Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’ shocking comments on critics of online surveillance in the House of Commons yesterday have attracted widespread media attention with coverage in the Globe, CBC, and Postmedia. Toews responded to questions about online surveillance by accusing critics of siding with child pornographers:
As technology evolves, many criminal activities, such as the distribution of child pornography, become much easier. We are proposing measures to bring our laws into the 21st century and to provide the police with the lawful tools that they need. He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers.
Toews may be surprised by the negative reaction because he has been saying similar things for weeks. Consider:
February 3, 2012
“Lawful access will aid child porn investigations. I call on the NDP to stop making things easier for predators and support these measures.”
“As technology evolves, many criminal activities, such as the distribution of child pornography, become much easier. That is why our government will be reintroducing lawful access legislation. Rather than making things easier for child pornographers, I call on the NDP to listen to the police, listen to the provinces, and support these balanced measures that protect law-abiding Canadians and their children.”
“I would call on the Liberals to finally stop putting the rights of child pornographers and organized crime ahead of the rights of law-abiding citizens.”
The “lawful access” bill will be introduced later today. My FAQ on the bill and online surveillance can be found here. More information on how the government’s own documents do not support mandatory disclosure of subscriber information without a court order here.