Computers, security, politics, freedom… and whatever else

Canadians Finally Waking Up: A Brief Discussion on Bill C-11 and Bill C-30

Canadian freedoms are under attack on all fronts these days. Whether it’s new copyright legislation in bill C-11 or online spying/surveillance in bill C-30, the federal Conservatives are trying to take away our freedoms.

For the uninformed, C-11 is the current version of the governments attempt at copyright reform. Previous bills include 2005’s bill C-60, 2008’s bill C-61 and 2010’s bill C-32.

This latest version of the bill, which is essentially the same as C-32, received it’s second reading and was referred to a legislative committee a few days ago, moving it closer and closer to becoming law. To be fair to the Conservative party, the bill isn’t entirely bad. Michael Geist considered C-32 flawed but fixable and has stated that he still believes this about C-11, though he has raised concerns that SOPA like provisions could end up in bill C-11.

Bill C-30 is a new piece of legislation introduced just yesterday. The bill is an attempt to force ISPs to handover customer information to law enforcement agencies without a warrant. This of course is all being done under the guise of protecting children from child pornographers.

The response to bill C-30 by Canadians has been incredible. With more than 95,000 signatures on OpenMedia’s Stop Online Spying petition (which I urge you all to sign, we need to keep up the pressure and momentum) and Vic Toews, Canadian MP and currently Minister of Public Safety, the man behind the bill coming under heavy fire on Twitter for comments made in the days leading up to the introduction of this legislation, as well as for the legislation itself. The Conservatives have already begun backpedaling on this legislation, indicating that they are open to changes.

This is the type of response we need to see from Canadians for C-11. While there has been some resistance, we simply need more. It’s not just C-11 we need to fight either. Canada has already signed ACTA and the Canadian music, movie and entertainment software industries continue to lobby for harsher copyright legislation. If Canadians don’t fight back harder, this is a battle we simply cannot win.

I urge everyone to visit OpenMedia’s No Internet Lockdown petition and contact your local Member of Parliament to let them know how you feel. It is imperative that we do not give up our rights to entertainment industry lobbyists who are refusing to adapt their distribution model in our digital world.

My New Phone: The Galaxy Nexus

As much as I love computers and technology, I’ve never been overly wealthy and as such have usually had difficulty justifying phone purchases that cost more than nothing on a three year contract. This generally meant getting phones that were rather old and not particularly useful for anything outside of using it as a phone.

Things are finally changing a little, though. While I’m certainly not rich, I definitely have more money available to me now than I did while I was in school. This has allowed me to finally get a phone that I’ve really wanted to get since it was announced – the Galaxy Nexus. The GNex is the latest phone in Google’s Nexus series, which, as with the Nexus S, was manufactured by Samsung.

The Galaxy Nexus is the flagship of Android phones. It’s comparable (and I’d definitely say better than) to the iPhone 4S, Apple’s latest version of the iPhone. Currently I’m running Google’s stock ICS 4.0.2, though once the GNex is supported, I’d like to give CyanogenMod a try, as it provides a few features I’m interested in. Most specifically, it allows you to grant permissions to apps granularly and allows applications to toggle GPS on/off.

These are both rather important features for me and I’m disappointed that they aren’t included in the stock OS. Google may introduce more granular permissions in the future, but they’ve stated it isn’t a priority, though they may add it in the future. Prior to Android 2.2, apps were capable of turning GPS on/off, but since version 2.3 it requires user interaction. This is problematic for me as an app I’ve been using, Tasker, allows you to create various profiles which are made up of contexts and tasks to help you automate your phone. It’s a very cool and powerful tool. A couple of the profiles I’ve come up with would certainly benefit from being able to control GPS. For example, I don’t like the idea of GPS always being on. It requires more power from my battery and I don’t like the idea of my whereabouts being trackable at any time. However, it is inconvenient to have to remember to turn GPS on to launch apps that require it (for example, Google Maps). Creating a profile that would turn on GPS when specific applications were opened and turned it back off when they were closed would be immensely useful.

Granular permissions seems like a no brainer to me and I’m surprised that Google would not have included it from the start. Too many apps request permissions they simply don’t need to operate and I don’t always feel comfortable providing that control to those apps. Unfortunately, if there is no alternative, you may not have a choice if you want to use it.

Either way, I’m loving this phone. It has been an awesome user experience and it’s simply nice to finally join everyone else in the 21st century. Time to go discover new apps!


Thanks for visiting While it’s unlikely that anyone will read this particular post (at least while it’s actually a new post), I figured I’d write it anyway. This is my second attempt at starting a blog. My last blog started out all right, but I found it difficult to motivate myself to only write about one particular topic (which happened to be computer/network security), and decided the focus of the blog was to narrow. I had started changing to a broader focus, but at the same time decided I should host the blog myself and ended up getting caught up in playing with the server instead of blogging.

Ultimately, I abandoned the blog (and eventually the server too). Unfortunately, that means the old posts and data are gone and I have to start from scratch. It’s too bad, there was some content I would have liked to copy over, but that’s life! Hopefully with a much broader focus, this blog will see a little more activity and further success.

With all that said, thanks again for stopping by. Enjoy your stay 🙂