Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Canadian Government Re-Introduces Internet Surveillance Bills

The federal government has re-introduced two bills in the House of Commons that would allow police and intelligence officials to intercept online communications and get personal information from Internet service providers.

The government explains that the legislation targets child sexual predators, distributors of pornography and identity thieves. The bills also go after people who use the Internet to plan terrorist acts.

The Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act would help law enforcement by:
  • enabling police to identify all the network nodes and jurisdictions involved in the transmission of data and trace the communications back to a suspect. Judicial authorizations would be required to obtain transmission data, which provides information on the routing but does not include the content of a private communication;
  • requiring a telecommunications service provider to temporarily keep data so that it is not lost or deleted in the time it takes law enforcement agencies to return with a search warrant or production order to obtain it;
  • making it illegal to possess a computer virus for the purposes of committing an offence of mischief; and
  • enhancing international cooperation to help in investigating and prosecuting crime that goes beyond Canada’s borders
Here is the government backgrounder on the proposed bill.

The second bill is called the Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act and it would require ISPs to include interception capability in their networks, making it easier for law enforcement and national security agencies to intercept suspicious information. The proposed Act also calls for service providers to supply basic subscriber information upon request to designated law enforcement, Competition Bureau and national security officials.

It is the re-introduction of Bill C-47 from Parliament's last session. The LEGISinfo website has a legislative summary of that bill.

Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:

  • List of Electronic Surveillance Laws in the U.S. (December 22, 2005): "For Canadian material, one can have a look at the lawful access section of the CIPPIC website. CIPPIC is the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic based at the University of Ottawa."
  • Canadian Bar Association Worried About ISP Surveillance (July 8, 2006): "The Canadian Bar Association appears concerned that Internet service providers have been putting into place the technical capacity to monitor their customers' communications without proper authorization."
  • Update on Canadian Internet Surveillance Proposals (October 30, 2006): "University of Ottawa law prof and Toronto Star columnist Michael Geist has published a piece about the state of the federal government's lawful access initiative. The idea behind lawful access is to provide Canada law enforcement with new, more sophisticated electronic surveillance tools to prevent and fight organized crime, money laundering and terrorist activities. Geist analyzes various internal government documents recently obtained under the Access to Information Act that show how authorities are attempting to deal with the initial negative public reaction to the proposals to expand police powers."
  • Canadian Government Consultation on Lawful Access (September 14, 2007): "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."
  • CIPPIC Paper on Government's Lawful Access Initiative (October 16, 2007): "This is a follow-up to the September 14, 2007 Library Boy post entitled Canadian Government Consultation on Lawful Access ... 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' ..."
  • Telecoms Fight Canadian Government Over E-Surveillance Costs (April 4, 2008): "The University of Ottawa's Michael Geist draws attention to documents obtained by Canwest News Service reporters that reveal a behind-the-scenes tug-of-war between industry and the federal government over who should bear the costs of electronic surveillance."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:20 pm

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