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The Devil is in the Details: How Bill C-30 Leaves Many Surveillance Questions Unanswered

The introduction of Bill C-30 has generated enormous public debate (I focused yesterday on the "voluntary" warrantless disclosure of subscriber information) but less discussed is how the bill leaves out many crucial details on the new surveillance rules will actually function. Indeed, for a bill that is ten years in the making, it is shocking how much is still unknown.

At the top of the uncertainty list are cost questions. The cost of new surveillance equipment could run into the tens of millions of dollars, yet the government has not said who will pay for it. Surveillance mandates in other countries have typically come with government support. For example, when the U.S. passed the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) in 1995, $500 million was granted to cover provider costs. In addition to the surveillance equipment costs, there are fees and costs associated with surveillance "hook-ups" to law enforcement as well as fees for disclosing subscriber information. Bill C-30 leaves these issues for another day by opening the door to fees but leaving specifics to future, unspecified regulations that can be passed by the Governor-in-Council without gaining Parliamentary approval.

Surveillance capability specifics are also still largely unknown.


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ACTA in Context: Copyright Enforcement on a Global Scale

Ars Technica features an article drawn from an interview I conducted with Tim Lee about how ACTA is part of a global effort to increase copyright enforcement on an international scale.
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