Early last week I signed a petition opposing bill C-30. I also sent an email to Vic Toews explaining my opposition to his bill. I just recieved an email back from him stating (and I’m paraphrasing here) that Canada has a vulnerability that needs to be fixed:
“Canada’s laws currently do not adequately protect Canadians from online exploitation and we think there is widespread agreement that this is a problem. We want to update our laws while striking the right balance between combating crime and protecting privacy. Let me be very clear: the police will not be able to read emails or view web activity unless they obtain a warrant issued by a judge and we have constructed safeguards to protect the privacy of Canadians, including audits by privacy commissioners.”
A wonderfully constructed statement, which lacks in specifics. His email went on to list a few myths that he believes should be stated to clarify this bill’s stance:
Myth: Lawful Access legislation infringes on the privacy of Canadians.
Fact: Our Government puts a high priority on protecting the privacy of law-abiding Canadians. Current practices of accessing the actual content of communications with a legal authorization will not change.
Myth: Having access to basic subscriber information means that authorities can monitor personal communications and activities.
Fact: This has nothing to do with monitoring emails or web browsing. Basic subscriber information would be limited to a customer’s name, address, telephone number, email address, Internet Protocol (IP) address, and the name of the telecommunications service provider. It absolutely does not include the content of emails, phones calls or online activities.
Myth: This legislation does not benefit average Canadians and only gives authorities more power.
Fact: As a result of technological innovations, criminals and terrorists have found ways to hide their illegal activities. This legislation will keep Canadians safer by putting police on the same footing as those who seek to harm us.
Myth: Basic subscriber information is way beyond “phone book information”.
Fact: The basic subscriber information described in the proposed legislation is the modern day equivalent of information that is in the phone book. Individuals frequently freely share this information online and in many cases it is searchable and quite public.
Myth: Police and telecommunications service providers will now be required to maintain databases with information collected on Canadians.
Fact: This proposed legislation will not require either police or telecommunications service providers to create databases with information collected on Canadians.
Myth: “Warrantless access” to customer information will give police and government unregulated access to our personal information.
Fact: Federal legislation already allows telecommunications service providers to voluntarily release basic subscriber information to authorities without a warrant. This Bill acts as a counterbalance by adding a number of checks and balances which do not exist today, and clearly lists which basic subscriber identifiers authorities can access.
Like I stated in a previous blog post, the bill does protect the data from being opened, analyzed, and used. The police will need a warrant in order to do those things.
I am in the process of constructing my reply to him pointing out a few contradictions and irrelevancies. I will be posting it here shortly.