Wednesday, Peter MacKay, the new Justice Minister, unveiled Bill C-13, the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act. The similarly-named bill is now marketed as an effort to crack-down cyber-bullying, yet the vast majority of the bill simply brings back many (though not all) lawful access provisions. As this post suggests, some of the provisions raise some serious concerns. Yet the government is signalling that it would prefer to avoid such debates, wrapping up the provisions in the cyber-bullying flag and backtracking on a commitment made earlier this year to not bring forward Criminal Code amendments that were contained in Bill C-30.
The current terrain of Canadian spying legislation is complex. Bill C-30 is dead, and that is cause to celebrate. But it's also important to remain vigilant. Serious questions remain over bill C-55 and its so-called "emergency" situations, as well as how long authorities can continue to monitor communications after getting approval for intercept. At the same time, bill C-55 represents an opportunity to limit warrantless wiretaps to emergency situations only. Such a stipulation would prevent future attempts at mass surveillance along the lines of bill C-30.
The notorious online "snooping" bill, C-30, looks like it may be coming back for round two. But people shouldn't be complacent as efforts are underway to put C-30 back on the agenda. Towes claims that getting access to subscriber data is simply like getting access to a phone book. The privacy commissioners of Canada disagree. Canadians aren't fools. Privacy matters to us. So does balance. Justifications for online snooping by the state are not going to be solved by invoking buzzwords and bogeymen.
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police renewed its call for Internet surveillance legislation on Friday, urging the government to move forward with Bill C-30. It is striking that the government never mentioned cyber-bullying when it introduced Bill C-30. That is because the bill has little to do with cyber-bullying.
In 2009, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) proposed several possibilities, including the creation of new public safety tax that would appear on monthly customer bills. As I noted in a post on fixing the bill, both the regulations and the cost issues should be made public before the bill is considered by a House of Commons committee.
@Vikileaks30 isn't only smear -- it's insulting to the very Canadians its creator supposedly intended to protect. Thanks to this person, Toews' mistress and their love-child have been subjected to a level of embarrassment to which no Canadian should be subjected. Does it demonstrate the level of privacy Bill C-30 might violate? Possibly -- but it came at the cost of people who had nothing to do with it.
If Bill C-30 becomes law, the government can order a telecom provider to comply with additional confidentiality requirements not otherwise specified. It can also order an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or telecom provider to install surveillance capabilities "in a manner and within a time" specified by the government.