CHRC: "nothing untoward, nothing wrong" with hacking citizen's Internet
Nelly Hechme is the innocent bystander whose Internet connection was hacked by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, so their investigators could cover their tracks when they went online under their secret codenames to surf white supremacist websites.
(I know. That entire sentence is insane. But it's true.)
Hechme has now done another interview with the Canadian Press, and the story is even worse than previously reported. According to Hechme, her Internet connection was secure -- it was actively hacked by the CHRC. Here are some other excerpts from her interview:
"It's horrible," Hechme said. "You never want something like that attached to your name."
...Hechme, 26, who lives close to the commission's offices in Ottawa, said she was "completely shocked" when a reporter contacted her about the disclosure.
"It was like the "Twilight Zone." I didn't know what the heck was going on," said Hechme, an administrative assistant with Bell Canada.
"I don't like the fact that my information was just put out all over, including my age, where I live, pictures of where I live. It's very disturbing."
So far, the commission has not explained why or how its investigators might have commandeered Hechme's connection or offered any alternative explanation for how Hechme and "Jadewarr" became linked.
That's a lot calmer than I'd be if I had my Internet connection hijacked by rogue operatives of a government bureaucracy. But the best part of the interview isn't Hechme's information. It's Ian Fine's stunning statement that they did nothing wrong.
Ian Fine, senior general counsel with the rights commission, said he was unable to comment on the specifics of the case in light of ongoing investigations but denied any wrongdoing.
"We are quite confident that, at the end of the day, it will be established that the Canadian Human Rights Commission has done nothing untoward, nothing wrong, in this whole scenario," Fine said.
Is there anything that's out of bounds over there? More to the point, is there anyone over there who will take responsibility? What about Jennifer Lynch, the chief commissioner? Does she share Fine's view that there's nothing wrong with illegally hacking a private citizen's Internet account? Of how about Rob Nicholson, the Justice Minister? Is there some special exemption from the Criminal Code for his "human rights" vigilantes? Just how bad does it have to get before he utters a word besides "no comment"?
Hechme, meanwhile, is pondering civil action, saying it's not fair she's been caught up in the murky web.
She's particularly distressed at finding her name associated with white supremacists and wonders whether that link - now firmly forged through the reach of the Internet - might come back to haunt her.
"This is the part that bothers me the most. I don't know if my name is going to be flagged if I want to cross the border, if I apply for a job," she said.
"I don't even want anyone questioning my name. Ever."
Good idea. I think Hechme should sue for an enormous sum -- I think the CHRC would pay just about anything to avoid having to reveal the truth about their vigilante activities in a real court, with real rules of disclosure -- not a human rights tribunal that's in the CHRC's pocket.
And besides grotesque revelations about the Hechme case, how many other private citizens have had their Internet accounts hacked? What else would come out if the CHRC was ever held to normal standards of accountability?
Sue, Nelly, sue!
h/t Dave P