Archives for category: Security

In the last post, I wrote about how the big wigs in the UK we’re and still are looking to lean on social media to curtail riots and whatnot. As ridiculous as that is, this wonky mindset is catching on Canada’s side of the pond.


…proposed “lawful access” legislation would make “warrantless wiretapping pretty much normal,” David Murakami Wood, a member of The Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., said Wednesday.

Lawful access is part of the Conservative government’s comprehensive bundle of crime legislation that Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised to pass within 100 days of the May 2 election.

Researcher Murakami Wood said, if passed, it would make the interception of communications a more general police tactic, rather than one that is only used in special circumstances.

Critics say the bill would require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to disclose customer information to law enforcement without court orders and to invest in new technologies allowing for real-time surveillance of their networks. It would make companies, such as RIM, the gatekeepers of users’ privacy, and government would hold the key, they contend.[source]

It’s the sort of threat-inflation that tends to make me squeamish over the potential for state abuses of privacy. A recent Globe and Mail opinion piece criticized the proposed legislation for being paranoid and illogical.   I can’t help but agree with this.

However, there hasn’t been a lot of buzz about this in Canada yet. Once the UK riots died down, the issue faded.  But, I think as the Conservative government tries to push through their omnibus crime legislation, we’ll hear more about it.

This is something on horizon. We watched this rapid erosion of privacy in the US, and, yelp, it can happen here in Canada.

UPDATE: The CBC, way back on August 9, posted an article about an open letter sent to PM Harper about all this. You’ll notice that this pre-dates the UK riots a little, but I’m sure the Conservatives were happy that David Cameron’s anti-RIMism is greasing the wheels. END UPDATE

****Personal Note****

I apologise for the slow rate of posting. I started a new job last week, and I am actively learning the ILS Librarian ropes. This means that posts will sporadic until I settle in. Which is good, since my new job is giving me plenty of grist for this here blogging mill.

Egyptian Muesum Protected by Army Egypt’s been in the streets for a week now (and it’s clearly getting crazier). With the Egyptian Museum threatened and under the army’s protection, what about another valuable (albeit, less famous) cultural and knowledge centre: the reduxed Library of Alexandia.
Good news:

The library is safe thanks to Egypt’s youth, whether they be the staff of the Library or the representatives of the demonstrators, who are joining us in guarding the building from potential vandals and looters. I am there daily within the bounds of the curfew hours. However, the Library will be closed to the public for the next few days until the curfew is lifted and events unfold towards an end to the lawlessness and a move towards the resolution of the political issues that triggered the demonstrations.[from the BA’s site]

They’ve posted a photo gallery of citizens and librarians banding together to protect the building.

History shows that times of upheaval are not particularly kind to libraries and museums.

I have my fingers crossed that the outcome will be different this time. Here’s to speedy, safe(r), and democratic peace in Egypt.

the fastest gunFrom the Iowa City Press:

The Iowa City Council will examine the idea of banning firearms from city property in light of the state’s changes to its gun permit laws.

After Susan Craig, Iowa City Public Library director, asked the city to explore whether the library has the authority to prohibit guns, the city attorney’s office concluded Iowa City legally can do so on all municipal property…

Since Jan. 1, gun owners are no longer required to conceal their firearms in public, and county sheriffs have less discretion when denying permits.

Assistant City Attorney Eric Goers said in a memo that any weapons restrictions must first be approved formally by the entity in control of the property, such as the library’s board of directors. Clear signage also must be posted on all entrances stating that restrictions may be enforced by way of a criminal trespass charge, Goers said.[full article here]

Safety and public access run hand in hand. People should feel safe when they access their local library. But, increased security and screening in public buildings is costly, particularly cash strapped public libraries. What challenges do increased security pose to user privacy? At the same time, if someone is going to walk into a library and fire a pistol, would a law against carrying a firearm stop that person? Would metal detectors and guards?

Do Iowa libraries risk alienating a large portion of their users by banning weapons on their premises? Would Iowans welcome library closures or limited services/collections to have their 2nd amendment rights(such as they are construed) protected? I’d love to see that user survey. Read the rest of this entry »