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BCCLA has written a clear, easy-to-understand guide for Canadians about issues that are far from clear or easy to understand:

The first thing to remember if you’re a Canadian travelling to the United States is that you do not have a free-standing right to enter the US. Many Canadians have been crossing the Canada-US border regularly and without incident for years, but it’s important to remember that US officials have no obligation to let you into the country and can deny you entry for all sorts of reasons that may seem arbitrary and unfair.

[ . . . ]

Until another case comes along, we simply do not know whether the CBSA’s powers include compelling people to provide passwords (though we certainly know that CBSA acts as if they have this power), or whether it is constitutional to arrest someone for refusing (though we know that people have been arrested in these circumstances).

In short: We have very limited privacy at the border, even coming back into Canada. This is an issue that hasn’t been clearly decided by the courts yet. Until then, there are fuzzy guidelines, which may or may not offer some degree of protection. But, if in doubt, leave your devices at home.

And, memo to the federal government: We need to do better. Please address this through legislation, rather than waiting for it to end up in court.


Responding to massive public pressure, including an online petition that garnered over 57,000 signatures, Rogers has announced a $30 data plan for the iPhone.

It’s not the unlimited flat plan that people had hoped for, but at 6 gigabytes, it’s pretty close. And so far, it’s only available to people who purchase their iPhone before August 31st. But it’s a whole lot better than the previously-announced plans, which start at $60 and range to $115 per month – gouge-worthy levels.

The problem is, Rogers holds all the cards. Once people rush out to take advantage of this pricing and sign three-year contracts, they’re locked in. And Rogers’ regular rates for data plans are outrageously high.

Meanwhile, Bell and Telus are coming under fire for their decisions to charge for incoming text messages… by the government:

Industry Minister Jim Prentice publicly demanded an explanation from two of the country’s telecommunications giants yesterday about their “ill-thought-out” decision to start charging cellphone customers for incoming text messages.

Here’s a thought: Rather than summoning them in front of a government committee to try to justify their pricing, as these telecom giants are accustomed to doing from their monopoly days, why not open up the market to real competition instead of our current oligopoly-style imitation? That would take care of their cash-grab collusion pricing in a hurry.


Online photo sites: Close, but not there yet?


As many of you know, Yahoo Photos, which I’d been using for some time now, is in the process of shutting down. Yahoo’s acquisition of online photo sharing and social networking site Flickr earlier in the year led it to the not-so-unreasonable conclusion that having two competing technologies was maybe not the best idea, and […]

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