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Michael Geist's Blog

Canada's Lawful Access Bill Appears to Have Contained a Provision to Enable PRISM-Style Surveillance

As the revelations about U.S. secret surveillance continue, one of the more interesting recent articles was a Buzzfeed piece that focused on a Utah ISP that hosted a "little black box" in the corner inserted by the National Security Agency.  The article describes how a Foreign Intelligence Service Act (FISA) warrant allowed the NSA to monitor the activities of an ISP subscriber by inserting surveillance equipment directly within the ISP's network. The experience in Utah appears to have been replicated in many other Internet and technology companies, who face secret court orders to install equipment on their systems.

The U.S. experience should raise some alarm bells in Canada, since the now defeated lawful access bill envisioned similar legal powers. Section 14(4) of the bill provided:

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