The federal government introduced legislation today which would vastly increase police surveillance of Canadians’ Internet communications. Since 2001, privacy watchdog groups, including FIPA, have squared off against successive Liberal and Conservative governments on similar “lawful access” legislation. We are quickly gearing up to oppose it again.
The latest legislative package, the “Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act”, would:
- require mandated surveillance capabilities at Canadian Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
- force ISPs to disclose subscriber information such as name and address with out a warrant, and
- grant the police broad new powers to obtain transmission data and force ISPs to preserve data.
According to Internet law expert Michael Geist, “The legislative approach appears to be very similar to the Liberal lawful access bill of 2005 that died on the order paper It is pretty much exactly what law enforcement has been demanding and privacy groups have been fearing. It represents a reneging of a commitment from the previous Public Safety Minister on court oversight and will embed broad new surveillance capabilities in the Canadian Internet.”