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Canada Government Privacy The Internet

Govt Docs Reveal Canadian Telcos Promise Surveillance Ready Networks 74

An anonymous reader writes "Michael Geist reports that Canadian telecom and Internet providers have tried to convince the government that they will voluntarily build surveillance capabilities into their networks. Hoping to avoid legislative requirements, the providers argue that "the telecommunications market will soon shift to a point where interception capability will simply become a standard component of available equipment, and that technical changes in the way communications actually travel on communications networks will make it even easier to intercept communications."
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Govt Docs Reveal Canadian Telcos Promise Surveillance Ready Networks

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  • Awesome (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 15, 2014 @12:34PM (#48601303)

    1. High costs to customers, check.
    2. Slow speeds, check.
    3. No expenses spared upgrading intercept capabilities for the government, priceless!

    • 3. No expenses spared upgrading intercept capabilities for the government, priceless!

      I knew it, our telecommunications companies have been bought by John Hammond.

    • 4. Backdoor deliberately designed into equipment almost immediately exploited by hackers, check.
  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Monday December 15, 2014 @12:34PM (#48601313)
    ...when everyone is storing everything on the cloud, and relying on the cloud's encryption to protect them.
  • Since the US has required access network operators to implement CALEA support many products are already being designed with lawful intercept functionality anyways. Implementing it isn't a problem really, just so long as it's not abused it's not that different from a telephone wiretap.

    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday December 15, 2014 @12:42PM (#48601395) Homepage

      Implementing it isn't a problem really, just so long as it's not abused

      The problem is it will be abused. It will be used for things beyond the scope they claimed it will be. It will essentially suffer from the same kind of scope creep all of this surveillance shit does.

      What they say now as "oh, we'll only use this for national security stuff" becomes tomorrow's "well, we had to invent parallel construction to conceal what we do with that stuff we promised was only for national security".

      This stuff is designed to give law enforcement unfettered access to anything, while keeping that access secret from the rest of us. And in the case of Canada, this pretty much bypasses privacy legislation

      I'm pretty much convinced that all elected officials voting in favor of this crap have forfeited all right to claim any of their information is private while saying they have access to all of our information.

      These clowns have been undermining some of the basic premises of Western societies.

      Worthless bastards.

      • Exactly (Score:5, Interesting)

        by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Monday December 15, 2014 @01:03PM (#48601579) Homepage

        We have civil forfiture lawsthat were set up to fight "organize crime" now they are being used by butt hurt Crown Counsels as secondary punishment when the cases dont go their way. Even the judges have stepped in the made statements about it in BC.

        • by c-A-d ( 77980 )

          As a resident of BC, I am of the opinion that civil forfeiture MUST be tied to a criminal conviction that is RELATED to the crime committed.

      • Worthless? To whom? Maybe you forgot who they work for.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        "The problem is it will be abused. It will be used for things beyond the scope they claimed it will be."

        And that's intentional. Most have no clue what's really going on in the world... the elites are afraid of political awakening.

        This (mass surveillance) by the NSA and abuse by law enforcement is just more part and parcel of state suppression of dissent against corporate interests. They're worried that the more people are going to wake up and corporate centers like the US and canada may be among those who

        • Your quote about Chris Hedges was interesting.

          Especially to those of us who've read enough history (or are just old enough) to know that this sort of thing has been believed by pretty much every generation in history.

          First time I ever saw something along these lines was about 40 years ago. And included a quote from Cicero (?) about the failings of the latest generation of Romans at his time...

    • ...just so long as it's not abused...

      Priceless!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You haven't read enough history.

    • Xipher, if I understand CALEA correctly, it applies to the hardware manufacturers and covers voice, VOIP, and broadband internet. Does CALEA apply to the USER of the hardware. That is, if a person roots his phone and installs an encryption app, does CALEA apply?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I just don't get why doing this voluntarily is a good thing.
    If it was regulatory the same work would be needed but then the companies could say to the angry users: "We didn't want to, those people you elected forced us to do it".

    By being voluntary it doesn't make mainstream news, people don't vote against it, and users who do find out trust their telco less.

    • I just don't get why doing this voluntarily is a good thing. If it was regulatory the same work would be needed but then the companies could say to the angry users: "We didn't want to, those people you elected forced us to do it".

      By being voluntary it doesn't make mainstream news, people don't vote against it, and users who do find out trust their telco less.

      Maybe because they then want to sell the tech to US telecos trying to comply with CALEA? Never attribute to stupidity what can be attributed to greed.

    • I just don't get why doing this voluntarily is a good thing.

      My read on it is that the telcos don't want to have to comply with laws forcing them to cooperate, so they're just willing to do it in the first place. As a happy side effect, the voluntary implementation would be much less "noisy", saving the telcos from looking like they would happily sell out their customers.
      From the Telco's POV, it's the closest to a win this situation has.

  • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Monday December 15, 2014 @12:38PM (#48601353) Homepage Journal

    The typical reason for doing this is "if we don't do it first, subsequent legislation will require us to implement an even more onerous system".

    Let's see how that works in practice:

    The government simply waits to see what the telcos implement. If it's *more* than they wanted, they stop and say "well done!". If it's *less* than they wanted, then they proceed with legislation, which they were planning to do anyway.

    In game theory terms, what does this type of policy maximize?

  • Encryptorama (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It appears that the time has come for an easy to use encryption technology. One that plugs into your computer and allows you to implement your own encryption scheme (that isn't the same as everyone elses). It should also plug into your phone so that your conversation is encrypted. Sure if its just janie talking to grandma, they can leave it all in the clear. If its banking or business or anything to do with money or personal records, then encrypt.

    • by mikael ( 484 )

      But where do you start encrypting? You have to secure your PC against keyloggers and screen-grabbers even if your disk drive and communications are encrypted. And how would be sure that no man-in-the-middle intercept didn't have the processing power to crack the encryption?

      • by Agripa ( 139780 )

        But where do you start encrypting? You have to secure your PC against keyloggers and screen-grabbers even if your disk drive and communications are encrypted.

        But even opportunistic encryption would make interception much more costly. Right now it is next to free because everything is being sent over the equivalent of postcards for anybody to read. The evil doers also run the risk of being detected.

        And how would be sure that no man-in-the-middle intercept didn't have the processing power to crack the encry

    • Re:Encryptorama (Score:5, Insightful)

      by zugmeister ( 1050414 ) on Monday December 15, 2014 @02:56PM (#48602671)

      Sure if its just janie talking to grandma, they can leave it all in the clear.

      Wouldn't it be better if everything were encrypted, so stuff that's actually important / private doesn't stick out like a xmas tree lit in a forest?

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Monday December 15, 2014 @12:49PM (#48601451)

    ... a grateful Chinese intelligence service thanks Canadian telcos for their assistance.

    • by davecb ( 6526 )
      The blackmail branch of the Mafia in Canada would also like to present the ".J Edgar Hoover" award to the monopoly telephone/cable companies of Canada, for making the previously uncooperative ISPs store the information that is their stock in trade.
  • This is ridiculous! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    If there is any spying that should be done it should be by the citizens of Canada on the government. How many little gold nuggets of corruption would be dug up? Quite a few, methinks.

    Harper, Toewes, Desmarais, Irving, Bronfman... Just the data of these major players in Canada is probably a gold mine of corruption and fraud in and of itself.

    As it stands, terrorism is not being stopped. Elite pedophiles are not being stopped. Innocent citizens are losing their privacy. Government is corrupt and organized cr

  • Now that phones are powerful computers, there's no reason not to have PGP-style end to end encryption for all voice and IM traffic, with public key encryption.

    Trick is, it has to be a de-facto standard, or you run into the problem that Bob can't call Jane because they use different voice encryption programs, and Jane can't call Alice, so nobody wants to use it.

    It has to be as simple as "install this app", and as strong as PGP.

    • It has to be as simple as, "it's pre-installed, and negotiates the highest security possible between any two (or more) parties having a conversation of any type."

    • That's why my company relies on Skype. Microsoft assures us that it's safe, secure, and reliable. Plus, most people have Skype, and the ones who don't can download it for free. I entrust my company's finance, patent research, and communications only to Microsoft, the secure solution.

      • I'm fairly sure you were going for the "funny" tag, but just in case you were serious...
        When a company assures you your information is secure, look at what recompense you will receive as a result of them being wrong. That figure is a great indicator of how confident the company is in the security of your information.
  • I call BS (Score:5, Informative)

    by TallahassZ ( 3937467 ) on Monday December 15, 2014 @01:37PM (#48601915)
    As an engineer who worked with Eastlink a few years back, I can say with 100% certainty that the RCMP monitor every fucking packet that traverses Eastlink's network. I know because I assisted in the installation of the RCMP's "blackbox" that sits on the inside perimeter of Eastlink's boarder routers. Big Brother HAS ALWAYS been watching, folks.
    • As an engineer who worked with Eastlink a few years back, I can say with 100% certainty that the RCMP monitor every fucking packet that traverses Eastlink's network. I know because I assisted in the installation of the RCMP's "blackbox" that sits on the inside perimeter of Eastlink's boarder routers. Big Brother HAS ALWAYS been watching, folks.

      Yes, but you're neglecting to explain why they want/need them.

      Prior to IP phones, the feds would get their court order, go directly to the targets residence, and put their recording device on the pedestal outside to record their analog call directly. They didn't even need to contact the phone company.

      Then, along came digital. Now the traffic at the pedestal is white noise. They go to the phone company to ask them to record the call... the phone company would look in the documentation for their Softswitch an

      • The devices are probably little morer than a circular buffer, so slower equipment can select and process stuff they find interesting without having to run at wire speed. Doing the wire-speed DPI (with a sandvine box) costs way too much money.
      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        If a court order is ready then a telco will log and track all calls or network use as needed and requested.
        The issue with that is the number or device or network been tracked is now in a database at the telco.
        The security services in the US, UK did notice that over the years when they put in request for tracking, their case falls apart.
        The people of interest just escape or the flow of information stops. The telco, billing and legal system seems to ensure people of interest are able to see the lists of n
  • Another angle (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gliscameria ( 2759171 ) on Monday December 15, 2014 @02:25PM (#48602385)
    Even if you don't believe that the government will use these backdoors for evil, what's to stop anyone else? The more backdoors and surveillance they build into the system the more likely it is that someone one will find and exploit them. Plus, there's a lot of money in information. I don't think it would take too much convincing to get someone with access to go rogue and start feeding corporate/tech info to the highest bidder.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    DDR = East Germany

  • They have had mandatory surveillance for a long, long time.
  • I'm not sure who I would expect to abuse this more, the telecoms or the government.

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