The Cost of Surveillance

Jean-Claude Lapointe, B.A., LL.B., M.A.P.:

Why they spy on us all: it is cheap and easy.


Originally posted on Ashkan Soltani:

actual numbers

Graph showing the difference in hourly cost between various location tracking techniques.

The Yale Law Journal Online (YLJO) just published an article that I co-authored with Kevin Bankston (first workshopped at the Privacy Law Scholars Conference last year) entitled “Tiny Constables and the Cost of Surveillance: Making Cents Out of United States v. Jones.” In it, we discuss the drastic reduction in the cost of tracking an individual’s location and show how technology has greatly reduced the barriers to performing surveillance. We estimate the hourly cost of location tracking techniques used in landmark Supreme Court cases JonesKaro, and Knotts and use the opinions issued in those cases to propose an objective metric: if the cost of the surveillance using the new technique is an order of magnitude (ten times) less than the cost of the surveillance without using the new technique, then the new technique violates a reasonable expectation of privacy. For example…

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(Video) Pr Quentin Skinner: “How Should We Think About Freedom?”

Freedom implies Power and No Dependence or No Interference or Self-realisation.
“To be free we not only need to have no fear of interference but no fear that there could be interference. But that latter assurance is precisely what cannot be given if our actions are under surveillance.”

Publiée le 2014-01-06

How Should We Think About Freedom | Quentin Skinner

Quentin Skinner, Barber Beaumont Professor of the Humanities, Queen Mary University of London…

November 8, 2013

In this lecture, Quentin Skinner, Barber Beaumont Professor of the Humanities at Queen Mary University of London, will discuss the concept of individual freedom, arguing that the usual practice of defining it in negative terms as “absence of interference” is in need of qualification and perhaps abandonment. Because the concept of interference is such a complex one, there has been much dispute, even within the liberal tradition, about the conditions under which it may be legitimate to claim that freedom has been infringed.

View more videos at

Institute for Advanced Study, Einstein Drive, Princeton, New Jersey 08540 USA (609) 734-8000

UNIDIR Publications : “The Cyber Index: International Security Trends and Realities”

The Cyber Index: International Security Trends and Realities


The Cyber Index is intended to serve as a “snapshot” of current cybersecurity activities at the national, regional, and international levels, to help policymakers and diplomats understand the complexity of the arena. In addition, the Index seeks to elucidate some approaches towards mitigating the risks of misperceptions in the cyber domain that threaten to elevate international tensions or perhaps even lead to conflict. The subject matter is multifaceted, highly complicated, and controversial—thus no one study could adequately cover all aspects in depth. Nonetheless, the Cyber Index will help to underpin ongoing discussions and debates by providing facts and fact-based analysis of today’s challenges and opportunities regarding international stability and security in the cyber domain.

Reference activity

National Capabilities, Doctrine, Organization and Building Transparency and Confidence for Cyber Security: An Assessment

Reference activity

Cyber Threats: Information as a Weapon?

Free publication.

via UNIDIR : Publications.

Our data, our laws

Jean-Claude Lapointe, B.A., LL.B., M.A.P.:

As long as the US refuses to recognize foreigners’ Universal Human Rights Law, the US is in fact stimulating a balkanized Internet. because their arguments are morally and legally wrong.

Originally posted on National Post | Full Comment:

Over the past six months, the steady stream of disclosures from former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden has revealed a massive surveillance infrastructure that seemingly touches all Internet and telephone communication across the globe.

While the issue has generated robust debates in many countries, the Canadian political response has been relatively quiet. In an effort to address the lack of oversight over Canadian surveillance activities, Liberal MP and former public safety minister Wayne Easter recently introduced Bill C-551, which would establish a National Security Committee of Parliamentarians.

The bill is a welcome move towards providing greater transparency and accountability for Canadian intelligence agencies, yet attention to oversight is not enough. We also need to address the legal framework under which these agencies operate, and the privacy protections granted to Canadians under the law.

This is true not only for Canada — our law’s 20th-century privacy protections are…

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Visualizing TPP Negotiating Positions with New Leaks: Salt Lake City

Originally posted on To Promote the Progress?:

Gabriel J. Michael / gmichael at gwu dot edu

Update 12/12: This post is now available in a significantly less technical form at The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage Blog. If you notice differences between the graphs, you’re paying attention. They exist for two reasons. First, in order to keep things understandable, I used simpler axis scales in the other piece. Second, MDS uses a simulation process to generate the positions of points on the graph. When combined with jitter, points shift slightly each time I reproduce the graphs, although not enough to affect substantive interpretation.

I could have normalized distances across chapters by dividing by the number of proposals per chapter. This would permit all graphs to use the same scale. However, it might also understate/overstate distances.

Please share widely and repost with attribution. This content is licensed CC BY-SA 3.0. Comments, suggestions, and criticism are welcome.


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CBC / SRC : Canada’s CSEC aiding and abetting USA’s NSA spying

CBC Exclusive: Snowden document shows Canada set up spy posts for NSA

CSEC conducted espionage activities for U.S. in 20 countries, according to top-secret briefing note

By Greg Weston, Glenn Greenwald, Ryan Gallagher, CBC News Posted: Dec 09, 2013 9:03 PM ET Last Updated: Dec 10, 2013 5:14 AM

The leaked NSA document being reported exclusively by CBC News reveals Canada is involved with the huge American intelligence agency in clandestine surveillance activities in “approximately 20 high-priority countries.”

Much of the document contains hyper-sensitive operational details which CBC News has chosen not to make public.

Sections of the document with the highest classification make it clear in some instances why American spymasters are particularly keen about enlisting their Canadian counterparts, the Communications Security Establishment Canada.

“CSEC shares with the NSA their unique geographic access to areas unavailable to the U.S,” the document says.

The briefing paper describes a “close co-operative relationship” between the NSA and its Canadian counterpart, the Communications Security Establishment Canada, or CSEC — a relationship “both sides would like to see expanded and strengthened.

“The intelligence exchange with CSEC covers worldwide national and transnational targets.”

‘CSEC offers resources for advanced collection, processing and analysis, and has opened covert sites at the request of NSA’- NSA memo retrieved by Edward Snowden

The four-page missive is stamped “Top Secret” and dated April 3, 2013.


SRC Exclusive: Espions canadiens et américains main dans la main 

Oxford Internet Institute – News – Reinventing Privacy Principles for the Big Data Age – New Report

Taking note of the publication of the report, but unconvinced about the five priorities suggested below, in particular of the distinction between “collection” and “uses”:

Reinventing Privacy Principles for the Big Data Age – New Report

6 December 2013 Oxford Internet Institute

A report co-authored by OII Professor Viktor Mayer-Schönberger together with Professor Fred Cate of Indiana University) and Peter Cullen (General Manager, Trustworthy Computing Governance, Microsoft) and made public today (6 December 2013) through the Oxford Internet Institute sketches out core principles to protect information privacy in the age of Big Data.

The Data Protection Principles for the 21st Century report is based on a drafting workshop hosted by the Oxford Internet Institute, and co –chaired by Professors Mayer-Schönberger and Cate in January 2013.

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, OII Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation, co-convener of the workshop, pointed at the OECD Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data that were first issued more than three decades ago in 1980 as an early and important framework of privacy principles. In the age of Big Data, however, these principles need to be augmented and improved to ensure that they remain relevant. “The OECD Privacy Principles served us well for the first decades of the digital revolution, but now they need updating, so that we can ensure effective privacy protection in the future – while enabling the many benefits (including for society) that Big Data promises to bring.”

The report offers five priorities in revising and updating the existing OECD principles, including:

Reduce the focus on data collection and the attending notice and consent requirements, and focus more on a practical assessment of the risks (and benefits) associated with data uses.

Eliminate or substantially reduce the role of the Purpose Specification and Use Limitation principles, which require a specific, articulated purpose for collecting personal data usually at the time of collection and restrict data uses to that purpose or related, “not incompatible” purposes.

Restore the balance between privacy and the free flow of information that was the original goal of the OECD Guidelines, and avoid suppressing innovation with overly restrictive or inflexible data privacy laws.

Make data users more accountable for the personal data they access, store, and use, and hold them liable when harm to data subjects occurs.

Adopt a broader definition of the “harms” that inappropriate uses of personal data can cause, and put in place practical frameworks and processes for identifying, balancing, and mitigating those harms.

The report is the most recent in a series of initiatives designed to make privacy protection more workable and more effective that began with global data protection dialogues convened in 2012 by Microsoft in Washington, D.C., Brussels, Singapore, Sydney, and São Paulo for small groups of leading regulators, industry executives, public interest advocates, and academic experts.

These events culminated in a global privacy summit in Redmond, Washington, at which Microsoft convened more than 70 privacy and data protection experts from 19 countries on five continents to consider the future of data sources and uses and practical steps to enhance privacy protection. The summit called for reexamination of the OECD Fair Information Privacy Principles in today’s report as well as the examination of data uses and impacts that is discussed in a companion report released today by Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research (CACR) at Indiana University. That report, too, is co-authored by Professors Cate and Mayer-Schönberger as well as Microsoft’s Peter Cullen and available online.

The next step in this reconsideration of privacy protection is a series of events focusing on assessing and managing risks surrounding the use of data. CACR hosted one of those events—a tutorial on risk management for data protection experts—in November and will be hosting another—a workshop to help create frameworks for identifying and assessing risks presented by data uses—in late spring 2014. Both events have been funded by The Privacy Projects.


F. H. Cate, P. Cullen, V. Mayer-Schönberger (2013) Data Protection Principles for the 21st Century: Revising the 1980 OECD Guidelines. Microsoft Corporation.

Contact information

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, 1 St Giles Oxford OX1 3JS, United Kingdom Telephone: +44 (0)1865 287210 Fax: +44 (0)1865 287211 Email:

Last updated on: 6 December 2013

via Oxford Internet Institute – News – Reinventing Privacy Principles for the Big Data Age – New Report.

Help Build and Defend the Future of the Web | Web We Want

Web We Want

Help Build and Defend the Future of the Web

Posted on December 5, 2013 by Josh Levy

Millions of people together have made the Web great.

So, during the Web’s 25th birthday year in 2014, millions of people can secure the Web’s future. We must not let anybody – governments, companies or individuals –  take away or try to control the precious space we’ve gained on the Web to create, communicate, and collaborate freely.

This was the message from Sir Tim Berners-Lee, founding director of the World Wide Web Foundation, as he addressed a UN gathering in Geneva this week.

Sir Tim used his address to unveil a new campaign – the Web We Want. During the Web’s 25th birthday in 2014, the Web We Want campaign will ask everyone, everywhere to play a part in defining the Web’s future, and then help to build and defend it. Ultimately, the Web We Want campaign hopes to see people’s online rights on a free, open and truly global web protected by law in every country.

Want to get involved? Submit your name on the form on the right. Help us build and defend the Web we want.

Sign Up; Join us in creating the Web We Want.

Latest tweets

via Help Build and Defend the Future of the Web | Web We Want.

In Canada, Batman stands with the cyberbullies

Originally posted on WordsByNowak:

batman-slap-headerMuch has already been written about Bill C-13, the Canadian government’s omnibus legislation that is ostensibly aimed at making cyber-bullying illegal, but which also shovels in a whole bunch of unrelated stuff. Academics, journalists and privacy commissioners alike have roundly criticized it for what it is – a thinly veiled resurrection of the failed Bill C-30, which sought to give authorities all kinds of new spying powers.

C-13, or the “Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act,” does actually introduce some welcome rules that would criminalize cyber-bullying. Disseminating a naked picture of someone without their permission, also often known as “revenge porn,” would – for example – be punishable by five years in jail. No one’s disputing the need for such a law.

But there’s a whole bunch of other stuff in there, including exemptions for internet providers from lawsuits for voluntarily giving customer information to authorities, that’s…

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Encrypt the Web report by

Electronic Frontier Foundation (
“The latest update to our Encrypt the Web report includes new data from Microsoft and more. Check it out! Details at :


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