The legislation title in question: the Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act
Privacy watchdog strongly opposed to any legislation that allows the "mass surveillance" of private e-mails
and phone calls.
"My concerns are a huge increase in surveillance powers."
"The [obtaining] of a warrant for looking into people's private papers,private affairs, now e-mail conversations
is a basic tenet of our democratic and constitutional rights in Canada. To erode this is a very serious step
toward mass surveillance..."
The Liberals faced considerable resistance in government from Ms.Stoddart and other privacy advocates
when they attempted a "lawful access" law in 2005. But a new private member's bill suggests Liberals and
Conservatives may not be far apart on this issue.____________________________________________________________________________________________
Related Post:Canadians will be under surveillance, critics charge
To access my current posts, click the following link:Notes From a Cyber Trader___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Privacy watchdog warns Tories against mass snooping
The Globe and Mail
February 13, 2009
OTTAWA — Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart delivered a stern warning to the federal government yesterday, saying she is strongly opposed to any legislation that allows the "mass surveillance" of private e-mails and phone calls.
She was reacting to the news that the government wants to update Canada's wiretapping laws with new police powers to monitor criminal suspects in the digital era of cellphones and chat rooms.
"My concerns are a huge increase in surveillance powers," said Ms. Stoddart, who has been raising objections since such an update was first proposed in legislation in 2005 by the Liberal government of Paul Martin
. The commissioner, who has had general discussions with federal officials and has been monitoring developments in other countries, said she expects to be consulted on any federal legislation.
"The [obtaining] of a warrant for looking into people's private papers, private affairs, now e-mail conversations is a basic tenet of our democratic and constitutional rights in Canada. To erode this is a very serious step toward mass surveillance so I would like to get a copy of any draft legislation and look at how this could be possibly justified. I've said in the past I've seen no compelling argument put forward for its justification."
Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan told a Commons committee Wednesday that his government would propose "changes to programming and legislation" that would modernize police powers to catch criminals using modern devices.Yesterday, the minister stressed that he supports Ms. Stoddart's concerns and that legislation is not imminent
"We can't allow new technologies to defeat law enforcement. We have to protect our communities," Mr. Van Loan said. "That being said, we also have to make sure that whatever solutions we come up with respect privacy rights of law abiding Canadians. ... The concerns of the Privacy Commissioner are quite legitimate. We don't want to have legislation that intrudes on privacy rights and I can assure you we wouldn't come forward with that kind of legislation. But we also need to find a way to address a very real problem that's out there."
Opposition critics said they share the commissioner's concerns and would want to see the details of any legislation before taking a position.
Should the government move ahead, it could present an interesting political dynamic in the minority House of Commons.
The Liberals faced considerable resistance in government from Ms. Stoddart and other privacy advocates when they attempted a "lawful access" law in 2005. But a new private member's bill suggests Liberals and Conservatives may not be far apart on this issue.
Last week, Liberal MP Marlene Jennings introduced a 33-page private member's bill that is similar to what the Liberal government proposed. The legislation even carries the same title: the Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act.
The Liberal bill would force Internet service providers to be technologically equipped to allow police to "intercept communications and to provide subscriber and other information without unreasonably impairing the privacy of individuals."http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090213.wwiretap13/BNStory/National/home___________________________________________________________________________________________
Bob Bobins from Canada writes: This is ridiculous. The government need not know our private matters and if they use the excuse that its about terrorists or illegal activities then who ever wants to communicate these things will just find another way. Funny how harper is against the gun registry but in favor of snooping in the private lives of Canadian citizens. This legislation should be scrapped asap. Along with harper. Give me an unregistered gun please.. but not private email? what the hell is going on in the conservative party.. aren't they supposed to be about less government ? .. oh no I guess they were talking about less taxes for the wealthy the rest of us are just something that need to be regulated and monitored. So much for liberty. How can people not see that we got our own george bush in parliament here in Canada?
* Posted 13/02/09 at 6:16 AM EST | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
G H from Ontario, Canada writes: First of all lets be honest with each other. The police already have the ability to monitor our cellphones and do it all the time, randomly. If they want to monitor our internet activities they can also do so and will at thier will. They can and do drive through your neighbourhoods listening to the cell convos hoping to catch something of use. Some of the 'higher risk' areas known for the drug trade it is quite common. I do not feel it is necessary to allow them to use this against us in court and to allow them broader powers. Canadians need to stand up and fight for their rights on this one! Say no to all of it. There is far too much abuse of power with the police now, they need no more tools to play with
* Posted 13/02/09 at 7:00 AM EST | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
4Cryin Outloud from Canada writes: Max van Bel from Ottawa, Canada writes: Heads up everyone.... If we allow this, we are in big trouble. Thank heaven Canadians are NOT as stupid as this government think we are.
Posted 13/02/09 at 6:43 AM EST | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Well Max I know some of us are aware of what is going on and do not want to live in a policed state, but so far I think of us as that frog that got talked into getting into a kettle of water on the stove and slowly, slowly, as the heat was turned up finally boiled to death. We have already accepted so many 'little', 'helpful', 'necessary', 'will make your life easier' (to shop), changes to the way we 'do business' that we have very STUPIDLY given away our privacy to people that would use it just to market a consumer product back to you or give technology your job to save themselves money. Ways in which we have willingly given up our privacy:
debit cards, credit cards, debt of any kind, computer use and all the new facebook, youtube, and phone technology, air miles, contests. Anytime we give someone our phone number or address or use a clinic that wants your medical card information even though you may be paying cash and we give it unthinkingly we are spreading our privacy very thinly. Refuse to be put in any business information system no matter what 'rewards' you are offered and see how confused the clerk becomes and how annoyed some can get with your refusal. Most people would accuse you of being paranoid rather than taking responsibility for your own privacy.
It's not so much that we are stupid, but certainly ignorant of the unconscious way we go about our lives and the consequences of our actions. We are being suckered in with 'treats'....not unlike training a dog.
* Posted 13/02/09 at 7:03 AM EST | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment