Lawful Access Legislation: Online Spying Critics Siding With Child Pornographers, Vic Toews Says

Lawful Access Online Surveillance Bill Canada Towe

First Posted: 02/13/2012 5:25 pm Updated: 02/16/2012 2:06 pm

UPDATE - The Opposition has come out swinging against legislation that would make electronic surveillance easier for police and spies.

New Democrat MP Charlie Angus says his party will vigorously fight the bill tabled today.

The NDP says the legislation gives authorities easy access to too much personal information about Internet users.

Angus says the measures would open the process to police fishing expeditions.

Asked Monday about the coming bill, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews told a Liberal MP he could either stand with the government or with child pornographers prowling online.

Opposition MPs have denounced his comments as an insult to those who care about civil liberties.

OTTAWA - The government says anyone who opposes federal plans to make electronic surveillance easier for police and spies is siding with child pornographers.

It's the first salvo in a battle that will resume Tuesday when the government reintroduces legislation that would expand online monitoring powers.

The issue pits the desire of intelligence and law-enforcement officials to have easier access to information about Internet users against the individual's right to privacy.

Asked Monday in the House of Commons about the coming bill, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews told a Liberal MP he could either stand with the government or "with the child pornographers" prowling online.

Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart has warned against simply resurrecting a trio of previous federal bills to expand surveillance powers, citing several shortcomings.

Of particular concern to the privacy commissioner are provisions that would allow authorities access to Internet subscriber information without first getting a court's go-ahead.

Toews office has said the government will strike an appropriate balance between necessary investigative powers and the protection of privacy.

Still, opposition MPs were alarmed by his comments Monday.

"Apparently if you care about civil liberties in this country you obviously side with child pornographers, murderers," said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.

"You're the worst form of scum if you believe the charter's an important instrument for the rule of law in this country. I'm horrified by this kind of rhetoric. It demeans us all."

New Democrat MP Peter Julian accused the government of asking people to make "absurd choices."

"They simply do not have any credibility when it comes to putting in place a justice system that actually protects Canadians."

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  • What's In Online-Snooping Bill

    Like similar legislation introduced in the past by both Conservative and Liberal governments, the new bill includes provisions that would: <em>With files from CBC</em> (Shutterstock)

  • Warantless Online Info

    Require telecommunications and internet providers to give subscriber data to police, national security agencies and the Competition Bureau without a warrant, including names, phone numbers and IP addresses. (CP)

  • Back Door Access

    Force internet providers and other makers of technology to provide a "back door" to make communications accessible to police. (Getty)

  • Location, Location, Location

    Allow police to get warrants to obtain information transmitted over the internet and data related to its transmission, including locations of individuals and transactions. (Alamy)

  • Preserve Data

    Allow courts to compel other parties to preserve electronic evidence. (Alamy)

  • New Bill Is Different

    However, unlike the most recent previous version of the bill, the new legislation: (Alamy)

  • Less Data

    Requires telecommunications providers to disclose, without a warrant, just six types of identifiers from subscriber data instead of 11. (Alamy)

  • Oversight

    Provides for an internal audit of warrantless requests that will go to a government minister and oversight review body. Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews is pictured. (CP)

  • Review After 5 Years

    Includes a provision for a review after five years. (Alamy)

  • More Time To Implement

    Allows telecommunications service providers to take 18 months instead of 12 months to buy equipment that would allow police to intercept communications. (Alamy)

  • Expanded Definitions

    Changes the definition of hate propaganda to include communication targeting sex, age and gender. (Alamy)

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Filed by Brodie Fenlon  |