Calgary Herald: Online Spying Bill pushing through despite public outcry |

Posted: February 16, 2012 in Police State

By Jason Magder for The Calgary Herald


The Conservative government plans to introduce a law on Monday that will allow police to better monitor the web-surfing habits of Canadians.

Image by Quevaal on wikimedia


Entitled “an Act to enact the Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act and to amend the Criminal Code and others Acts,” the law would require Internet service providers (ISPs) to install equipment that would allow them to monitor and preserve the Internet surfing activities of their customers. The providers could then be asked by police to collect and preserve surfing data of anyone suspected in engaging in criminal activity.


Known as the Lawful Access law, Bill C-51 also would make it easier for law enforcement authorities to activate tracking mechanisms within cellphones so they can know the whereabouts of suspected criminals. If they’re suspected of being international terrorists, the law would allow such tracking to go on for a year, rather than the current 60-day limit, according to a previous incarnation of the law introduced last year.

In recent months, open-Internet lobbyists and privacy advocates – including the privacy commissioner of Canada – have been warning the Conservative government

not to adopt this bill, saying it is a serious infringement of civil liberties. An online petition against the law has been started by the net neutrality lobby group

Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, and an outspoken critic of the law, said he’s worried about all the information police will have access to without a warrant.

“It could include anything from email addresses to IP addresses and cellphone-identified numbers,” Geist said. “The ability to use that kind of information in a highly sensitive way without any real oversight is very real.”

As an example of the new powers, Geist said authorities would be able to use equipment to isolate cellphone numbers of people attending a protest, and then be able to ask a cellphone company to disclose personal information of the people attached to those cellphone numbers. Read more »

Calgary Herald: Online Spying Bill pushing through despite public outcry |


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