Police Commissioner defends access to Opal card records

Police Commissioner defends access to Opal card records:

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione has defended police being given powers to access Opal card records as a crucial tool to ensure the “safety and security of the community”.

The police chief’s defence came as a complaint was lodged with the state’s privacy commissioner about law enforcement agencies being able to track hundreds of thousands of commuters without a warrant.

Significantly, it isn’t just the police who could access Opal card data. It’s anyone defined with law enforcement powers which, in Australia, includes over 100 different groups. That this kind of data can be accessed without warrant – data that can reveal roughly where people live, work, the kinds of places they visit, people they commonly travel with – is absolutely absurd.


For Canada’s Spies, Your Data Is Just a Phone Call Away

For Canada’s Spies, Your Data Is Just a Phone Call Away:

“I have recently had to deal with a client who had a request from CSIS for information,” said a Canadian lawyer who asked to remain anonymous. The lawyer and client asked CSIS to put the request in writing so it could properly consider the request. “CSIS said ‘it is against our policy to put those requests in writing.’”

Penney says he tried to log onto his client’s account, only to find that the password wasn’t working. He recovered the account to discover someone changed it. Penney brought that fact to the judge and discovered the culprit was an officer in the Saskatchewan Internet Child Exploitation Unit. The officer sent a PIPEDA request to Gigatribe requesting the password.

Sean Carter, a Toronto lawyer who has experience with warrantless disclosure, said off-the-books requests are not exactly uncommon. “They hate putting it in writing,” he said. “It’s so hard to follow the trail back to the actual request.” Carter pointed out that if they obtain data from a company, and use that to put together evidence for a production order or warrant, nobody would ever be the wiser that they obtained the data in the first place.

Warrantless access to information isn’t just used to extract data from telcos, but from a litany of other ‘telecommunications service providers.’

Question to SCOTUS: Can we even bring legal action over warrantless spying?

The EFF continues it’s long slog to challenge the US government’s warrantless wiretapping. At this point a series of cases have been dismissed, though the Supreme Court is now hearing a case to ascertain whether those who have been affected by the dragnet surveillance – lawyers, journalists, human rights lawyers – can challenge the statute given that it “prevents them from doing their job without taking substantial measures when communicating to overseas witnesses, sources and clients.”

This is an incredibly serious case. The outcome will not decide the legality of the statute itself but just whether it can be challenged. By anyone. A dismissal of the case – that is, a decision declaring that no one clearly has standing to challenge the statute – would prevent the existing intelligence operations from ever being challenged so long as the government avoids bringing warrantlessly-accessed data into a trial as evidence.

Watch this case; if it goes sideways then the American government will have (effectively) been given license by the highest court in the land to surveil Americans, without warrant, and without an effective means to prevent the surveillance.