All the tools I recommend are open source, means you don't have to trust me, you can download the source code and look at it yourself before using it. They are absolutely required for protecting your personal, and business data from unauthorized eavesdropping, which happens by default for anything you do online.
It starts to feel like a no win situation, or as Mr. Polonetsky puts it, as though "the data genie is out of the bottle" and there is no turning back. Following the NSA leaks it became clear that Big Brother was watching, and listening -- but so are thousands of little brothers and sisters -- as anyone with smartphone in his or her pocket now holds a powerful surveillance device.
It was a Victoria day like any other until I found out the Canadian government has been vigorously spying on several Canadian organizations that work for environmental protections and democratic rights. My colleagues and I had been wary of being spied on for a long time, but having it confirmed still took the wind out of me.
The idea of a stranger listening to our phone calls, monitoring our Internet searches, reading our emails, trawling our social media accounts. These things are not only possible, but thanks to government fear mongering feeding our increased tolerance for supervision in a post-9/11 world, they're also entirely legal. Welcome to modern Canada.
We've learned an incredible amount about how governments scheme, conspire, collude, connive and lie, both to each other and to the people who elected them. Which is why my nomination for the next Nobel Peace Prize is WikiLeaks and its three great whistleblowers -- Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden.
As more and more of our personal information circulates online, is stored in the cloud, or is moved about on USBs and other portable devices, it's essential that we make sure those data flows are secure. While governments have been quick to respond to this increased ability to conduct surveillance, they have not been so enthusiastic about creating and enforcing protections for innocent citizens.
The current terrain of Canadian spying legislation is complex. Bill C-30 is dead, and that is cause to celebrate. But it's also important to remain vigilant. Serious questions remain over bill C-55 and its so-called "emergency" situations, as well as how long authorities can continue to monitor communications after getting approval for intercept. At the same time, bill C-55 represents an opportunity to limit warrantless wiretaps to emergency situations only. Such a stipulation would prevent future attempts at mass surveillance along the lines of bill C-30.
B.C.'s Information and Privacy Commissioner took a stiff shot at the use of Automatic License Plate Recognition technology by the Victoria police. But it will likely take more than just her efforts to bring this ever-expanding surveillance system back in line with privacy law. The RCMP simply shouldn't be running a surveillance system on people who haven't broken any law, and they shouldn't be able to take advantage of the federal-provincial jurisdictional split to do so either.
There has been one more bombshell occurring in London -- though it hasn't quiet made the same kind of headlines as Ye Shiwen . In contrast to all the prognostication of infectious diseases outbreaks and epidemics that could potentially lead to a pandemic, including my own, the reality is that germs have played almost no role at the Games.
The Games represent a unique opportunity for the world to share its germs and for public health officials to find a way to stem the tide of infection. The fear of germs has recently been raised to a level not seen since the days of SARS or the pandemic flu. It's now a matter of time to see whether the fears will be realized or fade away as the athletic achievements take over.
How would you feel if mall security cameras didn't simply monitoring you for stealing, but instead kept tabs on the specific brands, styles, colours and sizes of clothes you tried on, the magazines you leafed through at newsstands, what you ordered from the food court, and everything you actually bought during your visit?
Now that it no longer aspires to take over the world -- or at least subvert Western countries -- Russia is not the threat to peace that it once was. Even when I lived in Moscow, true communism was never really practiced. Most Muscovites had clandestine deals going on, where they could manipulate or cheat the system.