Tag Archives: Police

Canada’s Proposed Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act – Open Season For Police To Spy On Canadians Online

imageIn 2005, Canada’s current Prime Minister Steven Harper made the comment – “You won’t recognize Canada when I’m done with it.”   He was right – the values that have defined Canada are gradually being replaced by values more appropriate to those of a quasi-fascist state. To those of my generation, Canada is indeed, becoming unrecognizable.

Canadians, much like their American cousins, post 9/11; continue to be coerced by government’s trump card – the war on terrorism. As a result, Canadians blindly continue to accept the invasion of their personal lives and, infringements on their right to privacy.

In a statement reminiscent of George Bush’s – “you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists”, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, in an overreaching attempt to squash dissent on the recently introduced Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act – let loose with an outrageous slogan meant to vilify opponents – “stand with us or with the child pornographers”.

In other words, anyone who dares to oppose the Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act – which, will allow carte blanche government spying on Canadians’ Internet activities – without judicial oversight – is supportive of child pornography.

Those of us who disagree with the need for this legislation which would, in effect, place Canada in the same company as China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria – who subject their citizens to Internet surveillance – run the risk of being classified as criminals, perverts, and low life’s. As  Cicero, the Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, orator, and political theorist reportedly said – “When you have no basis for an argument, abuse the plaintiff.”

This attack on reasonable and responsible discourse is hardly surprising, coming from a government intent on stripping away, layer by layer, the fundamental freedoms fought for, and won, by generations of Canadians.

To the historically challenged, and those that are less technology savvy, an intrusion into the sacrosanct ground of personal privacy – to protect children – may appear to be both reasonable, and prudent. After all, society’s protection of children must be part of the driving philosophy of any mature civilization.

But the curtailment of personal liberty – ostensibly for the common good – as this legislation supposedly is – has a rather unpleasant history. A history worth considering.

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“The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”

–  Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)

More appropriate perhaps –

“Necessity is the plea of every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves.”

–  William Pitt (British Prime Minister, 1783)

Equally as appropriate –

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.

The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated. But those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences.”

–  C.S. Lewis

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Just one of the many corrosive  provisions included in this legislation, would require Internet service providers to hand over subscriber data to the Police –  without a warrant. The familiar argument often pushed forward by supporters of this type of regressive legislation – if you have nothing to hide….. – simply doesn’t hold water.

Resistance to this legislation is not about being law abiding, it’s not about protecting children from the .0000001 %.

It is about not having every aspect of one’s life subject to close examination.

It is about not allowing Big Brother to spy on one’s Internet activities.

It is about a disturbing tendency of this particular government’s interest in knowing – and controlling – the Internet activities of Canadian citizens.

Thankfully, privacy and consumer advocates – including Federal, Provincial, and Territorial privacy commissioners – have taken a hard line and, have been speaking out against this proposed thugary. Even so, given the unyielding positions previously taken by this current regressive government – the consensus of opinion seems to indicate; this nonsense will pass into law. Ensuring that Canadians, will get a taste of what was once East German life under the Stasi (The Ministry for State Security).

The sad part of this whole exercise in repression is – it’s pointless as a control against child pornographers. Since the minds behind this abomination appear to be barely computer literate, they seem to be unaware of the following –

VPN applications (Secure Virtual Private Network Connection), commonly used in repressive countries such as Iran, China, and so on – which allow untraceable encrypted data (preventing disclosure of private information), are readily available for download on the Internet. Once connected to a VPN, an ISP no longer has the ability to follow.

I suspect that child pornographers are generally computer literate and, are well aware of the practical methods that can be used to avoid detection. VPN applications are just one such method.

The unpleasant reality is simple – unfettered government surveillance directed at Canadian Internet users.

If you are a Canadian, and you believe that it’s time to fight back against unreasonable control of your rights to access the Internet without censorship, and surveillance, you might consider joining OpenMedia.ca, which describes itself as “a grassroots organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open and affordable Internet.”

Finally, let me say – I considered long and hard as to whether I should post my opinion on this issue. The number of comments on the Net (and, in more than one national newspaper), in which personal fear of this government’s response to criticism was mentioned, weighed on my mind.

I find it stunning, that I’m living in a time in which some Canadians are fearful of their own government. The unfortunate reality is – they may have ample justification for those feelings.

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Filed under Opinion, Point of View

Online PC Care Tells Me–“Remove Onlinepccare Scam From Your Website”

imageThe funny think about the “truth” is – it’s a variable. There are countless versions of the truth (unfortunately), including – “your truth”“my truth” –  and, “the truth”. It seems Online PC Care is questioning “my truth”, and is disputing the contents of an article I wrote earlier this year – Is Online PC Care A Scam? – outlining my highly unsatisfactory personal experience with one of its cold call sales representatives.

In an email (full contents below), Online PC Care states – “the scam posted in your website is seriously hampering our image”.  Now, before I go any further into this, let me say – Yes!! I’m absolutely delighted to hear it!

Online PC Care’s email:

Sir,

It has come to our notice that your website is publishing illegitimate scams against us. This is resulting in a very bad reputation of our company. The concerned person or party who has posted this has no substantial proof in his/her claim. So this is causing a negative effect in the minds of the persons who are visiting your website.

First off let me inform you that our company has a very good reputation in the market, there are lots of satisfied customers who has recommended us to their friends and relatives. In our website, we have numerous testimonials from people all over the world.

In such a case, the scam posted in your website is seriously hampering our image. I suggest that you review our website thoroughly, study the way we operate, and then come to the conclusion whether the scam posted is a legitimate one.

So it is a request on our part to remove the scam, as it is appearing totally ill. It’s a good initiative you have taken to reveal the scams, but when the allegations are made against the company who is so well reputed in the market and very honest in their services, then it becomes troublesome for us to bear it. We are waiting for your reply soon in this matter.

Yours Faithfully,
Amit Roy
Onlinepccare Team

Response breakdown:

The concerned person or party who has posted this has no substantial proof in his/her claim.

The article is a virtual blow-by-blow description of a cold sales call from a Online PC Care representative, who lied throughout the conversation regarding fictitious issues affecting my PC – “the overall presentation was structured in such a way, as to attempt to fraudulently convince me I had serious computer problems, including a non-existing malware infection.”

In fact, the conversation referred to in the article, was the second such conversation I had with an Online PC Care representative in that particular week. I choose to report on the second call only, in order to give your company the benefit of the doubt – such as it was.

First off let me inform you that our company has a very good reputation in the market, there are lots of satisfied customers……

You need to step back for a moment and take a reality break. The reality is – your company’s reputation sucks – big time! It behooves you to do a simple Google search using the keywords “Online PC Care”. I’m sure you’ll not be surprised to see that “Scam”, is the keyword most often associated with your organization.

The following screen capture attachment will save you the effort. You’ll notice in the Google search returns, that the Microsoft Answers site addresses the issue as to whether your company is involved in scamming.

Question – What information could “online pc care” a India cold call extract from my computer? They said they were Microsoft, I allowed them remotely into my computer, to fix a so called problem.

Answer – As you’ve realized – it was a scam!. You now need to notify your bank, and anyone who you’ve had dealings with over the internet, shut down your PC, and do a reformat/reinstall – there is no telling what the scammer has installed on your PC without your knowledge.

I feel a certain sense of accomplishment in seeing that my article is included on the first page. It seems “my truth” has validity. BTW, I’m curious to know if you’ve requested that Microsoft take down this inflammatory reference to your company. If not, then why not?

Google search inquiry – first page.

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Let’s not stop there though. If you’re curious as to what your reputation is, as determined by the WOT (Web of Trust) online community, then you’ll be interested in the attached WOT reputation rating screen shot.

It couldn’t get much worse – could it?

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FYI, I’ve included in this response a few (a very few), article references which investigate Pecon Software (your umbrella company).

The Guardian newspaper – Police crack down on computer support phone scam: An article which reports that Indian authorities shut down 19 websites following complaints from the UK and elsewhere. Here’s an excerpt –

Among those shut was supportonclick.com, registered to Pecon Software, a firm based in Kolkata. The company has now opened another support website, called onlinepccare.com, which is the subject of numerous online complaints about cold calling, “bullying”, and claims that the caller is from Windows PC care.

The Guardian newspaper: PC virus’ phone scam: supportonclick company insists it is innocent. Here’s an excerpt –

After being told to download a program that handed over remote control of their computer so the caller could install “fixes”, the PC users were told of the £185 charge for subscription to “the preventative service”. But the “fixed” computers never had any problems, and the value of the service was dubious.

Unfortunately, typical computer users pay little attention to warnings, and alerts designed to warn then against sophisticated scams. On top of which, consumers are easily manipulated, by well trained and persistent cold callers (but you know that), into ignoring safety precautions.

I’m glad to have received your take-down request, since it provides me with another opportunity to shine a light on the dark spaces in which parasitic organizations, such as yours, thrive.

Just to be clear – the ship has sailed, and I have no intention of retracting anything I’ve written regarding Online PC Care, or honoring your request for a take-down.

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19 Comments

Filed under Cyber Crime, Cyber Criminals, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Internet Security Alerts, Online Safety, Opinion, Windows Tips and Tools