Sunday, January 2, 2011

Security, Spam and Internet Governance Challenges in Canada

Spam, according to Industry Canada (2005) “has become a significant social and economic issue, affecting the business and personal productivity of citizens and economies around the globe”. Furthermore, spam is used for illegal activities such as distribution of unsolicited marketing materials, phishing and Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, and distribution of viruses and Trojans Horses. Spam affects not only the home user, but Internet Service Providers (ISP) who must invest in the anti-spam technologies and maintain utilize existing bandwidth, commercial retailers whose legitimate messages are being filtered out, and private and public sector organizations whose employees are wasting time and corporate resources.
In 1997, Industry Canada has conducted a study investigating the possibility to regulate the content on the Internet. The report concluded that none of the available technologies would prevent technically savvy Canadians from accessing “content that violates pre-defined rules of acceptability, nor would they ensure that the user would be exposed to any measure of desirable content” (Miller, Gerry et al, 1999). In 2005, Canada has established a task force to analyze and provide recommendations on dealing with spam. The provided report (Industry Canada, 2005) outlines multifaceted measures required to deal with spam including involvement of legislative body (on federal and provincial levels) to provide legislation, regulation and enforcement, involvement of Internet Service Providers (ISP) and other network operators, user education and security awareness. The latest released statistics by the Canada Anti-Fraud Centre indicated that although “Telephone/Fax” is still the most prevalent method of the Mass Marketing Fraud, which include “telemarketing fraud, West African fraud, internet fraud and Identify Theft” (Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, 2010), the highest financial loss in 2009 is through usage of Email and Internet solicitation methods. Although the number of victims and the total dollar loss from Mass Marketing Fraud schemes has reduced from 2007 from $66M to $59M, there is a slight increase in the Identity Theft victims from 2007 which is accounting for $10,882,279.04 loss in 2009. Following the study, a Bill C-27 (the Electronic Commerce Protection Act) was re-introduced as Bill C-28 (Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam Act, or FISA) and became a law on December 15, 2010. The intent of the legislation is to deter the most damaging and deceptive forms of spam, such as identity theft, phishing and spyware, from occurring in Canada and to help to drive out spammers.
Furthermore, Canada, through Industry Canada Electronic Commerce Branch, is active in promoting a common international policy framework to handle issues such as spam, privacy, identity theft and fraud, through collaboration with international bodies such as Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG) and G8 High-Tech Crime Sub-Group (Industry Canada, 2009).
Data and data privacy are governed on a federal level by Privacy Act and Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). On a provincial level, a number of laws and acts exists such as he Personal Health Information Protection Act (Ontario), Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Ontario), The Personal Information Protection Act (Alberta) and An Act Respecting the Protection of Personal Information in the Private Sector (Quebec). Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPCC) is consider to be one of the more active in evaluating technologies and the use of these technologies with potential privacy concerns. Furthermore, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is investigating and perusing businesses who break the law, such as recent investigations into Bell Canada and Xentel DM for violated of the National Do Not Call List (CBC News 2010).


No comments:

Post a Comment