Archive for June 18th, 2009

Government Introduces Bill To Require Surveillance Capabilities, Mandated Subscriber Disclosure

As expected, the Government has taken another shot at lawful access legislation today, introducing a legislative package called the Investigative Powers for the 21st Century (IP21C) Act that would require mandated surveillance capabilities at Canadian ISPs, force ISPs to disclose subscriber information such as name and address, and grant the police broad new powers to obtain transmission data and force ISPs to preserve data.  Although I can only go on government releases (here, here), the approach appears to be very similar to the Liberal lawful access bill of 2005 that died on the order paper (my comments on that bill here) [update: Bill C-46 and C-47].  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.

The lawful access proposal is generally divided among two sets of issues – ISP requirements and new police powers.

1.   ISP requirements

There are two key components here. First, ISPs will be required to install surveillance capabilities in their networks.  This feels a bit like a surveillance stimulus package, with ISPs making big new investments and the government cost-sharing by compensating for changes to existing networks. The bill again exempts smaller ISPs for three years from these requirements.  While that is understandable from a cost perspective, it undermines the claims that this is an effective solution to online crime since it will result in Canadians at big ISPs facing surveillance while would-be criminals seek out smaller ISPs without surveillance capabilities.

Second, the bill requires all ISPs to surrender customer name, address, IP address, and email address information upon request without court oversight.  In taking this approach, Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan has reneged on the promise of his predecessor and cabinet colleague Stockwell Day, who pledged not to introduce mandated subscriber data disclosure without court oversight. 

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June 18, 2009 90 comments News

Knopf Exposes CRIA’s Myths About Myths

Howard Knopf has a must-read post that responds to CRIA's Richard Pfohl's letter to the editor that in turn responded to my column on Canadian file sharing myths.

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June 18, 2009 9 comments Must Reads

Conference Board Apologies To Curtis Cook

The Conference Board story generates mainstream media coverage yet again today, but missing from those stories was a private apology (scroll to comments) from CEO Anne Golden to Curtis Cook, who was wrongly listed as an author of the plagiarized report.

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June 18, 2009 1 comment Must Reads

CP on Open Source Software in the Canadian Government

The Canadian Press covers the lack of open source software in the Canadian government, with one analyst conceeding that Canada may be underachieving.

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June 18, 2009 3 comments Must Reads

Liberal MP Says More Work Needed on Do-Not-Call

Liberal MP Brian Murphy criticizes the Canadian do-not-call list, noting the need for co-operation with the United States on international telemarketing.

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June 18, 2009 1 comment Must Reads