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Canada introduces online-spying bill

 
 
 
 
 
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Move over, SOPA and say your prayers, PIPA. There’s a new bill in the works that, if passed, will pull the plug on how the Internet is used in Canada.

Lawmakers in the Great White North are debating a bill that will pulverize what’s left of online privacy for Canucks.

The Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act (Bill C-51) is legislation that isn’t new to Canadian Parliament, but after a series of additions and other changes, lawmakers there are expected to begin discussion on it this week. If passed, law enforcement there will be able to monitor all Internet and telephone activity from anyone, anywhere in the country, without having to obtain a warrant.

According to the Calgary Herald out of the province of Alberta, a Conservative-majority government is likely to pass the bill.

Vic Toews, Canada’s minister of public safety, thinks the bill is necessary for the welfare of the nation. “We are proposing to bring to measure, to bring laws into the twenty-first century and provide police with the lawful tools that they need,” he pleads.

Opponents of Toews, however, say that the bill will do far more harm than good.

“I know the criminal justice system is constantly looking for information about criminals, child pornographers etc, but at the same time it seems like an invasion of everyone’s personal information,” University student Jared Exner tells CTV. He’s used the Internet his whole life and is aware of legislation already in place to thwart such things as child pornography. If Bill C-51 is passed, however, anyone operating on the Web or on a mobile device in Canada will be subject to instantaneous, no-questions-asked surveillance.

Towes insists that it’s an issue that’s either black or white. Canadians, says the minister, “can either stand with us or with the child pornographers.”

In an earlier form, the bill died in Parliament along with a provision that allowed “warrantless access” for authorities. A campaign managed to help kill that addendum, but it is back once again. If passed, authorities will be able to view anything, anytime, and some fear that it was install Big Brother over all too broad of a medium.

“It could include anything from email addresses to IP addresses and cellphone-identified numbers,” University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist tells the Winnipeg Free Press. “The ability to use that kind of information in a highly sensitive way without any real oversight is very real.”

By forcing Internet and cell providers to handle IP addresses, profiles can be constructed of any Canuck that details practically every move they make online. Geist thinks of that as way too encompassing of a regulation and questions why it is even needed.

“One thing (the government) has never provided is the evidence to show how the current set of laws has stymied investigations or created a significant barrier to ensure that we’re safe in Canada,” he adds.

Others fear that if Canadian officials have the power to monitor in real-time without warrants, the all-watching eye will seemingly cease civil liberties.

“How can we trust them not to use private information to intimidate law abiding Canadians to protest a pipeline, or protest pension cut?” asks Francis Scarpaleggia, a Liberal MP for Lac-Saint-Loius. Like Exner, Scarpaleggia is opposed to the bill. New Democratic Party member and digital critic Charlie Angus also is against it, and warns Parliament that, if passed, it will turn each Canadian’s cell-phone into “an electronic prisoner’s bracelet.”

“I say to Vic Toews, ‘Stop hiding behind the boogey man. Stop using the boogey man to attack the basic rights of Canadian citizens,’” adds Angus. “Is Vic Toews saying that every privacy commissioner in this country who has raised concerns about this government’s attempt to erase the basic obligation to get a judicial warrant, is he saying that they’re for child pornography?”

Nearly 100,000 Canadians have so far signed a “stop online spying” petition started by openmedia.ca, a net neutrality lobby group.

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2 Responses to " Canada introduces online-spying bill "

  1. Flanker says:

    Absolutely outrageous!!! Such a stench just over the border of the USA. Shame on you Canadian government. It’s contemptible to use the fraudulent reasons – such as the child pornography – for subverting citizens’ liberties. Stop turning Canada into a police state. Canadians stand up against your treacherous government!

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  2. Rwolf says:

    Canada, Britain & U.S. Government want to Spy On Its Citizens’/ Electronic Communications?

    The Canadian (Commons recent Bill C-30) would—give any Canadian police officer without a warrant—the power to request Internet service providers turn over customer information (see section 17 of C-30) cause the same loss of electronic privacy and civil liberties that British Government recently proposed—to spy on Brits’ electronic communications. Is it coincidence the British and Canadian proposals appear to mirror legislation U.S. Government said it wanted passed in 2011 to spy on U.S. Citizens?

    Overlooked by mainstream media is that Britain and Canada signed with the U.S Government an array of (Asset Forfeiture Sharing Agreements) to share with Canadian and British Police/Governments assets seized from Brits, Canadians and Americans that resulted from e.g, evidence or information gleaned from electronic surveillance of Citizens’ communications, e.g., emails, faxes, Internet actively, phone records including GPS tracking.

    Compare with U.S. Government’s proposal to electronically monitor, spy on Americans without a warrant—with Canada’s recent eavesdropping (Bill C-30) and British Government’s plan to spy on its Citizens’ electronic communications.

    U.S. Government wants the power to (introduce as evidence) in criminal prosecutions and government civil trials, any phone call record, email or Internet activity. That would open the door for Police to take out of context any innocent—hastily written email, fax or phone call record to allege a crime or violation was committed to cause a person’s arrest, fines and or civil asset forfeiture of their property. There are more than 350 laws and violations that can subject property to government asset forfeiture. Government civil asset forfeiture requires only a civil preponderance of evidence for police to forfeit property, little more than hearsay.

    If the U.S. Justice Department has its way, any information the FBI derives from circumventing the Fourth Amendment, i.e. (no warrant searches) of Web Server Records; a Citizen’s Internet Activity, personal emails; fax / phone calls may be used by the FBI for (fishing expeditions) to issue subpoenas in hopes of finding evidence or to prosecute Citizens for any alleged crime or violation. Consider that neither Congress nor the courts—determined what Bush II NSA electronic surveillance, perhaps illegal could be used by police or introduced into court by government to prosecute Americans criminally or civilly. If U.S. Justice Department is permitted (No-Warrant) surveillance of all electronic communications, it is problematic state and local law enforcement agencies and private government contractors will want access to prior Bush II NSA and other government illegally obtained electronic records not limited to—Americans’ Internet activity; private emails, faxes and phone calls to secure evidence to arrest Americans, assess fines and or civilly forfeit their homes, businesses and other assets under Title 18USC and other laws. Of obvious concern, what happens to fair justice in America if police become dependent on “Asset Forfeiture” to help pay their salaries and budget operating costs?

    The “Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000” (effectively eliminated) the “five year statue of limitations” for Government Civil Asset Forfeiture: the statute now runs five years (from the date) police allege they “learned” an asset became subject to forfeiture. It is foreseeable should (no warrant) government electronic surveillance be approved; police will relentlessly sift through business and Citizen’s (government retained Internet data), emails and phone communications to discover possible crimes or civil violations. A corrupt despot U.S. Government can too easily use no-warrant—(seized emails, Internet data and phone call information) to blackmail Americans, corporations and others in the same manner Hitler utilized his police state passed laws to extort support for the Nazi fascist government, including getting parliament to pass Hitler’s 1933 Discriminatory Decrees that suspended the Constitutional Freedoms of German Citizens. A Nazi Government threat of “Property Seizure” Asset Forfeiture of an individual or corporation’s assets was usually sufficient to ensure Nazi support.

    Under U.S. federal civil forfeiture laws, a person or business need not be charged with a crime for government to forfeit their property. Most U.S. Citizens, property and business owners that defend their assets against Government Civil Asset Forfeiture claim an “innocent owner defense.” This defense can become a criminal prosecution trap for both guilty and innocent property owners. Any fresh denial of guilt made to government when questioned about committing a crime “even when you did not do the crime” may (involuntarily waive) a defendant’s right to assert in their defense—the “Criminal Statute of Limitations” past for prosecution; any fresh denial of guilt even 30 years after a crime was committed may allow Government prosecutors to use old and new evidence, including information discovered during a Civil Asset Forfeiture Proceeding to launch a criminal prosecution. For that reason many innocent Americans, property and business owners are reluctant to defend their property and businesses against Government Civil Asset Forfeiture.

    Re: waiving Criminal Statute of Limitations: see USC18, Sec.1001, James Brogan V. United States. N0.96-1579. U.S. See paragraph (6) at:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/96-1579.ZC1.html

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