Thursday, December 13, 2012

Library of Parliament Comparison of Lawful Access Laws in Canada, US, UK and Australia

The Library of Parliament recently posted an updated version of a  paper comparing Canadian legislative proposals relating to lawful access to the situation in the UK, the USA and Australia.

"Lawful access" refers to a police investigative technique that allows for the interception of electronic communications during a lawful search:
"During the first session of the 41st Parliament, in February 2012, the Minister of Public Safety introduced a bill on 'wiretapping' in the era of new electronic technologies (...) "

"Bill C-30 responds to the concerns of law enforcement and national security agencies that new technologies – such as Internet communications – often present obstacles to the lawful interception of communications. The bill has two parts, each responding to one of its central objectives.
  • Part 1 creates the Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act, a new law governing telecommunications service providers (TSPs).
  • Part 2 amends the Criminal Code and several other acts in order to modernize investigative and interception techniques available to law enforcement and in order to modernize certain offences."
"As well, Bill C-12, introduced several months before Bill C-30, amends the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act to expand the circumstances in which law enforcement agencies can ask private organizations to disclose personal information without the consent of the individual concerned. The legislative debate on Bill C-30 and its predecessors has largely focused on privacy. Other important considerations include a new requirement that TSPs (including Internet service providers) put in place interception capabilities, the technical standards for and costs of these capabilities, and the need for new lawful access rules. The debate on these issues continues (...)"

"This background paper compares Bill C-30 with similar legislation in these three countries. Major differences and similarities are highlighted, with particular reference to three aspects covered in the Canadian bill: interception capability, requests to TSPs for information about subscribers and tracking warrants. The comparison is a useful one because Bill C-30 is the latest of several significant Canadian initiatives that have dealt with lawful access and that have proposed consistently similar provisions."
The Library of Parliament published a legislative summary of Bill C-30 in February 2012.

Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:
  • 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."
  • 2007 Annual Report on Use of Electronic Surveillance in Canada (May 20, 2009): "The report [from Public Safety Canada] outlines the use of electronic surveillance of private communications by law enforcement agencies to assist in criminal investigations. Under the Criminal Code, agencies must obtain judicial authorization before conducting the surveillance. The government is required to prepare and present to Parliament an annual report on the use of electronic surveillance. The 2007 Annual Report covers a five-year period from 2003 to 2007."
  • Canadian Government Re-Introduces Internet Surveillance Bills (November 2, 2010): "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."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:34 pm

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