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City WiFi, Privacy and the right of everyone to be heard

Vancouver recently decided to roll out Municipal WiFi, and this wifi will be brought to you by Telus and Shaw, and not by the Vancouver Community Network. This isn't a big surprise because the VCN doesn't have the expertise or the people required for this task. What is interesting is the fact that there a public speaker who was allowed to speak, whose presentation was so ridiculous that it alerted me to this actually taking place.

You can find the video of the meeting here on the City of Vancouver's Neulion.com site. and the minutes of the motion here. At 1:44:04, there is a presentation of a person who refers to themselves as Cherise Kaiser. This person believes that WiFi is Genocide, is toxic and that it prevents this person from beaming their "EpiGenetic DNA". This person is given almost 10 minutes to talk about their past history, and their personal belefs about their nipples and breasts. Now, on the surface, this sounds like the most ridiculous thing that was said at the City Council meeting, except that it wasn't.

The most ridiculous thing said was by Councillor Adrianne Carr who said at 2:12:20 that she was convinced that the personal infomration of residents data was not going to be collected. This was probably told to her by city staff. Given the most recent revelations by Edward Snowden of CSEC spying on all ISP traffic, and earlier revelations of CSEC spying on airport data, it's obvious that this WILL be used to collect the data of residents by CSEC, and that while there may be no spying on the City's side, that's the only guarantee that the city can give at the municipal level. There is also another issue with the specturm usage on the 2.4 GHz band and the 5 GHz band, and the question of whether this will just add additional pollution to the band and make people's personal networks no longer work properly, but these are technical details that are clearly missing.

I'm all for City WiFi, since it means I can play Ingress without using up my data plan or my work's data plan, but I'm definitely thinking that there's going to be a terrible catch somewhere with this. Ten years ago, I was part of a group of people who were looking for a solution to use WiFi gear on, and we went to City Council to find out about their desire for someone else to run a WiFi network for free. The RFEOI at the time demanded that there'd be a business model, and we wrote two proposals. One of the proposals was the not-for-profit model for the DTES, and the other proposal was a joke proposal that talked about openly stealing metadata and cramming a shit ton of ads down people's throats. The thing with the latter is that it's far more likely than the former, especially when you add something like G+ or Facebook authentication to get on the Internet.

That being said, while it is tempting to mock Ms Kaiser for their concerns about their EpiGenetic DNA not being transmitted, the fact that they were there did attract my attention to something that I thought was dead a long time ago, and something that most people woudln't care about if their data plans weren't so god damned expensive.