Darrell Evans of BC FIPA gave a speech on Lawful Access to the Frontiers of Privacy and Security conference in Victoria today. Darrell highlighted some of the concerns that BC FIPA has with the direction that the Federal government is taking in the context of Lawful Access.
FIPA’s view in a nutshell is that we have no objection if the State has the same ability to intercept and monitor email and wireless communication that it currently has to intercept and monitor letter mail and conventional telephone communication. But the Consultation Document goes far beyond this to propose much greater license to intercept and monitor, and with a lower standard of judicial supervision.
We are opposed to the proposals because, in our opinion, they unjustifiably intrude upon the privacy rights of Canadian citizens.
Read the whole speech.
FIPA has submitted comments on the federal government’s Lawful Access Consultation Document to the Department of Justice, Industry Canada, and the Solicitor General today. The federal government initiated consultations earlier this year and BC FIPA hosted two workshops on the Lawful Access proposals and received input from over 45 groups and individuals that have helped inform its position.
FIPA disagrees with the government’s views with regards to the level of privacy that should be accorded to emails, with the expansion of police powers to unprecedented levels (rather than simply extending the same level of power to new technologies), with the promotion of new powers despite a lack of evidence of the need or effectiveness of these powers, and with the vagueness of the proposals.
FIPA recommends that electronic communications be held to a high threshold before it can be accessed and that legislation be amended to reflect this threshold, that government put together a well-argued system for privacy protection for private communication that is independent of form of communication, that the government provide the evidence that forms the basis for these proposals, that government present draft legislation based on the comments provided in submissions like this one, and that the government provide the public with an opportunity to comment once it has put together the information requested in these recommendations.
We must be vigilant to ensure that the right to privacy of Canadian citizens is only limited by such measures that are truly required, reasonable, demonstrably justified, effective and proportionate to the ends to be achieved. The proposals in the Consultation Document show clearly that these requirements have not been met.
Read the full submission (pdf).
BC FIPA has sent a letter to Senator Nicholas W. Taylor, Chair of the Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources regarding the creation of a quasi-governmental body if Bill C-27 is enacted.
BC FIPA is concerned that this body has significant power over decisions that affect the public, responsibility for enormous spending decisions, and as currently defined would be fundamentally unaccountable to Parliament or to the Canadian public. BC FIPA urges the Committee to propose an amendment to Bill C-27 that would extend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act to the Waste Management Organization.
BC FIPA believes that democracy is both degraded and diminished when large sectors of government authority are placed beyond the accountability and openness measures of these Acts.
Read the full letter (doc).
BC FIPA believes the issue of HEALTH INFORMATION PRIVACY as the most significant privacy issue of our time. This presentation outlines the importance of the right to privacy and the threats that “Health Info-structure” represents.
Provincial governments appear to believe that the diminution of privacy rights is essential to the creation of the “Canadian Health Info-way”.
BC FIPA disagrees. We think Canadians can have privacy rights AND the highest quality health care system.
Download the full presentation (pdf).