Monday, March 1, 2010

Sections of the USA PATRIOT Act extended for one year

In another "time running out" situation, some sections in the USA PATRIOT Act, including the infamous section 215, were recently extended for one year. Here are a few sites with more detailed info (some of which are not particularly happy about the extension):

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A couple of articles on privacy

A colleague at the University of Calgary, Bonnie Woelk, forwarded a small group of articles relating to digitization and privacy. Here are the two that deal most with privacy:

Canadian Privacy Commissioners Urge Caution on Expanded Surveillance Plan:

Facebook Agrees to Address Canadian Privacy Commissioner’s Concerns:


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lakehead University and Gmail

I'm a few days late in posting about this issue. It's also been fairly well-discussed elsewhere so I'll be brief. Basically, Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, ON, has outsourced its email system to Gmail. An objection to this was filed by the Lakehead University Faculty Association, stating concerns about susceptibility to seizure under the USA PATRIOT ACT and the like. Earlier this month, a Canadian labour arbitrator ruled that, though the concerns were valid and he was sympathetic to the faculty association, Lakehead's plan did not violate the collective agreement. In addition, he also said that email is like "postcards" and is not completely private by its very nature.

Here's some reporting on the issue, in no particular order:

From Michael Geist's site:

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

From the CAUT Bulletin:

And here is the ruling itself:

I wonder what will come of this decision. Will it be appealed? (Can it be appealed?) Will other universities follow suit? Will the Lakehead University Faculty Association set up an alternate email system, based in Canada, for its members ? (why not :-)?)


Two articles of interest

For your perusal, here are a couple of articles from the past couple of days, one from Canada, one from the US, regarding federal governments and Internet snooping (for lack of a better term). There's nothing here that's particularly academic-centred but the information is relevant in a general sense.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

ALA and allied groups ask for revision of PATRIOT Act

According to an article in Library Journal, dated April 9, 2009, the American Library Association and allied organizations (booksellers, publishers, writers) have asked the United States Congress to make library and bookstore records exempt from the infamous section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, which comes up for renewal later in 2009.  For the complete article, see

Another article on the subject:

Many thanks to the wonderful Resource Shelf who reported this yesterday (and from whom I "borrowed" almost all of this :-)


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bill proposes ISPs, Wi-Fi keep logs for police

From Feb. 19, 2009, here's a news story on a proposed Internet data retention law in the US. I can see a wide variety of implications to this if passed, not just in terms of privacy but also in regard to such things as record-keeping in an organization (there would be much more of it). There's the story plus lots of comments (of varying quality) here:


Friday, December 19, 2008

Another PATRIOT Act Ruling

On Dcember 15, a US federal appeals court (2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals) ruled that recipients of National Security Letters should not be gagged (metaphorically) unless disclosure adversely affects “an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.” This upholds a lower court ruling from September 2007. Seems like a good thing to me.

Here's a link to more info: