The role of the Policy Committee is two-fold:
- to address policy development and implementation issues;
- to address complaints or abuses about and by CCN members.
In the year 2003 there were no complaints about the activities of any
Chebucto members. However, in the last year the internet environment has
become much more inhospitable than ever before with a staggering array of
scams, tricks, and exploits.
We have had three cases in the past year where user computers were sending
out spam messages without the user's permission or knowledge due to a
previous infection with a virus or worm which left the computer open for
such remote control abuse. In each case, internet access was immediately
suspended and not restored until the user could prove their computer was
now safe. It is likely that this sort of problem will increase, given
Users should protect themselves with valid updated antivirus software and
be sure that if they are running any version of Microsoft Windows,
Internet Explorer, or Outlook Express, that these have all the latest
patches from Microsoft applied.
The other big news for the Policy Committee is the federal government
privacy legislation, PIPEDA, which as of January 1st, 2004 applied to
Chebucto Community Net operations. In a nutshell, PIPEDA requires that any
group which holds private user information shall be accountable to the
user. Only necessary information from the user shall be gathered, this
information shall be held for only as long as is necessary and shall be
deleted when it is no longer required. Information can only be used for
the purpose it was gathered for and any new use for the information has to
be cleared by the user before it can be used for the new purpose.
Making sure Chebucto Community Net was in compliance with PIPEDA required
much work last year, everything from changing how Chebucto web logs gather
and record information, and for how long it is held, to disabling former
Chebucto services such as Who's online and Finger and reworking the
system-generated User Profile pages to stop displaying user information. A
purge of old user records - both physical paper records and online records
- had to be carried out.
A Chebucto Community Net Privacy Officer - Board member Bill Matheson -
was appointed to deal with any user questions or concerns about their
information or privacy issues. He can be emailed at privacy at chebucto
dot ns dot ca.
of most Chebucto Community Net website pages.
These new policies are here:
Challenges for the coming year will include the continuing development and
implementation of policies to help protect our users from the flood of new
scams and new exploits, all of which, like the ongoing spam problem, very
likely to get worse rather than better.
Andrew D. Wright
Chair, Policy Committee
Chebucto Community Net