How I learned to mind my own business

I was walking past the local mental hospital the other day.
All the patients were shouting 13…, 13….13… 13

The fence was too high to see over, but I saw a little gap in the planks so I took a look to see what’s going on.

Some idiot poked me in the eye with a stick!

Then they started shouting 14…. 14…. 14… 14.

Canada’s Digital Privacy Act anything but private

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“The Digital Privacy Act, Bill S-4 has got a provision in it that basically throws the door open to warrantless disclosure of people’s private information to companies, to non-governmental agencies as well as the government,” said David Christopher, spokesman for the Vancouver-based Internet advocacy group OpenMedia.ca.

“The victims of that privacy breach wouldn’t even know about it. It would be a huge step backwards and it has no place in a bill which purports to protect Canadian privacy.”

The Harper government dressing up a draconian act with a soothing sounding title like ‘Digital Privacy Act’ (doesn’t it make you feel your privacy is going to be protected?) would only fool newborn babies and members of the Conservative party. Remember the various ‘Freedom of Information” Acts across Canada and other governments? Everyone knows how those acts restricted access to government information so much even newspapers and journalists ended up with pages and pages of redacted material containing thousands of blacked-out information. The only ‘Freedom’ contained in most of those Acts was the freedom to protect politicians from anyone finding out what the hell is going on.

Years ago a wise man said this to me; “If the government wants you to do it, or says its good for you, run the opposite way as fast as you can.”

The proposed Digital Privacy Act pretty well cancels the Supreme Court decision just last month regarding protecting Canadian against copyright trolling.

Christopher said the proposed Digital Privacy Act legislation would leave Canada open to copyright trolls.

“We are worried about the prospect that US-style copyright trolling might come to Canada,” he said. “Their business model has been to send out threatening letters to huge numbers of people that they accuse of breaching copyright and the aim of these letters is not to take them to court but to scare them into handing over large sums of money.”

Michael Geist, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and e-commerce law at the University of Ottawa, says the legislation could be used may be used to obtain information about you for everything from defamation to consumer disputes.

“Unpack the legalese and you find that organizations will be permitted to disclose personal information without consent (and without a court order) to any organization that is investigating a contractual breach or possible violation of any law,” Geist wrote in his blog. “This applies both past breaches or violations as well as potential future violations. Moreover, the disclosure occurs in secret without the knowledge of the affected person (who therefore cannot challenge the disclosure since they are not aware it is happening).”

Read the complete article on the Vancouver Sun here.

Is a known dog killer teaching your children at Place des arts Coquitlam spring break?

Special place in hell for those who harm children and animals

A known dog killer has taught puppetry, lantern making, and other arts and crafts to children attending Place des arts in Coquitlam, BC in the past and may be teaching your child this spring break.

But parents don’t know if a killer is teaching their children because Place des arts has left off the name of the instructor for these classes, but included the name of the instructor for all the other classes during spring break.

Parents should always know who is teaching their children, and in instances where a facility such as Place des arts doesn’t list who the instructor is – for one reason or another – parents should phone the facility and get the name of the instructor or instructors.

Some festivals or community centers offering activities for children don’t show who is teaching their children. Vancouver, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Haney, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey, Langley, Whistler and other areas often hold activities for children during spring break. As a precaution, parents should phone and ask who the instructor is and then check the Internet for any information which could be of interest to a parent.

Just last year B.C. Corrections issued a public notification after a pet-killer, described by a judge as a “psychopathic and narcissistic … sexual sadist,” was released from jail with plans to live in Vancouver.

The City of Vancouver hired a Hells Angel without too much – if any – background check. Would you want your child taught by someone without a background check of any kind?

Here is the link to the letter my lawyer wrote after she checked the facts about Liz Summerfield killing my dog during our divorce, during the time she refused numerous court orders to turn over bank records of what she had done with all the money she removed from our joint accounts.

I just feel that, as a public service to parents, they have the right to know something about the people who are teaching their children, and I suggest parents Google the names of anyone teaching or instructing their children as a precaution.

Parents, check who is teaching your children. Don’t enroll your child without feeling absolutely safe and satisfied with your choice of instructor(s).

a lantern affair hat by liz

Canadian court just made it harder for unnecessary copyright suits to launch

The outbreak of copyright trolling cases in the United States and Britain in recent years has sparked considerable anger from courts, Internet providers and subscribers. These cases, which typically involve sending thousands of legal letters alleging copyright infringement and demanding thousands of dollars to settle, rely on ill-informed and frightened subscribers, who would rather pay the settlement than fight in court.

Canada was largely spared these cases until 2012, when Voltage Pictures, a United States film company, filed a lawsuit demanding that TekSavvy, a leading independent Internet provider, disclose the names and addresses of thousands of subscribers who it claimed infringed its copyright. TekSavvy did not formally oppose the request, but it did ensure that its subscribers were informed about the lawsuit and it supported an intervention from the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, a technology law clinic, that brought the privacy and copyright trolling concerns to the court’s attention (I sit on the CIPPIC advisory board).

The federal court issued its much-anticipated decision on Thursday, granting Voltage’s request for the subscriber names, but adding numerous safeguards designed to discourage copyright trolling lawsuits in Canada. The safeguards include court oversight of the “demand letter” that will be sent to subscribers, with a case management judge assigned to review and approve its contents before being sent to any subscriber. Moreover, the letter must include a message in bold type that “no Court has yet made a determination that such subscriber has infringed or is liable in any way for payment of damages.”

Further, the court noted that given recent changes to Canadian copyright law that create a $5,000 cap on liability for non-commercial infringement, the damages “may be miniscule compared to the cost, time and effort in pursuing a claim against the subscriber.”

Read the full article by Michael Geist on The Tyee.

Dr. Michael Geist is a law professor at the University of Ottawa where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law. He is an syndicated columnist on technology law issues and writes a regular column for the Toronto Star and the Ottawa Citizen. Dr. Geist is the editor of From “Radical Extremism” to “Balanced Copyright”: Canadian Copyright and the Digital Agenda (2010) and In the Public Interest: The Future of Canadian Copyright Law (2005), both published by Irwin Law. He edits several monthly technology law publications, and is the author of a popular blog on Internet and intellectual property law issues.

Dr. Geist serves on many boards, including the CANARIE Board of Directors, the Canadian Legal Information Institute Board of Directors, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Expert Advisory Board, the Electronic Frontier Foundation Advisory Board, and on the Information Program Sub-Board of the Open Society Institute.

Impact Internet has had in 25 years

The PEW Research has just released a report on the 25th Anniversary of the Internet, and includes some interesting data on the impact the Internet has had during those 25 years.

Adoption: 87% of American adults now use the internet, with near-saturation usage among those living in households earning $75,000 or more (99%), young adults ages 18-29 (97%), and those with college degrees (97%). Fully 68% of adults connect to the internet with mobile devices like smartphones or tablet computers.

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The adoption of related technologies has also been extraordinary: Over the course of Pew Research Center polling, adult ownership of cell phones has risen from 53% in our first survey in 2000 to 90% now. Ownership of smartphones has grown from 35% when we first asked in 2011 to 58% now.

Impact: Asked for their overall judgment about the impact of the internet, toting up all the pluses and minuses of connected life, the public’s verdict is overwhelmingly positive:

  • 90% of internet users say the internet has been a good thing for them personally and only 6% say it has been a bad thing, while 3% volunteer that it has been some of both.
  • 76% of internet users say the internet has been a good thing for society, while 15% say it has been a bad thing and 8% say it has been equally good and bad.

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Digital technology is viewed as increasingly essential.

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  • 53% of internet users say the internet would be, at minimum, “very hard” to give up, compared with 38% in 2006. That amounts to 46% of all adults who now say the internet would be very hard to give up.
  • 49% of cell phone owners say the same thing about their cell, up from to 43% in 2006. That amounts to 44% of all adults who now say cell phones would be very hard to give up.
  • Overall, 35% of all adults say their television would be very hard to give up, a share that has dipped from 44% who said that in 2006.
  • 28% of landline telephone owners say their phone would be very hard to give up, a major drop from 2006 when 48% of landline owners said it would be very hard to give up their wired phone. That amounts to 17% of all adults who now say their landline phones would be very hard to give up.

In addition to this enthusiasm, a notable share of Americans say the internet is essential to them. Among those internet users who said it would be very hard to give up net access, most (61% of this group) said being online was essential for job-related or other reasons. Translated to the whole population, about four in ten adults (39%) feel they absolutely need to have internet access. Among those most deeply tied to the internet, about half as many (some 30%) said it would be hard to give up access because they simply enjoy being online.

Most internet users think online communication has strengthened their relationships and the majority report the environment is kind.

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Asked for a broad perspective about the civility or incivility they have either witnessed or encountered during their online tenure, 76% of internet users said the people they witnessed or encountered online were mostly kind and 13% said people were mostly unkind.

People were also considerably more likely to say they themselves had been treated kindly than they had been treated unkindly or attacked. And internet users were more likely to say online group behavior they had seen had been helpful, rather than harmful.

  • 70% of internet users say they had been treated kindly or generously by others online. That compares with 25% who say they have been treated unkindly or been attacked.
  • 56% of internet users say they have seen an online group come together to help a person or a community solve a problem. That compares with 25% who say they have left an online group because the interaction became too heated or members were unpleasant to one another.

These are only a summary of the report. You may read the full report here.

Author Earnings report on Amazon using 2013 data

Author Earnings has published a report using data gleaned from Amazon by their Internet spider.

From the article, “What is presented here is but one snapshot of the publishing revolution as it stands today. That revolution isn’t over. These reports can be run so long as books are ranked. Our hope is that the future brings more transparency, not less. Other artistic endeavors have far greater data at hand, and practitioners of those arts and those who aspire to follow in their footsteps are able to make better-informed decisions. The expectations of these artists and athletes are couched in realism to a degree that the writing profession does not currently enjoy.” (Bold text highlight by Ted)

Good information on earnings by authors publishing on Amazon. Whether the results can be similar or not at other ebook retailers remains to be seen.

Still, for authors curious about such matters you may read the full report here.