Touring the digital through type

Month: March 2009 (Page 2 of 3)

Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner, and DRM

200903201224.jpgIn his recent discussion with Ann Cauvoukian, Jesse Brown seems to have touched on a nerve. In the interview, the Commissioner discusses the use of self-encrypting/decrypting security systems that are meant to meet her ‘PET Plus’ program; she wants to ensure that measures are embedded in surveillance technologies that secure individuals’ privacy while at the same time enabling police to perform their duties. In the case of cameras, this will mean that all bodies on the screen are barely visible – not blurred, but almost erased from a non-decrypted viewing. Individuals are only revealed on film when a decryption algorithm is applied; until then, those individuals hold a spectre-like existence.

Russell McOrmond has taken a strong stance against this, arguing that the Commissioner’s efforts would make first-party/content owners subservient to third party agents who hold decryption keys. It is important to note that, as the Commissioner has presented her ideas, the police, or some other authority, would be the only group who would have access to these keys. This would limit the use of CCTV by employees to illegitimately survey clients/patrons/etc. Surprisingly quickly, Ken Anderson (Assistant Commissioner, Privacy, Ontario) has jumped into the discussion.

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Update: More on Quebec EDLs

200903191537.jpgQuebec formally announced that EDLs will be available for Quebecers on Monday, with Jean Charest using a relatively bogus financial argument to support EDLs.* Says he:

“If there are five people, five kids and two parents, if they had to all pay for a passport it would be an expensive requirements for them to come here” (Source)

Not withstanding Charest’s poor math (I count seven people in his ‘equation’), the costs that he is referencing are for the people coming to Quebec, not the costs of Quebecer’s traveling to the US. Were he really concerned about costs, he could adopt the line that the OPC and IPC (Ontario) have been pushing: Canadian’s should have their passport’s subsidized, and the lifetime of these documents extended. Were he honestly concerned about the privacy concerns, he would be pushing passports, not EDLs. Fortunately, of course, Charest is a stanch ‘supporter’ of privacy:

“[Privacy is a serious issue. We believe we need to do what has to be done to protect the privacy of individuals” (Source)

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Update: EDLs in Saskatchewan and Quebec

200903161147.jpgAs I noted a few days ago, the Saskatchewan government is debating whether or not they want to implement EDLs given the privacy and financial risks that accompany the licenses. It seems as though the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is supporting this hesitancy, with the assistant privacy commissioner;

. . . is applauding the province’s decision to back away from the enhanced licences until legislation addresses concerns about how personal information is used and how vulnerable it is to hackers.

“It’s highly significant,” Bernier said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “The province seems to come to the conclusion … that the cost-benefit analysis is not convincing.” (Source)

It will be interesting to see whether or not Saskatchewan reintroduces EDL legislation after Ontario’s information and privacy commissioner manages to implement an ‘on/off’ switch that she has been talking about with Jesse Brown for the past few weeks. My suspicion is that they will, but that they will let Ontario do the heavy lifting in this area (I expect that Ontario’s influence with DHS will be more substantial than Saskatchewan, but maybe that isn’t/won’t be the case).

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Demonstration: Why Mashups are Awesome

200903132009.jpgWhen you read Lessig, he keeps pointing to Girl Talk. That’s because Girl Talk is awesome, and is one of the most prominent mashup artists. Let’s say that you’re not into the particular sounds GT is producing (which isn’t unreasonable) – if that’s the case, and that’s why you think mashup ‘sucks’, hit the video below to see what harsh music copyright laws will outlaw. The creativity is manifest in the video is clearly original, possessing focus, and is simply awesome.

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