The BC Civil Liberties Association has issued a timely and comprehensive report on soon-to-be introduced “lawful access” bills to expand police surveillance powers.
The federal government has announced that it will soon be introducing legislation to increase the ability of police to intercept private communications and access more personal information stored electronically.
The BCCLA’s new report explains each of the proposals and looks at how the courts are likely to view the balancing of law enforcement and citizens’ rights.
“Canadians are hugely concerned about online surveillance,” said Micheal Vonn, Policy Director of the BCCLA. “New technologies are already a huge boon to police conducting surveillance and a huge threat to privacy rights. Now the government wants to lower the legal standards for access to this giant storehouse of citizens’ private information.
“Other countries have gone down this road, and we have seen that this
is not a recipe for better law enforcement, it’s a recipe for pervasive
surveillance and abuse.”
The report offers evidence that law enforcement agents are very likely to abuse online spying powers. The US and the UK have had their own versions of the online spying bills for some time, and a staggering number of violations by officials have been documented in both countries.
The report also finds that the proposal to require all telecommunications service providers to provide “back doors” into their systems that the police can use for surveillance jeopardizes the security of telecommunications systems and heightens the risk of exploitation by hackers.
Moving Towards a Surveillance Society– Proposals to Expand
“Lawful Access” in Canada” is available Here
Stop Online Spying Campaign: Close to 80,000 people have signed
Open Media’s petition opposing increased surveillance powers for police: http://stopspying.ca/