PM (#15623086)
        I suppose it's human to fear the unknown. And the terror age we live in is filled with uncertainty.

        People like to say "everything changed on 9/11". Well, as far as I'm concerned, the only thing that changed on 9/11 is that a lot of people with a naieve and incorrect notion of security got a rude wake-up call. I've wondered since I was a teenager (back in the 70s) why such an obviously soft and much-hated target as the US had not had a significant terror attack in many decades. OK City got us started, and was more along the lines of what I was originally thinking; absolutely anyone could have done that.

        People want their warm fuzzy fake security back. They can't have it of course, because it never really existed, but there are no end of people (in government and elsewhere) willing to exploit their desire to their own ends.
        • Damn Straight (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @04:29PM (#15623736) Homepage Journal
          9/11 was nothing but a "Welcome to MY world." I grew up on military bases that were among the first targets that were going to be hit in the case of a nuclear war. I grew up at what was going to be ground 0 if politics took a turn for the worse. While I was being incinerated at ground 0, dad would have been helping the US government destroy humanity. My world was a world of security fences and guards carrying AK47s. They weren't just for show either. Every so often some crazy would try to crash the gates and get himself shot.

          The way you look at the world changes when you grow up like that. I could see the truth that most Americans never think of. I knew who the next likely enemy was after the cold war ended. I knew our intelligence agencies were ill equipped to fight the new threat (And still aren't.) I knew that just about the entire world likes to hate America. I knew it was only a matter of time before there was a major terrorist attack in the USA. I know that it's only a matter of time before there'll be another one.

          Most Americans seem to have become complacent again. They'd rather live in ignorance, and they like to think that the government is proetecting them. They keep telling themselves that. "Oh it'll be all right, the government is protecting us." Ask someone who knows what the government's been up to, though, and you'll find that it's more by luck than by skill than we haven't had a big successful attack since 9/11. I don't care what your politics are, the level of incompetence displayed at all levels and on all sides should disgust you.

    • by pilgrim23 ( 716938 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @02:33PM (#15622951)
      What do you MEAN you are upset we sold your first born, moved a family of migrants into your living room, attached your bank account that will be emptied from now till judgment day and are holding you liable for that parking fine (plus interest) from 1947 in Alberta? After all you did click "Yes" on the EULA!
  • Good riddance! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lucky13pjn ( 979922 )
    Yep, yet another reason I am glad I left Sympatico ages ago.
  • First the MSN merger, then the Usenet removal, now this.
    • Yeesh,... I know. What's happened?
      A couple of years ago we were all debating about same-sex marriage and medicinal marijuana. Now it seems these issues have been pushed aside in favor of copyright issues and how much money goes to the military.
      What the hell has changed?? What is happening this fine country?

      Oh right...


      (Ps. I used to actually not mind the guy.. but now.. I dunno. Starting to get a bad impression..)
  • So... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:33PM (#15622413) Homepage
    >to disclose any information necessary to satisfy any laws, regulations or other governmental request Which Gov.? The Canadian of US?
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara.hudson@b ... u d s o n . c om> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:40PM (#15622476) Journal
      Well, it can't be Canadian, because of Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) (in force for all businesses since January 1st of this year): .asp []
      "record" includes any correspondence, memorandum, book, plan, map, drawing, diagram, pictorial or graphic work, photograph, film, microform, sound recording, videotape, machine-readable record and any other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, and any copy of any of those things.

      They're simply NOT allowed to do this without a warrant if you refuse to consent to it. Simply send them an email stating that you do not consent to their unlawful search, and cc the privacy commissioner.

      If they say "these are our TOS, don't like it, leave" - that's not good enough. Their contract is a contract of adhesion, and as such, unconscionable and onerous clauses can be struck from it. Certainly claiming a right to violate PIPEDA is one such clause.

      • Re:So... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Chirs ( 87576 )
        Unfortunately, the privacy act has a number of exceptions. If the government asks for information as part of a criminal investigation, or if they say that it's related to national security, then no warrent or subpoena is required.

        Basically, you have very little privacy protection against the government.
    • The Canadian laws of course.*
      *Please note: "Canadian laws" and all laws therein are overruled by USA laws and **AA influences -- "USA, protecting the world from the world by going after everyone in the world!".
  • start your encryptors.
    • by Tripster ( 23407 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @02:26PM (#15622894) Homepage
      Done! I'm in Canada and almost all my traffic coming in/out of my DSL line is encrypted. SSH tunnels are your friend :)

      I started doing this since my ISP's wholesaler was using transparent proxy caches that would actually strip ads from websites and then insert their own in their place. I bitched loudly over that one and they removed me from the proxy list but it was enough to make me take control of my surfing via a SSH tunnel to the servers I operate. The bonus is I can also access content supposed to be only available in the US (like or the ABC online Lost episodes).

      My ISP has since switched wholesalers to a more sane variety but I still keep the tunnels going.
  • Universal Encryption (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:35PM (#15622433) Homepage Journal
    In a sane world, the Internet's HTTPS:HTTP ratio would be skyrocketing. Does anyone have trend graphs?
  • by mrheckman ( 939480 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:35PM (#15622435)
    If you are a capitalist and believe in "the magic of the marketplace", you have to believe that this trend will eventually result in ISPs who advertise the opposite: that they don't snoop, that they dump any logs within hours or minutes, and so forth. That is, if they are allowed to do so by law.
    • Seeing as they won't be able to make any money if they refuse -- this is going to be law -- it's not really a choice.
    • The "Magic Hand" of the market place will only work if providing certian features create a larger consumer surplus. Problem is that people aren't aware of the issue, and no individual, or small subset will be able to influence the market to offset the legal costs. Unless the world gets more educated about these issues as a whole, there will be no market driven shift.


  • Free Market (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MudButt ( 853616 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:37PM (#15622449)
    I believe most problems of this type can be self correcting with market forces. If I don't like having my ISP spying on me, I'll choose another ISP. If enough people literally don't care, (like me), then this ISP will stay in business.

    Of course, the point is moot... All ISPs cache data to a certain extent. And all governments can strong-arm or bribe companies... It's just that this particular ISP is being honest and saying, "Yea, we'll hand your stats over."
    • Re:Free Market (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NaleagDeco ( 972071 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:45PM (#15622532) Homepage
      The question is: if this ends up carving a huge dent in Bell's market (which it probably won't), will the lesson be "People don't like being monitored" or "People don't like knowing they are being monitored?"
    • Re:Free Market (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Chabil Ha' ( 875116 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:47PM (#15622556)
      That's easy to say when you live in an area where ISPs compete for subscribers, but I live in the 9th largest city in the US, but I still only get one choice. If I decided that my ISP didn't live up to the info disclosure standard set by me, I just can't cut ties with them and go with someone else. You either live with the fact that you're being tracked, or life without access.
    • Re:Free Market (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HRbnjR ( 12398 ) <> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:52PM (#15622595) Homepage
      Choose another ISP?

      Yeah, in Western Canada, I have my choice of 2 broadband ISP's (the two major players bought up all smaller competitors)... the cable company (Shaw) or the phone company (Telus).

      I had a cable modem, but they overloaded the segment in my apt building and my FPS ping times went to hell (120+ms min, unplayable at all peak hours).

      So, I switched to using DSL from the phone company.

      So, in a case like this, if my ISP does such a think, and where I really don't like being monitored, my choice is to ?

      The barrier to entry into such markets is *far* too high for any smaller competitors to get established.
      • Re:Free Market (Score:3, Informative)

        by dusanv ( 256645 )
        See here []. I bet there are a whole bunch of good, small ISPs where you are. I am with a small ISP [] and they are a refreshment after Rogers (local cable, 40% packet loss at peak times) and Bell. No phoney "unlimited" accounts, all ports open, servers allowed, static IPs available, no scripted $7/hr bots on the phones, SLAs available...
    • Re:Free Market (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kebes ( 861706 )
      A "Free Market" argument presupposes that there is competition for the consumer to take advantage of. As has often been pointed out, this is generally not the case for telcos. It's simply not possible for thousands of companies to lay cable or phone lines or fibre throughout the city/country... hence we have government-granted monopolies, which by their very nature immediately prevent a free market.

      Yes there are rules for these companies allowing competitors to make use of the infrastructure, but this is (a
  • by MoFoQ ( 584566 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:40PM (#15622475)
    So much for "sympathy"....they need to change their name from "Bell Sympatico" to "Bell Antipatico"

    But then is a Bell company....after the AT&T thing, I expect nothing less.
  • by glindsey ( 73730 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:40PM (#15622477)
    See, there's the difference between America and Canada.

    We make sure that the customer's don't know when we're spying on them.
    • And we are sure to use un'neccesary apostrophe's every'where.

      God, I'm so em'barrassed.
    • by MudButt ( 853616 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:46PM (#15622538)
      We make sure that the customer's don't know when we're spying on them.

      So... How many Americans do you know that would tell you, "Gee, the government can obtain my ISP records if they want? I didn't know that!"

      I would contend that Americans, in general, probably have an overexagerated idea of what the government can / can't do thanks to Hollywood and rumor. The "man" isn't quite as "fascist" as you think. Try living with real fascism, as my parents did in Cuba for 40 years...
      • by glindsey ( 73730 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @02:14PM (#15622796)
        Well, I was exaggerating to make a joke -- heck, that's the basis of most humor. Do I honestly think the United States is a fascist nation? Of course not. I wouldn't be able to write this if it was. But some of what has been happening recently is worrisome to me, because it isn't just the government, but corporations invading our privacy in the name of "making sure we comply with laws". It is very reminiscent of Minority Report's "Precrime", except here we don't use telepaths, we use speculation and innuendo.

        I'm a little confused by your question, though; I'd say quite a few people I know would say they're aware their ISP and phone records can be obtained, because it was just all over the news. Is it happening to everyone? No. But the fact that it can, and the government thinks this is okay, is what frightens me. If your parents lived in Cuba for 40 years, they probably understand that the mentality of "we're going to spy on everyone, and if you're innocent, you have nothing to worry about" is one aspect of how fascism looks in its infancy.
      • The "man" isn't quite as "fascist" as you think. Try living with real fascism, as my parents did in Cuba for 40 years...

        Failing to be vigilant against it is how "real fascism" is allowed to happen!

  • *sigh* (Score:4, Funny)

    by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:41PM (#15622478)
    The new customer service agreement is effective June 15, 2006.

    Retroactive by 13 days? Isn't that just a kick in the face. Sure, you can cancel right now, but then they'll just look through that data out of spite. After all, you're no longer a customer and they no longer have to abide by their privacy policy.
  • by plasmacutter ( 901737 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:43PM (#15622509)
    doesn't canada have very strict internet privacy laws.

    if they snoop and give it away to anyone in violation of those laws class action suits will follow.
    • by Sven The Space Monke ( 669560 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @02:56PM (#15623138)
      Yes, we have VERY strict privacy laws. One of those laws requires that companies disclose WHAT information they're gathering, WHY they're gathering it, and WHO they're gathering it for. That same law requires that unless there is a court order, that company is not allowed to disclose that information to a 3rd party for any reason unless they have your express, written permission. IE, them saying "well, we added in to our contract a clause that lets us sell or give away your information to anyone we want" is not allowed. I worked for a bank that tried that and got slapped hard.

      Basically, Bell is doing this to comlpy with the privacy laws. They're keeping your http logs (like every ISP out there), and now they're just following through on their obligation to tell their customers why they're doing it and who could possibly see it. Should they ever actually release your information, they still have to have a court order, OR your signature on a contract that specifically says who you're authorizing the release of information to, and what that third party intends to do with your information.
  • by thebdj ( 768618 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:45PM (#15622527) Journal
    if I screw this up...but I remember something from a few years back where a court ruled that logging IMs was equal to recording a phone conversation and could be help under the same notification laws. This is typically not a problem in the states since most, all but 12, require single party notification, so since I know I am recording the conversation it is legal.

    Now, if courts did uphold that monitoring and logging IMs, and presumably other means of electronic communication, is covered under the call recording notification laws, would this not create a dilemma for the ISP that is monitoring (and presumably logging) network traffic of users, which would include IMs and e-mai, when their users begin to communicate with individuals from the states who live in one of those 12 states that require both parties to consent?

    I am fairly certain on the court ruling I mentioned, I even jokingly added a warning to people in my status message, but I am not sure if this ruling was ever contested or of my full interpretation of the law that follows.
  • by kihjin ( 866070 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:46PM (#15622552)
    You just have to love the titles they think of for legislation like this.

    I can only imagine how they formulated such a modern concept:

    "We need a new approach. Something that works."
    "How about monitoring everyone's communications?"
    "That works."
    What's the next step?

    "We need a new approach. Something that works better."
    "How about censoring what information people have access to, and detaining those with dangerous thoughts?"
    "That works."
    This is bad news for Canada. Here in the United States, we have strict privacy laws which protect us from such intrusive "techniques" ... right?
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <(eldavojohn) (at) (> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:52PM (#15622602) Journal
    The recent arrest of 17 men in the Toronto area on terrorism charges proves that Canada already has effective law enforcement tools, Geist argues.
    Countries constantly arrest people on terrorism charges. Luckily, at least in the United States, we have a fairly unbiased court system that gives everyone a fair trial.

    I would like to see the false positives and true negatives that result from these arrests. That is, I would like to see a two by two matrix such that:

    Breakdown of arrests from statute blah
    # of arrest | # of arrest+
    +conviction | no conviction

    est. # of | population
    violators | count
    The bottom left square & upper right square would give you an idea of:
    • The effectiveness of this statute or law.
    • The error rate.
    • How prone it is to being abused.
    • An attempt at quantifying how much life, liberty and pursuit of happiness we have wrongfully intruded upon.
    • Do you need more laws & procedures to catch the lower left block?
    For other countries (like China) where the trial system may not be present, I would like to see them publish trials online and in print from the unadulterated viewpoint of the prosecutor and the defendant in regards to each of these statutes. Hell, I'd be interested in skimming those daily for every country! I think that if countries were more open about their success rates & their law enforcement convictions, we'd be in much better states to criticize them. More importantly, the criticism could be warranted and productive.
  • by Bullfish ( 858648 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:52PM (#15622605)
    I think that anyone who thinks they have any privacy on the net is fooling themselves. Sympatico are announcing that they are going to do this monitoring, but no doubt they could know what traffic went in and out of a particular IP address within the hour if they needed to do so. While a lot of people think that net privacy is a sacred cow, this is just sheer fantasy. There hasn't been a government on this planet that didn't regulate or make provision to monitor communications and really that is what the internet is at it's heart.

    Bad people do exist on the net and use its power for their own ends. This has always been the case. Especially in the black and white areas we all can agree are bad, like using the net to lure kids. The dicey part is who gets to decide what is "bad" in the grey areas and that has also always been the case. It ain't going away.

  • by Kaneda2112 ( 871795 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:55PM (#15622621)
    At least they had the decency to let you know it was going on....I'm just curious as to what they plan to do with this information? To quote the article -

    ' Bell Sympatico has informed its customers that it intends to "monitor or investigate content or your use of your service provider's networks and to disclose any information necessary to satisfy any laws, regulations or other governmental request."...A spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day said no decision has been made on the bill, known as the Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act. But she noted that Day has spoken to telecom industry officials and legal experts about bringing it forward as early as the fall session.'

    This means Sympatico users are agreeing to disclose to the government whatever Bell feels like disclosing! No mention has been made of getting a warrant, prove that this should be carried out for a specific reason. There's no real mention of disclosure criteria.

    On a side-note - Stockwell Day is a bit of a dingleberry - a creationist who believes the earth was created 5000 years ago....the sharp swing to the right has begun in Canada....looks like the terrorists are winning when our freedoms start to get whittled away, bit by bit....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:55PM (#15622623)
    Contracts aren't unilateral, if ISP's get to change the terms of the contract then so should their customers.
    Dear ISP,
    You can find the latest revision of my usage policy on my website ( )
    These terms supercede all previous terms, including yours!
  • Canada here, quick.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by eieken ( 635333 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:55PM (#15622627) Homepage
    To help you surf the web without being spyed on I recommend installing Tor [] then installing FoxyProxy [].
    Tor takes care of the proxy encryption, and FoxyProxy lets you use all those proxies while you surf.
    Invaluable for the privacy conscious, or rather anyone living in the 21st century.
  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:58PM (#15622651) Homepage
    Why would an ISP do this? disclose any information necessary to satisfy any laws, regulations or other governmental request...
    Stating that you will disclose information that is required by law is obvious. But disclosing information that you are not allowed to disclose and do not have to disclose, makes no sense. I can see no benefit to the company. What gives?
  • Privacy (Score:3, Funny)

    by AntEater ( 16627 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @02:02PM (#15622695) Homepage
    Wow, Stuff like this makes me so glad that I'm an American where we aren't subject to this kind of wholesale violation of our privacy.
  • Question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @02:13PM (#15622787)
    Is it possible to force my DHCP to churn addresses? I figure that if they ("they" being the MAFIAA and the US govt...even in Canada thanks to the fine work of Beverly Oda and Stephen Harper) want data, let's give them plenty.
  • by bogie ( 31020 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @02:16PM (#15622808) Journal
    We always used to joke about spies listening in on our coversations 20 years ago. We all knew that the gov did wiretaps and listened in on our communications from time to time. But only the loons really thought that "average joe" was being spied on. We honesly didn't worry about it.

    Well, now it's too late. Total Information Awareness is upon us and all of our communications by phone/cell/computer are being listened in on and filtered through. There really is nowhere go but downhill. You watch. Within 5 years all foreigners visiting the US will have to have GPS enabled chip implants. Within 10 all prisoners will have them. Within 15 it will be a Felony for any US citizen to remove/disable their chip implant. Anyone want to join me while I go live in cave somewhere?
  • I just cancelled... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Locarius ( 798304 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @02:37PM (#15622995)
    I just called to cancel my Sympatico account. It will be disconnected tomorrow morning before 8:00. The alternative, Rogers, used a heavy advertising campaign bragging "No cap, now or ever" to lure customers to their new 5Mb service, then proceeded to implement a 60GB cap a few months later. We cancelled that too. There is apparently no non-evil ISP in my area.
  • by Cervantes ( 612861 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @03:07PM (#15623206) Journal
    Many people are suggesting "Just go through a proxy". My question, seriously, how do you trust a proxy? How can you be sure that it's not just a honeypot, looking for "security concious" people, then logging every single thing they do? Sure, we can examine the client-side setup to see what's going on, but do we have any clue what's happening at the proxy end? What's to stop them from copying every single link and byte that goes through the proxy for future evaluation?
    • by Wyzard ( 110714 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @05:00PM (#15623955) Homepage

      If you use Tor [], you're actually going through a sequence of several proxies, using different encryption keys for each hop along the route. The first proxy in the chain knows who you are, but can't see where you're going; it can only see the next proxy in the chain. The last proxy in the chain can see where you're going, but it doesn't know who you are, because all it can see is the previous proxy in the chain. Those in the middle can't see either the origin or the destination.

      Unless an attacker manages to compromise all the nodes along your route (which changes every few minutes), the Tor network can't figure out who was going where.

      • Ironic that Bell Security Solutions (a division of the very same Bell Canada) has been funding Tor development []. No, put your tin foil hats away: there is no way for Bell to get any sort of "backdoor access" nor is there any indication that they want to. Probably Bell's legal department just wanted to be up-front with their customers for when (if?) the Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act [] gets revived in the autumn. PIPEDA [] privacy legislation probably makes such open disclosure obligatory, even w
  • by webweave ( 94683 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @03:27PM (#15623328) offers a high speed service that does not use phone lines (dsl). It uses microwave towers and requires line of sight and a small antenna. This is kind of a secret as most people I tell either don't know about it or believe it's out of business. It's not. Being wireless it's not effected by power outages, I know as I've surfed during the last few. I just plug the modem and my laptop into a UPS. In a traceroute to my co-lo server I don't see any bell routers just a few owned by look then the big pipe. If you are lucky enough to be in view of one of the towers (one is on the CN Tower which should cover a lot of Toronto) They also offer TV and a higher speed, fixed IP service.
  • by whitehatlurker ( 867714 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @05:15PM (#15624067) Journal
    In modern Canada, ISPs get their internet information from their subscribers.

    It may not be long before North Americans are using encrypting proxies in China to gain access to content on the 'web. (Okay, we'd likely use South American or European servers, but hey that's not as controversial, is it?)

    I might have to investigate going back to the cable companies for my broadband access.

  • by iCEBaLM ( 34905 ) <> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @05:21PM (#15624103)
    You can use any of these DSL providers []. Vote with your dollars people.
  • by Cephei ( 966093 ) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @12:29AM (#15625819) Homepage
    Don't let the ISP see what you are up to. anoNet ( is an anonymous encrypted IP network which can protect those Canadians from their ISP. Setup takes two minutes. Just install OpenVPN and double click on the config file on the website. Pretty easy eh?

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.