Privacy issues deepen…

 May 26, 2014

Herald News – Halifax    Paul McLeod
Supreme Court to rule soon on telecom data privacy 

 The issue is clear: when the police simply ask for your electronic data, without a warrant or otherwise informing you, the telecoms give it, surprisingly frequently and in considerable numbers.  What is more, some telecoms have re-worded their contracts with clients to allow the revelations. The courts will rule on whether the practice is constitutional.  Related article:  Globe and Mail: Josh Wingrove –  Privacy watchdogs troubled by controversial bill extending police powers   Related article: Globe and Mail – Editorial   Canada needs a royal commission on spying and privacy of Canadians   Related article: CBC News – Privacy pushback: 6 instances where rights could be threatened    Related article: Toronto Star – Tim Harper –   U.S. tax deal jeopardizes Canadians’ privacy   Related article: Herald News – Halifax   Dan Leger   Pull back veil on national security   

Globe and Mail – Bill Curry
Ottawa approved thousands of foreign worker requests at minimum wage, data reveal 

The Alberta Federation of Labour has uncovered data under access to information that the federal government approved over 15,000 minimum wage jobs for foreign workers.  The workers are paid according to the median wage in the area but 97% are paid less than required by the regulations.  The feds are now considering a “wage floor.”   Related article:  Globe and Mail – Bill Curry  Everything you need to know about temporary foreign workers    

 Ottawa Citizen –  William Marsden,  Postmedia News 
U.S. jails becoming debtors’ prisons  

 The article highlights the problems around poor people fined by the courts for misbehaviour and for court costs.  Since 90% of those charged and fined are poor people, what happens when the poor person can not pay the costs or the 12% interest?  Increasingly it’s debtor’s prison.   

Miami Herald – Fred Grimm
Brutality against mentally ill inmates has become the norm 

 The case is sparking outrage.  Guards decided that to punish a mentally ill inmate they would confine him in a scalding hot shower; he died under the water after an hour.  Though the incident occurred in July 2012, to date there is no autopsy and no homicide investigation reports, even though a staff psychologist reported the practice to the federal Department of Justice.   Related article:  Inquistr – Mentally Ill, Rikers Island Inmate, Bradley Ballard, Found Dead In Jail Cell, Covered in Feces    Related article:  Stanford Law School:  Darrell Steinberg, David Mills, Michael Romano   When did prisons become acceptable mental healthcare facilities?   (A 23 page downloadable pdf)  “We have created conditions that makecriminal behavior all but inevitable for many of our brothers and sisters who are mentally ill.” 

 The Source – Tamara El
Tennessee Brings Back the Electric Chair 

 In the absence by boycott of the drugs used for lethal injection, the state of Tennessee has opted to use the electric chair for death penalty without offering a choice of means of death to the inmates.    The vote in both the House of Representatives and the state senate was overwhelmingly in favour just after the state elections.