Technology, Thoughts & Trinkets

Touring the digital through type

Month: January 2012

Publication: (Un)Lawful Access, Its Potentials, and its Lack of Necessity

Cover of the 2011 Winston Report (Winter)

Last year I was approached by the founder and editor in chief of The Winston Report to update and publish one of my postings on Canada’s forthcoming lawful access legislation. The Report is the quarterly journal of the Canadian Association of Professional Access and Privacy Administrators (CAPAPA). The updated piece that I contributed is more compact than what I originally wrote on this site, though I think that this makes it a stronger, more direct piece. I want to publicly thank Sharon Polsky for the opportunity that she provided to me, and for being so kind as to position my piece as the lead featured article in the Winter edition of the journal. I also want to thank my tireless editor, Joyce Parsons, for her incredible work strengthening my prose. A preprint version of my contribution, which retained a creative-commons license as part of my agreement with the editor in chief, is made available to you below under the normal Creative Commons Attribution, Noncommercial 2.5 Canada license.

Download pre-print .pdf version of (Un)Lawful Access:  Its Potentials, and its Lack of Necessity.

(Un)Lawful Access: Vancouver Premiere & Panel Discussion

Image courtesy of UnlawfulAccess.Net

I’ll be presenting at a panel discussion on Canada’s forthcoming lawful access legislation this Thursday, January 12. It looks to be a terrific panel, and includes British Columbia’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, the BBCLA’s policy director, Michael Vonn, the producer of the documentary (Un)Lawful Access, Dr. Kate Milberry, and myself. Andrew Clement, professor at the University of Toronto and co-producer of (Un)Lawful Access will be moderating. In addition to a panel discussion, Drs. Milberry and Clement will be showing their documentary, (Un)Lawful Access, and the BCCLA will be revealing their report on lawful access. I’ve contributed research to the report, with my focus being on how lawful access powers are taken up and used by governments and authorities in the US and UK.

It should be a terrific event. If you’re in the area I highly recommend attending. Information is available at the event’s Facebook page and below:

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Transparent Practices Don’t Stop Prejudicial Surveillance

In February I’m attending iConference 2012, and helping to organize a workshop titled “Networked Surveillance: Access Control, Transparency, Power, and Circumvention in the 21st Century.” The workshop’s participants will consider whether networked surveillance challenges notions of privacy and neutrality, exploits openness of data protocols, or requires critical investigations into how these surveillance technologies are developed and regulated. Participants will be arriving from around the world, and speaking to one (or more) of the workshop’s four thematics: Access Control, Transparency, Power, and Circumvention. As part of the workshop, all participants must prepare a short position statement that identifies their interest in network surveillance while establishing grounds to launch a conversation. My contribution, titled “Transparent Practices Don’t Stop Prejudicial Surveillance,” follows.

Transparent Practices Don’t Stop Prejudicial Surveillance

Controversies around computer processing and data analysis technologies led to the development of Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPs), principles that compose the bedrocks of today’s privacy codes and laws. Drawing from lessons around privacy codes and those around Canadian ISPs’ surveillance practices, I argue that transparency constitutes a necessary but insufficient measure to mitigate prejudicial surveillance practices and technologies. We must go further and inject public values into development cycles while also intentionally hobbling surveillance technologies to rein in their most harmful potentialities.

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