Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Invisible eyes and probing tendrils

Don't panic folks! If you aren't doing anything the state deems wrong, surely you won't object to random monitoring of your wholesome virtual activities?

Police and security agencies would be able to surreptitiously track unwitting Canadians via their cellphones, BlackBerries and laptop computers, even when the devices are turned off or their location features are disabled, under a "creepy" measure contemplated as part of the federal government's planned electronic surveillance bill.

The government made the proposal during consultations this year on a legislative package that is anticipated to be unveiled in the fall. The proposal, which was raised by justice officials with groups consulted by the government, would amend the Criminal Code to expand the types of "tracking devices" available to police under a warrant.

The definition of a "tracking device" would be changed to include a computer program, in addition to any other device that can be used to help identify the location of any thing or person.

[..] The new definition of tracking device would take in such ubiquitous products as laptops with wireless Internet connections, cellphones with global positioning systems, and wireless personal digital assistants.

[..] To get a warrant for a tracking device, police need only convince a justice of the peace they have "reasonable suspicion" an offence has been or will be committed, and the tracking order would help their investigation. By contrast, for other types of surveillance, authorities must at least demonstrate to a justice of the peace they have "reasonable and probable grounds to believe" that an offence has been or will be committed, and information relevant to that offence will become available via the surveillance.
Darcey sums up the situation with this popular national emblem,

and accompanying slice of commentary from Huck of Bumfonline:
This is a development on par with tatooing concentration camp prisoners in Nazi Germany, as insidious as wire-tapping dissidents in the Soviet Union, as nefarious as children being encouraged to spy on their own parents in Communist Cuba. This is yet one more example of how the government is forcing itself into the private lives of its citizens in order to assert control of all aspects of society. It is unconscionable beyond debate and must be fought with our every waking breath until the government is overthrown...
Now, if you are making mail order purchases, say for example of marijuana seeds, should you similarly be forced to waive your rights to privacy because you might be 'breaking the law'? The DEA gives the nod, with reference to favourable polling support which 'justifies' the entrapment of former patrons of Emery Seeds.

Via Cannabis Culture:
When seeds were sent in June and July, they took unusually long to get to their destination - and in some cases, did not arrive at all. Quite a lot of seed orders -- we're talking at least 200-300 letters here -- were being intercepted somehow, and held up.

What we believe is that the addresses on incoming mail (seed order forms and payment) sent to us were matched up with outgoing mail (seeds) that had our return address, in the months of June and July. Those outgoing letters were held up after we sent them.

But even if mail was opened, that is not enough to incriminate you for sending that letter. Nothing in our outgoing orders implies that you asked for what we're sending. Prosecution will require that those people who get the letter from the DEA incriminate themselves by agreeing that they wish to receive seeds, will pay $50-$200 and more to get those seeds (and the 20 extra ones offered) and through acknowledging the letter by sending payment through Money Gram or Western Union, prove that they asked for and paid for seeds that were sent out to their address.

If you thought there was an unusually long delay in receiving your order from the time you were aware it was sent, then it is very likely your order has been confiscated, and you have, or will, receive the blue letter.

If you sent money to the name on the letter, I believe you may be in danger. Be very alert, very cautious, and take appropriate action.

This is a regrettable discovery, and means the DEA and RCMP and perhaps other agencies are coordinating a massive round-up of both Canadians and Americans in a considerable escalation of the Drug War.