Friday, May 29, 2015

A Book I'm Very Interested to Read. And You Can, Too - For Free

I just received this in my RSS feed:

This is just the sort of book I've been looking for - something that gives me an overview of the legal framework around and current state of government surveillance powers. I had seriously considered buying Craig Forcese's book, National Security Law - Canadian Practice in International Perspective, and I might yet do that, but Law, Privacy and Surveillance in Canada in the Post-Snowden Era has several advantages:
  • It's written by multiple authors, often specializing in the particular subtopic about which they're writing. (This may be true of National Security Law as well, I'm not sure)
  • It's up to date as of at least May 6th of this year. I saw a reference in one of the footnotes to the passage of C-51 through the House on May 6th. In other words, while it gives a historical context and legal analysis (most of the authors are lawyers or law professors) to current events, which usually means a few years delay, this book is very current. By comparison, Craig Forcese's book was written in 2007, and in order to get current, I'd have to read the book plus updates in his blog.
  • It's free. You could buy a paper or ebook format for $45, but it's also available for free under a Creative Commons share alike non-commercial license, as a PDF download, here.
I think both understanding Internet surveillance, and keeping this issue in people's minds until the October election, are important goals.  So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to read through this book, slowly and carefully, and post my thoughts, reactions, and things I've learned on this blog. I'm going to do it on a schedule that is not too arduous for me, or for anyone else with a busy life who wants to read along with me. There are 9 chapters, each about 30 pages long. I'll read one chapter every two weeks, posting about the first chapter two weeks from now. Here's the schedule:

Part I: Understanding Surveillance

June 13, 2015: Chapter I: Canadian Internet "Boomerang" traffic and Mass NSA Surveillance: Responding to Privacy and Network Sovereignty Challenges

June 27, 2015: Chapter II: Forgotten Surveillance: Covert Human Intelligence Sources in Canada in a Post-9/11 World

Part II: Legal Issues

July 11, 2015: Chapter III: Foreign Intelligence in an Inter-Networked World: Time for a Re-Evaluation

July 25, 2015: Chapter IV: Lawful Illegality: What Snowden Has Taught Us About the Legal Infrastructure of the Surveillance State

August 8, 2015: Chapter V: Law, Logarithms, and Liberties: Legal Issues Arising from CSE's Metadata Collection Initiatives

Part III: Reforms and Accountability

August 22, 2015: Chapter VI: Permanent Accountability Gaps and Partial Remedies

September 5, 2015: Chapter VII: The Failure of Official Accountability and the Rise of Guerilla Accountability

September 19, 2015: Chapter VIII: Why Watching the Watchers Isn't Enough: Canadian Suveillance Law in the Post-Snowden Era

October 3, 2015: Chapter IX: Stuck on the Agenda: Drawing Lessons from the Stagnation of "Lawful Access" Legislation in Canada