Tuesday, October 16, 2007

CIPPIC Paper on Government's Lawful Access Initiative

This is a follow-up to the September 14, 2007 Library Boy post entitled Canadian Government Consultation on Lawful Access:

"The purpose of this consultation is to provide a range of stakeholders - including police and industry representatives and groups interested in privacy and victims of crime issues - with an opportunity to identify their current views on possible approaches to updating Canada’s lawful access provisions as they relate to law enforcement and national security officials’ need to gain access to CNA [customer name and address] information in the course of their duties. The possible scope of CNA information to be obtained is later identified, but it should be noted from the outset that it would not, in any formulation, include the content of communications or the Web sites an individual visited while online".
Yesterday, the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) at the University of Ottawa made its submission available. In its conclusions, CIPPIC remains highly sceptical of government arguments about the need for greater access to CNA information:

"Information identifying telecommunications subscribers can be highly sensitive given the electronic trail of publicly available and otherwise accessible data that individuals now leave about themselves on the internet and other digital devices as they go about their daily lives. For this reason, we submit that CNA information raises a 'reasonable expectation of privacy' on which a Charter challenge to laws permitting warrantless access could be based".

"Moreover, we remain skeptical about the need for these potentially intrusive and far-reaching measures. It is not clear that greater access by law enforcement to electronic communications will, in fact, increase the security of Canadians and it has not been demonstrated that no other, less privacy-intrusive, measure would suffice to achieve the same purpose of enhanced security. In particular, the permitted purposes for demanding CNA information are far broader than required to solve specific problems such as gaining access to next-of-kin information in emergency situations, or acting on tips quickly in exigent circumstances".

"Finally, the safeguards proposed are insufficient, in our view, to protect individuals from over-reaching and abusive exercise of police powers. In particular, there should be no expansion of police investigatory powers without a corresponding increase in independent oversight".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:30 pm

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