Tag Archives: Privacy

Lawful Access may not be as bad as it seems.

If you do not know what lawful access is then maybe you should, because it affects you on a daily basis. Lawful access is comprised of three pieces of legislation that allows the Canadian government to access and retain a copy of all communication that takes place in Canada. The government can access this information through organizations that offer wireline, wireless, and internet technologies to Canadians.  The Federal Government explains on its website that it uses this information to monitor the online life of Canadians in order to prevent terror, drug trafficking, money laundering, and other threats that may affect Canadians.

Being monitored by the government may seem as a privacy breach and unlawful act, but is it actually?

Here is a great discussion among Canadian scholars who express their opinions about the topic:

 

In my personal opinion, I think that the fact that the government is taking those steps may be not as bad as we think. As internet users, we should not forget that the online world is a space where we live, spend time with our friends, look forward to new adventures, and share our life stories with other users. Thus, protection in the cyber space should be as important to us as in real life. After all, we all accept the importance of having the police, army, and other security measures in order to protect us from the bad guys. So why is it such an issue when the government is trying to do the same online?

I think that one of the reasons people are concerned with such surveillance is because they think that the government may abuse its powers to limit people’s freedoms. I agree that this is a legitimate concern, but how else can the government prevent serious crimes that are discussed and organized online? If people want cyberbullying to be stopped, if they want pedophiles to be caught before they commit a crime, and if they want to prevent terror attacks in their cities, then perhaps the government is justified in its actions.

This is my personal opinion on the topic. I wonder what you think. How can the government ensure our safety without compromising our privacy?

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Is Your Personal Information Safe?

Recently Canadians and Americans discovered how their governments spy on their own citizens by accessing their personal information online. Many people have become concerned about their privacy and have expressed their dissatisfaction. However, what they got in return from the government were assurances that either the government did not spy on its citizens, and if it did, this was for the purpose of protecting the wellbeing of its citizens.

Many of us (including me) were not satisfied with such an answer and started to look for ways to protect ourselves. Since we are spied on via phone conversations, text-messaging, use of social media, emails, and other technologies, I propose the following suggestions that could help us:

  1. Talk in-person – when possible, avoid texting or calling in order to exchange personal information. If the situation permits it, talk to your friends in-person.
  2. Stop the constant updates on social media – letting everybody know where you are located, which event you are going to, or what you have eaten for breakfast will not help you protect your privacy. When possible avoid posting updates about your personal life.
  3. Think before clicking the ‘send’ button – before sending a message think whether it contains personal information about you or somebody else and imagine what would happen if somebody else reads this information.
  4. Consider the audience – keep in mind the reaction of your intended and non-intended recipient. For instance, a message suggesting to run the car into a bar may seem like a joke to your friends, but may seem as a safety issue by the government.
  5. Know the security features of your channel – many social media channels have good privacy and security features that allow you to protect your information. Make sure you know what they are and use them.

These are the steps I have chosen for myself when I learned about how the government can easily access our personal information. It would be interesting to hear other advises. Feel free to leave your recommendations below and remember that the government is reading it as well.