“Stop Online Spying” Coalition Calls on Harper to strip online spying powers from omnibus crime bill


A new “Stop Online Spying” coalition of Canadian public interest organizations and academics released a joint letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper today, voicing grave concerns about pending omnibus legislation that would allow for warrantless online spying on Canadians (“Lawful Access” legislation).

The letter calls on the government to, at minimum, give the proposed legislation an appropriate hearing instead of rushing it through Parliament.

“This legislation has never been to committee and MPs haven’t heard a single witness on what the government is proposing,” said Vincent Gogolek, FIPA’s Executive Director. “Given the serious concerns expressed by the Privacy Commissioners, burying these proposals in a catch-all omnibus crime bill is reckless and irresponsible.”

“The government’s own supporters are opposed to online spying without oversight,” added Gogolek. He pointed out that former Conservative Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day — and presumably the Conservative government — were formerly opposed to online spying without warrants http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2007/09/14/tech-privacy-warrant.html:”Click Here”.

“Why did the government drop its principled position on this? That’s another reason we need a full debate on these measures.”

News release
Letter to Prime Minister Harper
Stop Online Spying campaign website
Read commentary here or here

Coalition against government surveillance of the internet (“lawful access”) growing by leaps and bounds

More than 30.000 people and organizations have signed an online petition against the federal government’s plan to sneak in internet spy legislation as part of its omnibus crime bill.

FIPA is a member of the STOP ONLINE SPYING campaign and encourages all its members and supporters to sign the petition which is available at http://www.stopspying.ca/

FIPA has been involved in the fight against lawful access bills introduced by Liberal and Conservative governments for more than 10 years. Read our current position and a history of our activities.

Related links

Petition against internet ‘lawful access’ bills

Tories reintroduce ISP intercept bill

Electronic snooping bill a ‘data grab’: privacy advocates

Bill C-50
Bill C-51
Bill C-52

Federal ‘tough-on-crime’ legislation takes aim at civil liberties


By Ian Mulgrew
Vancouver Sun
June 7, 2011

The Conservative government’s omnibus “tough-on-crime” legislation should be redubbed “tough-on-civil-liberties” if it embraces all the last Parliament’s law-and-order leftovers.

Aside from concerns over the radical change to the country’s approach to crime-and-punishment, some of the proposals run roughshod over privacy rights and individual liberties.

For instance, the “lawful access” bill has measures — such as the authorization for warrantless searches by police of Internet use — that trample on constitutional protections and go too far.

Under the rubric “Investigative Powers of the 21st Century,” the proposal would require service providers to disclose customer information without prior judicial approval and provide law-enforcement access for “real-time surveillance.”

Similarly, the criminalization of hyperlinks to “hate” sites and using a pen name on the Internet also raise concerns.

The country’s privacy commissioners and ombudspersons were so taken aback when these provisions were unveiled they joined forces to oppose them.

“The feds are really trying to sneak this one past us, because they really don’t want to have the debate,” said Vincent Gogolek, executive director of the non-profit B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association.

LINK to full Vancouver Sun article Click Here or Click Here

Tainted Anti-Spam bill will facilitate secret corporate intrusion into your computer – UPDATE

The Electronic Commerce Protection Act (Bill C-27) is the Canadian anti-spam bill that comes out of committee on Wednesday October 21st. The opposition Liberals have proposed amendments which appear to have been drafted by copyright and telecom lobbyists. They would allow for surreptitious installation of computer programs and – even more outrageously – would allow copyright owners to secretly access information on users’ computers.

Canadian supporters of net freedom and privacy rights are being urged to contact Parliamentarians to protest the twisting of the purpose of this bill from defending Canadians against spam into a Trojan horse to invade your privacy and your control over your own computer.

Boing Boing – one of the most popular websites on the net – has published an urgent appeal from Michael Geist, your unwavering and loyal advocate when it comes to your rights as a Canadian internet, technology and copyright user.

“Telcos and Hollywood ask Canadian govt for right to secretly install spyware, listen in on your network connection — ACT NOW!”

Michael Geist’s blog:
The Copyright Lobby’s Secret Pressure on the Anti-Spam Bill

UPDATE Oct. 27 2009
From Michael Geist Oct. 26 2009

Government Commits to Withdrawing Lobby Spyware Changes

Bill C-27, the anti-spam bill, is nearly through the Industry Committee with a limited number of changes. The Liberals have already stated that they would not be bringing forward the amendments promoted by the copyright lobby that would have permitted unauthorized access to personal computers in some situations. The same issue arose during Question Period in the House of Commons on Thursday. When asked about it by NDP MP Brian Masse, Industry Minister Tony Clement confirmed that the Conservatives would not bring forward a similar motion.

At Wednesday’s hearing, there were a couple of changes instigated by Bloc. First, a specific exception for political parties was inserted into the bill. This is arguably unnecessary since the bill only covers commercial activity. Second, the Bloc succeeded in extending the period of a business relationship from 18 months to two years. The clause-by-clause review should conclude on Monday.