Ottawa – The director of the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab says spyware is “like a wiretap on steroids,” and it requires more oversight and a much higher threshold for use than traditional wiretaps.
Ron Diebert will speak to the House of Commons ethics committee as part of its probe into the RCMP’s use of spyware in 32 investigations in the last five years.
In prepared remarks provided to The Canadian Press, Diebert says what he calls the “mercenary spyware industry” is poorly regulated and associated with widespread abuses.
He says the industry is a threat to civil society, human rights and democracy and governments should be transparent about procurement of this technology.
Yesterday, senior officers told the committee the RCMP does not use the controversial Pegasus spyware, but refused to disclose details about the technology it is using, citing national security concerns.
The RCMP also says while the technology is new, the invasion of privacy on a digital device is similar to what police have done for years through wiretapping and installing surveillance cameras.
Federal privacy commissioner Philippe Dufresne told the committee the Mounties didn’t notify his office before starting to use the technology, and he learned about it through the media.
He’s called on MPs to make changes to privacy legislation that would require government departments and organizations to launch privacy impact assessments whenever new technology is introduced that could have an impact on the “fundamental right to privacy.”
Dufresne’s predecessor Daniel Therrien will also appear before the committee today, along with the president of the Privacy and Access Council of Canada.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 9, 2022.
CP NewsAlert: L’Arche says co-founder Jean Vanier sexually abused 25 women
MONTREAL — A report commissioned by a non-profit organization founded by the late Jean Vanier says the Canadian sexually abused 25 women during his decades with the group.
L’Arche International says the investigation identified 25 women who experienced a sexual act or an intimate gesture from Vanier between 1952 and 2019.
It says the relationships between Vanier, who died in 2019, and the women are “part of a continuum of confusion, control and abuse.”
Vanier, son of former Governor General Georges Vanier, worked as a Canadian navy officer and professor before turning to Catholic-inspired charity work.
He founded L’Arche in 1964 as an alternative living environment where those with developmental disabilities could be full-fledged participants in the community instead of patients.
The Canadian Press
Memphis braces for release of video in Tyre Nichols’ arrest
By Adrian Sainz in Memphis
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The city of Memphis and the nation on Friday awaited the release of a police video depicting five officers viciously beating Tyre Nichols, a Black man whose death prompted murder charges against the cops and outrage at the country’s latest instance of police brutality.
The officers were charged Thursday with murder and other crimes in the killing of Nichols, a motorist who died three days after a confrontation with the officers during a traffic stop.
Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy told a news conference that although the officers each played different rolesin the killing, “they are all responsible.”
The officers, who are all Black, each face charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.
Nichols’ family members and their lawyers said the footage shows officers savagely beating the 29-year-old FedEx worker for three minutes in an assault that the legal team likened to the infamous 1991 police beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King. His family urged supporters to protest peacefully.
Memphis Police Director Cerelyn Davis said she expected protests after the release of video showing officers’ actions, which she described as “heinous, reckless and inhumane,” but she also urged the community to remain peaceful.
“I expect our citizens to exercise their First Amendment right to protest, to demand actions and results, but we need to ensure our community is safe in this process,” she said. “None of this is a calling card for inciting violence or destruction on our community or against our citizens.”
Davis said Friday that her department has been unable to substantiate the reckless driving allegation that prompted the stop.
“As far as I know today, I do believe that the stop itself was very questionable,” she told Good Morning America.
Video of the Jan. 7 traffic stop will be released to the public sometime Friday evening, Mulroy said, noting that local and state investigators wanted to complete as many interviews as possible before releasing it.
Davis told GMA that the decision to release the video on Friday evening rather than earlier in the day had been made after consulting with other local leaders, who believe it’s best to do it when schools are out and people are home from work.
As a precaution, Memphis area schools canceled all after-class activities and postponed a school event scheduled for Saturday morning.
Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells, told The Associated Press by phone that he and his wife, RowVaughn Wells, who is Nichols’ mother, discussed the second-degree murder charges and are “fine with it.” They had sought first-degree murder charges.
“There’s other charges, so I’m all right with that,” he said.
The Wellses were joined by several dozen supporters on a cold Thursday night for a candlelight vigil and prayer service at a Memphis skate park. Nichols, who had a 4-year-old son, was an avid skateboarder.
RowVaughn Wells, who said her family is “grief-stricken,” warned supporters of the “horrific” nature of the video set to be released Friday, but like Davis, pleaded for peaceful protests.
“I don’t want us burning up our city, tearing up the streets, because that’s not what my son stood for,” she said. “If you guys are here for me and Tyre, then you will protest peacefully.”
Activists and clergy led the group in prayer and a drummer played a steady rhythm to lead into the spoken part of the vigil. Afterward, skaters rode their boards as the Wellses watched.
Court records showed that all five former officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith — were taken into custody.
Martin’s lawyer, William Massey, confirmed that his client had turned himself in. He and Mills’ lawyer, Blake Ballin, said their clients would plead not guilty. Lawyers for Smith, Bean and Haley could not be reached.
“No one out there that night intended for Tyre Nichols to die,” Massey said.
Both lawyers said they had not seen the video.
“We are in the dark about many things, just like the general public is,” Ballin said.
Second-degree murder is punishable by 15 to 60 years in prison under Tennessee law.
The attorneys for Nichols’ family, Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, issued a statement saying that Nichols “lost his life in a particularly disgusting manner that points to the desperate need for change and reform to ensure this violence stops occurring during low-threat procedures, like in this case, a traffic stop.”
At the White House, President Joe Biden said the Nichols family and the city of Memphis deserve “a swift, full and transparent investigation.”
“Public trust is the foundation of public safety, and there are still too many places in America today where the bonds of trust are frayed or broken,” Biden said in a statement.
Davis said other officers are still being investigated for violating department policy. In addition, she said “a complete and independent review” will be conducted of the department’s specialized units, without providing further details.
Two fire department workers were also removed from duty over the Nichols’ arrest.
As state and federal investigations continue, Davis promised the police department’s “full and complete cooperation” to determine what contributed to Nichols’ Jan. 10 death.
Crump said the video showed that Nichols was shocked, pepper-sprayed and restrained when he was pulled over near his home. He was returning home from a suburban park where he had taken photos of the sunset.
Police have said Nichols was stopped for reckless driving and at some point fled from the scene.
Relatives have accused the police of causing Nichols to have a heart attack and kidney failure. Authorities have only said Nichols experienced a medical emergency.
One of the officers, Haley, was accused previously of using excessive force. He was named as a defendant in a 2016 federal civil rights lawsuit while employed by the Shelby County Division of Corrections.
The claims were ultimately dismissed after a judge ruled that Sledge had failed to file a grievance against the officers within 30 days of the incident.
Associated Press reporters Aaron Morrison in New York, Travis Loller in Nashville and Rebecca Reynolds in Lexington, Kentucky, contributed to this report.
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