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.
TagsShareTuesday February 21, 2012