What does this mean? In short, it gives the government the power to decide what specific surveillance equipment must be installed on private ISP and telecom networks by allowing it to simply take over the ISP or telecom network and install its own equipment. This is no small thing: it literally means that law enforcement has the power to ultimately determine not only surveillance capabilities but the surveillance equipment itself.
As Privacy International revealed late last year, there is a massive global surveillance industry that specializes in selling invasive surveillance technologies directly to governments and law enforcement. Companies like Gamma Group offer “turnkey lawful interception projects” that includes SMS interception, speech identifying tools, and data retention, while Innova offers “solutions for the interception of any kind of protocols and IP-based communication, such as web browsing, e-mail and web-mails, social networks, peer to peer communication, chat and videochat.” Endace offers the “power to see all for Government” and Hacking Team provides a suite of tools for governmental interception. Last year, Wikileaks published a powerpoint presentation from Glimmerglass that shows how law enforcement can link email addresses, online chat, and social media activity to generate detailed profiles of individuals (pages 10-12).
There are dozens of these companies operating around the world, servicing steady demand from the Middle East and Asia. If Bill C-30 becomes law, the Canadian government will be positioned to require private ISPs to install these kinds of technologies directly within their networks.