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.