CRTC Stands By New Disclosure Requirement on Software Installs Over Objections From ESAC, RIM

Michael Geist, Weblog, Mar 29, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This is something I can stand behind: a set of regulations from the CRTC, as excerpted by Michael Geist, describing actions a computer program cannot take without advising the user ("the person seeking consent must obtain an acknowledgement in writing from the person from whom consent is being sought that they understand and agree that the program performs the specified functions"):
(a) collecting personal information stored on the computer system;
(b) interfering with the owner’s or an authorized user’s control of the computer system;
(c) changing or interfering with settings, preferences or commands already installed or stored on the computer system without the knowledge of the owner or an authorized user of the computer system;
(d) changing or interfering with data that is stored on the computer system in a manner that obstructs, interrupts or interferes with lawful access to or use of that data by the owner or an authorized user of the computer system;
(e) causing the computer system to communicate with another computer system, or other device, without the authorization of the owner or an authorized user of the computer system;
(f) installing a computer program that may be activated by a third party without the knowledge of the owner or an authorized user of the computer system; and
(g) performing any other function specified in the regulations.
As Geist says, "While this is obviously designed first and foremost at spyware, it targets many other possibilities including the infamous Sony rootkit case and other attempts by software or app developers to unexpectedly collect personal information or interfere with a user's computer. It could also have an impact on some digital rights management systems."
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