As the search for Luka Magnotta continues, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has used the case as an opportunity to claim that Bill C-30 would have helped with the investigation. According to Toews, the Internet surveillance legislation would be helpful – “Certainly, that’s what the police have told me – that the powers in Bill C-30 are very relevant to this type of investigation in terms of either determining who the individual is, or determining the whereabouts of an individual.”
The Toews comments continue the longstanding trend of unsubstantiated claims by government officials about lawful access. In this case, there is simply no question that law enforcement can obtain the necessary warrant on customer name and address information (if an ISP refused as part of an investigation) and police have presumably obtained warrants for far more detailed information. Moroever, the surveillance capabilities at ISPs mandated by C-30 – which focus on real-time surveillance – appear completely irrelevant given that Magnotta fled to France. In fact, reports indicate that there were early warnings about Magnotta and the video openly available that were dismissed by police. The Magnotta case does not demonstrate the need for lawful access, but rather shows how officials rely on sensationalist claims as they remain unable to muster convincing evidence of the need for the law.