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The Conservatives Commitment to Internet Surveillance

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Saturday April 09, 2011
This post, which focuses on the Conservatives commitment to pass lawful access legislation that would fundamentally reshape the Internet in Canada within the new Parliament's first 100 days if it wins a majority, requires two caveats. The first is to emphasize that I believe digital policies are not a partisan issue. Developing a digital economy strategy, introducing balanced copyright, addressing cybercrime while preserving privacy is not a left or right, Liberal or Conservative, issue.

The second is to note that all the major parties have strong and weak points on digital issues:
  • the Conservatives passed anti-spam legislation, defended fair dealing reform on C-32, and pressured the CRTC on the usage based billing issue (they also failed to strike a balance on digital locks and include a digital economy strategy in their platform)
  • the Liberals made a strong commitment on digital policies in their platform, were the first to focus on open government, and called for changes to the digital lock rules (they also failed to take a stand on foreign investment in telecommunications and had MP Dan McTeague openly working with CRIA on an anti-consumer copyright policy)
  • the NDP were the first to draw attention to consumer issues on copyright, to commit to net neutrality, and to take a stand on UBB (they also are strong supporters of an iPod levy).
While there are good and bad with each party, the Conservatives new commitment to lawful access - new laws that would establish massive Internet surveillance requirements and the potential disclosure of personal information without court oversight - is incredibly problematic for the Internet, privacy, and online freedoms. It requires real debate yet seems likely to slip under the public radar.

This week the Conservatives election platform included a commitment to bundle all the crime and justice bills into a single omnibus bill and to pass it within a new Parliament's first 100 days. The Conservatives argue that the opposition "obstructed our reforms" and that this step is needed to get the bills passed. I don't follow the general crime bills so I don't know what happened with many of these bills. On lawful access (which involves three bills), however, this is plainly untrue. 

The lawful bills received first reading in the fall and never went anywhere. There was no attempt by the government to move to second reading to allow for debate followed by committee hearings. The bills were simply introduced and nothing further happened. In fact, this is second time the Conservatives have introduced lawful access legislation and done little to advance it through the legislative process. The first attempt died when Parliament prorogued in 2009 with bills that had made it to second reading but without any committee hearings.

There are several concerns with the Conservatives lawful access plans. First, it bears noting that these bills have never received extensive debate on the floor of the House of Commons and never been the subject of committee hearings.  Police officers may support the legislation, but there has never been an opportunity to question them on the need for such legislation or on their ability to use lawful access powers if the bills become law.  Federal and provincial privacy commissioners have expressed deep concerns about these bills, yet they have never had the opportunity to air those concerns before committee. Internet service providers, who face millions in additional costs - presumably passed along to consumers - have never appeared before committee. By making a commitment to passing lawful access within 100 days, the Conservatives are undertaking to pass legislation with enormous implications for the Internet that has never received parliamentary scrutiny and will receive limited attention.

Second, more important than process is the substance of the proposals that have the potential to fundamentally reshape the Internet in Canada. The bills contain a three-pronged approach focused on information disclosure, mandated surveillance technologies, and new police powers. 

The first prong mandates the disclosure of Internet provider customer information without court oversight.  Under current privacy laws, providers may voluntarily disclose customer information but are not required to do so.  The new system would require the disclosure of customer name, address, phone number, email address, Internet protocol address, and a series of device identification numbers. 

While some of that information may seem relatively harmless, the ability to link it with other data will often open the door to a detailed profile about an identifiable person.  Given its potential sensitivity, the decision to require disclosure without any oversight should raise concerns within the Canadian privacy community.

The second prong requires Internet providers to dramatically re-work their networks to allow for real-time surveillance.  The bill sets out detailed capability requirements that will eventually apply to all Canadian Internet providers.  These include the power to intercept communications, to isolate the communications to a particular individual, and to engage in multiple simultaneous interceptions.

Moreover, the bill establishes a comprehensive regulatory structure for Internet providers that would mandate their assistance with testing their surveillance capabilities and disclosing the names of all employees who may be involved in interceptions (and who may then be subject to RCMP background checks). 

The bill also establishes numerous reporting requirements including mandating that all Internet providers disclose their technical surveillance capabilities within six months of the law taking effect.  Follow-up reports are also required when providers acquire new technical capabilities.

The requirements could have a significant impact on many smaller and independent Internet providers. Although the bill grants them a three-year implementation delay, the technical capabilities extend far beyond most of their commercial needs.  Indeed, after years of concern over the privacy impact associated with deep-packet inspection of Internet traffic (costly technologies that examine Internet communications in real time), these bills appear to require all Internet providers to install such capabilities.

Having obtained customer information without court oversight and mandated Internet surveillance capabilities, the third prong creates a several new police powers designed to obtain access to the surveillance data.  These include new transmission data warrants that would grant real-time access to all the information generated during the creation, transmission or reception of a communication including the type, direction, time, duration, origin, destination or termination of the communication.

Law enforcement could then obtain a preservation order to require providers to preserve subscriber information, including specific communication information, for 90 days.  Finally, having obtained and preserved the data, production orders can be used to require the disclosure of specified communications or transmission data. 

While Internet providers would actively work with law enforcement in collecting and disclosing the subscriber information, they could also be prohibited from disclosing the disclosures as court may bar them from informing subscribers that they have been subject to surveillance or information disclosures.

Few would argue that it is important to ensure that law enforcement has the necessary tools to address online crime issues. But these proposals come at an enormous financial and privacy cost, with as yet limited evidence that the current legal framework has impeded important police work. In fact, when then Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan tried to justify his lawful access package, he pointed to an emergency situation that I later revealed (via access to information) had nothing to do with the Internet.

None of this is to say the Liberals would be any better. They introduced their own lawful access package many years ago and the reactionof MPs like McTeague in 2009 was "what took you so long." The Liberals point to protection from digital threats in their platform, but do not specifically discuss lawful access. They should be asked about where they stand now (so too for the NDP which marshalled opposition in 2009). Given the Conservatives have included fast tracking lawful access in their platform, they should be asked to explain the need for new Internet surveillance, address who will pay for it, and justify their proposal legislative approach to these dramatic reforms that have never been the subject of Parliamentary debate or hearings.
Comments (70)add comment

Jean-François Mezei said:

...
If law enforcement needs court approval to get telephone wiretapping, why should it be exempt from such when it comes to internet wiretapping ?

With a court order, I agree that law enforcement should be able to get a user's identity based on their IP address.

And with a court order, I agree that law enforcement should be able to "wiretap" all IP traffic going to/from that user.

I don't know how common those would be. Perhaps law enforcement should have their own equipment like network sniffers which, with a court order, they could connect into an ISP's network to sniff traffic from that IP address. (and only that IP address/user).

This may be simpler and far cheaper than forcing each ISP to have such capabilities.
April 09, 2011

Crockett said:

And then they came for me ...
Anyone concerned about prosecution without due process or proper oversight should be very concerned with the Conservatives winning a majority. Two examples being the above issues as well as building mega jails without enough judicial capacity to fill them unless processing is 'expedited'.

Just imagine what's next?
April 09, 2011

Peter said:

Greens?
In your opinion, Michael, where does the Green Party of Canada stand with regards to digital freedom and intellectual property?

Thanks!
April 09, 2011

Graham T. Clark said:

Does Internet Surveillance render the wen non-confidential?
A lawyer communicating with clients over the internet should already be careful about confidentiality issues. But would these new measures fundamentally eliminate any opportunity for truly confidential correspondence in cyberspace?
April 09, 2011

Angelo said:

...
DEAR ANONYMOUS,
IF YOU'RE ALL ABOUT INTERNET FREEDOM AND PRIVACY, COME AND SAVE CANADA FROM THE HARPER MAJORITY.
April 09, 2011

Ed Nixon said:

Non-partisan? Balance? Danger, danger, danger...
Professor Geist, I *think* I understand your tack in these very informative posts concerning party platforms and the Internet. However, it seems to me that the public interest might be better served if your positions, for such they are, were couched in stronger language and language that highlighted the legal rather than "Internet" issues. You are a lawyer if I'm not mistaken. What are the privacy and Charter implications of the Conservative Surveillance Plans. You are eloquent about the complications and inconveniences these measure would would create for businesses but I must look very hard indeed for your concern over the threat to individual privacy the Conservative measure imply. It seems to me that the fundamentals of this campaign have to do with the type of Democracy we are to have in Canada and I'd feel better served by your work if it dealt more specifically with what the Conservatives and their policies *mean* in relation to the traditions and precedents of Canadian democracy. Personally, I think they are up to no good. I think you know that, perhaps in an even more informed way than I. I think you should get off the fence and use your knowledge and insight to take a stand. With respect. ..edN
April 09, 2011

Matt Kearns said:

Just frightening...
This is more than a little unnerving. 1984 was not supposed to be a how-to manual.

To be certain, inspecting every packet of data is just about impossible, but I can see an explosion in the use of PGP and other privacy tools. It could be a boon to privacy advocates, egregious acts by the government might just force a reaction by the people. I'm a little upset that no party has formed a comprehensive digital rights platform, this is unacceptable.
April 10, 2011

Null said:

Sneaky law, but avoidable?
I Worked for an ISP in a country that has these laws, pretty much verbatim. Installed with no real public debate... Figures

I hate that they exist, but in practice, I don't see a way around it.

1. Get customer info without court order. I liken this to reverse phone number lookup. Not exactly controversial, has side effects on privacy but not a disaster IMO.

2. Network changes to support... Well I can imagine there will be a nice cheque to make Rogers etc roll over. But if you want to do realtime, covert intercept, it's unavoidable. Otherwise you usually could only get flow summary (ie details of individual tcp / Udp transfers). This would allow, for example, http get requests to be captured

We all know it's the kind of thing that the public won't support because They don't understand why it's needed.
April 10, 2011

Napalm said:

...
@Null: "We all know it's the kind of thing that the public won't support because They don't understand why it's needed. "

Can you at least try to explain to this moron Napalm why it's needed? (beyond the "US demands it" explanation?)

Nap.
April 10, 2011

Dave said:

...
Seeing this from a UK viewpoint, it looks absolutely horrendous! I just hope the UK government don't get wind of this. It will make the Digital Economy Bill look like a child's toy!
April 10, 2011

Yarbles said:

In Soviet Canada, Internet Downloads YOU!
Scary. I thought the Conservatives at least paid lip service to the concept of smaller government. Guess not. Too bad the Conservatives will most likely win a majority and this will go through without a hiccup. But since all the other 'real' parties have similar crap in their platforms, it's a matter of when, not if.

I understand that you only have something to fear if you have something to hide and even without this in place you leave 'tracks' wherever you go on the internet that can be traced back to you, this steps over the line. They already have all my information for every official document I have or have ever applied for, what next? A serial number on my dick? A GPS locator in my head?

I'm a big boy now and I can look after myself. I pay the government good money which they just randomly piss away and outright waste on pointless elections and hundreds of other useless endeavors - that should also buy my ticket for them to all get the F--- out of my life and leave me at least the illusion of freedom. If I'm stupid enough to screw it up, then put me in jail. They really need to stop looking for reasons to go after their people. This witch hunting 'Thoughtcrime' bullshit scares the shit out of me and has to stop.

They should make a clock like the one they had counting the 'minutes' to nuclear war. For the new one it should count the 'minutes' before a North American revolution takes place when people decide they've had enough of all this BS.

Better that than where we're obviously going. While we're not -quite- as bad as the US yet, we're not far behind.

"Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there?

Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission.

How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent." - V For Vendetta (Change the chancellors name to Stephen Harper - or any of the other party leaders)

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people." - V For Vendetta
April 10, 2011

Anonymous said:

...

Holy fuck... I thought the Soviet Union collapsed in the late 80' / early 90's... I guess it just moved.

We all better brush up on our Newspeak.

"Thoughtcrime is death. Thoughtcrime does not entail death, Thoughtcrime is death.... The essential crime that contains all others in itself."
April 10, 2011

Anonymous said:

...
This is a great idea! This will be as effective and useful as the long gun registry. Look at how it got all of those illegal unregistered guns off the street. Oh... wait, there's actually more now. Never mind.

While I'm thinking of it, look at all of those unsecured WIFI nodes in my area - I guess I can do whatever the hell I want and someone else will go to jail for it.

Fucking pointless.
April 10, 2011

Anonymous said:

...
We need to remind all of these assholes why they're there. They're there to serve us, not the other way around.

"The people you are after are the people you depend on. We cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances. We guard you while you sleep. Do not... fuck with us." - Tyler Durden - Fight Club
April 10, 2011

Cornnuts said:

...
It's been quite a number of years since the majority of people on 'teh interwebs' were a bunch of morally questionable and socially challenged basement dwellers that smell like Mountain Dew and Cool Ranch Doritos (with matching stains of each on their clothes).

The internet is now a mainstream fixture in daily life, work and play for the majority of individuals, businesses and government. If this is forced through, which it obviously will be, just due to the nature of ongoing and exponentially expanding threats to server and system security it WILL be hacked and used for unlawful purposes that will cost private citizens and businesses GREATLY.

I don't fear for my anonymity, I fear for my privacy and well being. I'm 100% positive that just by announcing this there are groups worldwide rubbing their hands in anticipation for it to be implemented so they can break into it and rip us off.

All of these plans are the ill conceived products of ignorant people who don't understand the internet but still want to control it. These are the same types of people that think we should still be buying a $20 CD for one song.

However, all that needs to happen is for a mass hack of this proposed 'big brother' system and have a few hundred thousand bank accounts be drained for this to blow up in their faces. With any luck, they'll also drain the campaign funds of these people and keep them out of power. Too bad part of the aftermath will be everyday Canadians trying to regain their money, identities, credit ratings, property, etc. as the price for the governments stupidity.
April 10, 2011

Anonymous said:

...
I agree with Anonymous.

This is totally pointless. There's nothing about my 'unique online presence' that I can't change, up to and including 'borrowing' WIFI from any number of sources.

As for machine ID, in a pinch you can just install 2 wireless cards and disable/enable them as required because the only thing they can capture is your MAC address unless they've installed some sort of malware on your system. Oh, sorry - Browser installation ID too, but my next suggestion renders that invalid.

Or, buy a 'black box' system for any of your 'questionable' online activities that can be easily disposed of and don't keep personal info on it. Used netbooks are cheap and disposable. Take the MAC address stickers off the WIFI card and if the Gestapo come calling, throw the whole thing in the microwave for a few minutes. No evidence, no case. Fuck 'em.

As well, use TOR, Peerblock or a paid VPN.

The only people they'll catch downloading last week's 'dancing with the stars' or horrible cam vids of movies off Pirate Bay will be idiots that deserve it.

Oh no Mr Harper! I've just made your threat to my privacy completely invalid! I hope you enjoy those wrongful arrest lawsuits from all those people with unprotected WIFI connections.
April 10, 2011

Anonymous said:

Re: Sneaky law, but avoidable?
Reverse phone number lookup is contingent on the customer's voluntary participation in a public directory. As with IP addresses that cannot otherwise be correlated with a subscriber, where a directory number is unpublished, a carrier may currently request a court order before providing law enforcement with subscriber records. A carrier's subscriber database is not a phone book.

Law enforcement agencies need greater agility to respond to criminal activity carried out through service providers. For instance, someone using their services to send harassing messages shouldn't be able to escape punishment simply by choosing a negligent service provider. At the very least, major carriers should be held to account on maintaining a standardized level of subscriber information and being able to retrieve it within a standardized period of time.

However, none of this should be done at the expense of due process, or of subscriber privacy. If anything, the interactions between law enforcement and carriers should be further restricted.

Allowing, let along forcing carriers to divulge subscriber records without adequate process opens the door to disclosures that are not in the public interest — examples include requests stemming from officers' personal curiosities, or requests from the general public posing as law enforcement.

Negligence to maintain subscriber records shouldn't be an option, nor should indiscreet handling of those records.
April 10, 2011

Anonymous said:

...
Actually, this would be great for trolling. Go download a packet sniffer and break codes for someone's router then download embarrassingly titled porn on it.

I think I'll go and download 'Jiggling Geriatrics - Colostomy Bag Anal Surprise' on the WIFI from that douche across the hall.

LOL
April 10, 2011

Napalm said:

...
@Anonymous: "However, none of this should be done at the expense of due process, or of subscriber privacy."

Exactly. Why would be internet communications exempt from this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Section_Eight_of_the_Canadian_Charter_of_Rights_and_Fre
edoms

Nap.

April 10, 2011

Info said:

This Isn't a tory Plank, It was drafted by Martin Liberals
quite a few flaws in this article. This is not a Tory idea, it was Paul Martin's Liberals that drew this legislation up. Google "Bill C-74, the Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act". Secondly, the author seems to suggest that the Tories will make this law without debate, committee hearings and all the other lawful processes that take place in legislative procedure. CONSTITUTIONALLY IMPOSSIBLE !! Why does the reader of this article come away with the impression that it was either poorly researched or intended to deceive ?
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2006/sep2006/cana-s09.shtml
April 10, 2011

Anonymous said:

...
So when we have sex on the internet, we could actually be having a threesome? And not know it? Someone else always there? We should all load up the giggly geriatric porn and lots of it. Make them see it 24-7.
April 11, 2011

Anon said:

Will this really help fight crime?
I imagine people will just start using vpn or https connections to proxy servers located outside Canada to surf the net.
April 11, 2011

Info said:

This Is a Liberal Bill
This is a carbon copy of the Liberal Bill introduced by Paul Martin prior to the fall of his government. Scroll down and read BACKGROUND:
http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Sites/LOP/LegislativeSummaries/Bills_ls.asp?lang=E&ls=c74&source=library_prb&Parl=38&Ses=1
April 11, 2011

Read the Fine Print said:

@Info
The post says that the Liberals also introduced lawful access. But this isn't a carbon copy. Only the Conservatives plan to mandate disclosure of such a broad range of personal information without a court order.
April 11, 2011

Anon said:

Common On People - Grab a Brain Here
The only people that any Privacy Law protects, are the criminals. The honest law abiding hard working citizens of this country who pay their taxes are the ones who will be paying for this, not the criminals. Then to boot, the citizens will pay for the lawyers to defend these same criminals. If you haven't done anything wrong, you should not have to worry that someone will be interested in intercepting your information, other than the criminal minded. Do you honestly believe there are enough civil servants and law enforcement officials in this country to deal with such huge amounts of digital transfer information? Common people now, reason a little. We have much larger fish to fry in this country than Internet Privacy Issues. Think of how much of your annual property insurance premiums are going towards paying for all the Frauds being committed over the Internet alone. Keep the Internet free, but put some safeguards in place to protect the young and innocent victims of this wonderful country of ours we call Canada!
April 11, 2011

Calais said:

Non-partisan? Balance? Danger, danger, danger...
Ed Nixon (above) spot on!
April 11, 2011

Napalm said:

...
@Anon: "The only people that any Privacy Law protects, are the criminals."

Then lets first abolish these from the Charter:

Section 7: right to life, liberty, and security of the person.
Section 8: freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.
Section 9: freedom from arbitrary detainment or imprisonment.
Section 10: right to legal counsel and the guarantee of habeas corpus.
Section 11: rights in criminal and penal matters such as the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Section 12: right not to be subject to cruel and unusual punishment.

If you don't know why we have them, here's an example:

http://creekside1.blogspot.com...bonds.html

Nap.
April 11, 2011

end user said:

I'm ok with it
As long as the customer data collecting and retention is also mandatory for brick and mortar stores. Just because it has the word digital or Internet in it, it doesn't auto magically make something somehow be able to go above the Charter of Rights.

But I can see where this is heading. It so media companies can have easy access to stop pirates. Those damn pirates are bringing down the world.
April 11, 2011

Napalm said:

...
@end user: "But I can see where this is heading. It so media companies can have easy access to stop pirates. Those damn pirates are bringing down the world. "

Nah. That can be easily done within existing laws. I fear it's about an enabling an expedited process of writing your name in the "no flight" lists because you read Wikileaks.

nap.
April 11, 2011

Jack Robinson said:

If elected, Harper's New Rome North Cabal will turn the Internet into a Dragnet...
I'm frankly astonished that many, purportedly web-savvy posters to this issue either don't or won't see the alarmingly sinister implications of our nascent Cardiganed Caligula's intent to create an 'Outside of Constitutionally assured legal due process protocols' Digital Dungeon and Dragons World of spying, illicit information gathering and habeus corpus-exempt prosecution of anyone they suspect or claim are committing alleged crimes on-line.

The Idiot Notion that only Bad People do Bad Things is totally disengenuous, given the hideously penurous powers of citizen prosecutions that are rampant amongst repressive regimes world-wide.

That our aspiring Caesar of Sussex undertands this toxic dynamic, and would bury it's actualization in a trip-wired, draconian Crime Busters omnibus bill intended to be shoved through a straight-jacketed Parliament given an Ostrich Nation electorate coronation come the Ides o' May 2nd should not only send shudders down even the most jaded cyber cynic's spine... but earn a gnarly, vociferous on-line critic of this Machiavellian malfeasance like me 'A Room with No View' in one of Harper's proposed pork barrel buck-built Gitmo-style prisons... right next door to yours.
April 11, 2011

tcp dude said:

no problem
I will just vpn into sweden and do all my surfing from there. Stupid law totally unenforcable.
Michael Geist you should be ashamed of yourself for not coming out strongly against this.
There is no need for warrantless wiretapping. With a warrant ok fine but not without.
April 11, 2011

Suzanne said:

Green Party pledges to protect Internet access and open communications
Hmm.. the Green Party is not mentioned although it was published by Open Media Apr.6 http://openmedia.ca/blog/updat...t-out-gate
“A vote for the Greens is also a vote in support of open and democratic Internet access in Canada. Vote Green – vote for the internet.”
April 12, 2011

Anonymous said:

Access to Data Unacceptable
Imagine a Harper government that would be able to tell, which internet users are vising sites that do not conform with there agenda. Do you not think they would use this power?

Imagine a Harper government that would be able to tell, to seek out and silence political opposition and freedom activists by throwing there families in new mega jails for what they browse. Do you not think they would use this power?

Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and we should be affront to any loss of privacy when it comes to our communications. It will be used for evil purposes in the end.
April 12, 2011

Steve said:

Do we get to Monitor Government Email and Data as well?
If they are allowed to eavesdrop on us, it is only fair that we should be able to at will watch the email and web surfing history of ALL government employees. This is a two way street. They work for us, not the other way around.
April 12, 2011

Dave said:

doom and gloom
Is there no one here with faith in our constitution and it's protections? I doubt very much, that this law would get past the very first challenge. This is why I for one believe minority gov't is best. Being neither a dyed in the wool Conservative, Liberal or NDP'er I don't like any of their specific policies and wish we could have open public debate about everything. Then again the masses, don't know and don't care. The public is damned by their ignorance more than any gov't's malfeasance.
April 12, 2011

Fred Fred said:

nothing to hide
If you have nothing to hide, why all the fuss? Are you ashamed to let people know what you are viewing late at night? Then stop viewing it!
April 12, 2011

Frank said:

Fear mongering
I have never read more liberal fear-mongering comments than from this article. This site is nothing more than a Harper bashing avenue. Stop all this fear mongering about internet services and start talking about the real issues, for example, outragous gas prices, astronomical car insurance fees, ludicrous hydro and gas fees... and so on. Folks get with the program and get off your ptty issues. This is not the end of the world.
April 12, 2011

Katherine said:

...
I have nothing to hide and if law enforcement wants access to my computer, they are welcome to it. Get the child porn sickos off our computers and streets.
April 12, 2011

Fred Fred said:

nothing to hide...
...
I have nothing to hide and if law enforcement wants access to my computer, they are welcome to it. Get the child porn sickos off our computers and streets.

Amen, sister!
April 12, 2011

harpo said:

Harper will use this against us
The "harper government" has repeatedly shown contempt of democracy and the law and will use this against us. An example of that is the Canadian Military officer Sean Bruyea and the Harper Governement trying to use his medical records against him.
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local/2011-03-08/article-2313720/Veterans-Affairs-says-54-people-improperly-accessed-advocates-private-information-/1
April 12, 2011

Bob said:

Mr.
The technology to look into packets is not that complex - just a light splitter to peel off a copy for closer inspection. As far as user info goes - if it helps capture pedophiles, malware criminals, terrorists, spies, spammers, hackers and the like - then I'm all for it! Maybe all the people complaining about here have something to hide!!
April 12, 2011

Jimmy said:

Info already said it... it began as a Liberal bill...
As "Info" already mentioned, this began as a Liberal bill. While the Liberals have not specifically mentioned this bill during their campaign you can bet that they still support it. Voting against the party that supports the bill in their campaign does not necessarily mean that the other parties are opposed: if this is to be taken as an election issue, then voting either Liberal or Conservative will have the same result.
April 12, 2011

Anonymous said:

I have nothing to hide
Having the state watch over everything you do online, means that they can use it against you.. this is not about hiding something.. this is about retaining your privacy against those who want to stifle your freedoms for there own political and financial gains.. even if they are not thinking about this in the immediate, it is unavoidable for it to happen.. given our current leaders track record, our government wont even think twice about it..

Looks like we have some big brother advocates in here now, that jumped on the bandwagon.. do you have something to hide? Are you being paid to write this stuff? What are you motivations to increasing power to the state, and decreasing your own intellectual freedom? To me this argument is disingenuous, and there is some sort of financial or political motivation the people are hiding..

There is no partisan argument for this, you can't say were all liberals, increasing government control is not a classic conservative policy, its exactly the opposite.. unless you think china also participates in conservative capitalism.. your neo-political agenda is not effective in this forum

Also, we have government teams that can effectively search out pedophile rings right now without this unmonitored power.. as shown this year, there were several busts..

http://swo.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20110316/police-smash-international-pedophile-ring-110316/20110316/?hub=SWOHome
April 12, 2011

Bob Johnston said:

Common Canadian
This multi point issue has all the markings of creating yet another unmanageable, expensive to the public, disgrace. We still have the "longarm debacle" to finish. Look at the money that has been p*ssed away on that farce. As an average Canadian I chose to speak because of Openmedia. I am interested in Canadians not getting further fleeced by greedy, unfounded billing practices. As with the longarm issue it will likely be proven that government and law enforcement already have all the tools they need to get the job done. I strongly object to the idea of bypassing the courts unless the issue is a serious emergency and this would be reviewed immediately as well. Although this has not yet become a major election issue the proposal will have an effect on the kind of democracy we have not to far down the road. I have taken the time to attend public meetings put on by law enforcement and others concerned with and actively pursuing all types of web predators and bad guys. I never once heard them say they did not have the technology or legal authority to act. Universally, they stated they were understaffed and needed more, not better, equipment. Fear mongering is an effective way to get what you want and the gov't. and big telecom are putting together an overly invasive, unjustified one, two, punch to screw Canadians over in the pocket book and freedoms. Openmedia has brought the unfair costing to the fore and as usual all the other sh*t starts falling out. This is nothing more than a make work project that will become very expensive(F-35, :-)). One more thing to put on the back of working Canadians. Why don't all you fear mongering, radical socialists crawl back under your rocks. If big telecom get away with what they want nobody can afford the internet so there is no problem. Seems that progressive notion of one step at a time has been forgotten.
April 12, 2011

Not Surprised said:

I have nothing to hide
I have absolutely nothing to hide, but I still cringe at the possibility for misuse of this power. As a previous poster stated, we have constitutional and privacy rights for a reason, and you know what? I will not voluntarily give those up simply because someone in government thinks I should. Not to anyone or any agency. Period.
April 12, 2011

Lisa said:

...
re: "...disclosing the names of all employees who may be involved in interceptions (and who may then be subject to RCMP background checks)."

So not only will the Internet user be subject to full disclosure of his/her private information, without his knowledge, but the customer service employee that is responsible for handling the information will be subject to an RCMP background check as well! I can't imagine that being part of my job description when applying for a basic call-centre job.

What the article doesn't mention is which bureaucrats will have access to my personal information, and if those individuals will first have to submit to a background check before they get their hands in everything.

The more people who have access to private information, the greater chance of that information falling into the wrong hands, or being abused and misused.

I have nothing to hide, but that doesn't mean I want my personal life to be public.
April 12, 2011

Trevor said:

...
There is a simple fix for a government that has little or no respect for its citizen's rights! JUST DON'T VOTE CONSERVATIVE! If this kind of damning information is coming to light now just before an election, hold on tight. If the Conservatives get a majority you will see our rights and freedoms trampled into the dirt. With a majority in place Harper won't give any warning or news release. Each incident of government tampering with our rights and freedoms will only appear in underground blogs and such and only if there is a leak. There will be absolute zero transparency with a Conservative majority so just don't vote for these extreme right wing types period. Corruption in government is one thing but when you combine that with a party and a party leader who view our civil rights as a burden to be overcome and not a gift that needs to be cherished and protected at all costs, democracy as we know it will be gone.

Economically, the last Conservative majority under Brian Mulroney saw a deficit grow to be equal to our GDP and we almost had the Internatinoal Monitary Fund step in. Now here we are again with a current deficit of $55 billion, an order on the table for fighter aircraft that we don't need which will cost another $30 billion and a bunch of new prisons that will cost $10 to $15 billion after infrastrucure, staffing etc etc. A Conservative majority will put Canadians in debt to the tune of $100 billion.

The current government has been operating "steady as she goes" and "no risky moves" only because they are a minority government. When the Conservatives left office after their last majority they left a $45 billioin dollar deficit. Then when the Liberals left office in 2006 they left a $15 billion dollar SURPLUS! Which would you rather have? Remember when the current Conservatives were first elected in 2006 they spent that $15 billion dollar surplus in the first few months in office. They never provided a report showing exactly where the money was spent. Remember Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty swore that they would never operate a government with a surplus as it goes against their philosophy and ideals. No cushion for the rainy days, I wonder if they handle their own personal finances that way.
April 12, 2011

bharris said:

...
Just out of curiosity, if one were to drop the security on their Wifi, would the government be able to prove who was initiating the traffic? If your car is stolen and used in a crime, would you be liable, even if you left the keys in the ignition? I am not clear on how it works.

Personally, I don't see this as a partisan issue. In reality party politics is designed to give the illusion of choice. Really, once elected, they all regress to the mean and subvert the democratic process. An example is when a representative is told to toe the party line and in so doing may actually go against the wishes of his/her constituents. Happens all the time. Which is one reason we are not allowed the power of recall and they have no obligation to follow either their campaign promises or the wishes of those who elected them.

I am for fighting this measure, in the end if this comes to fruition, criminals will learn to benefit from it and the common man will learn ways to defeat it. I'll get around it, not because of any nefarious intent but to remain free for as long as possible.

Vote wisely this election...
April 12, 2011

Havoc said:

Dystopia
The argument that if you are not committing crime you should not be worried about this bill is blatantly false. All free people should be worried about it. recent events in Egypt and Tunisia should be a clear example of this. The people of these countries used the internet to help overthrow oppressive governments, If we, in Canada, ever need to do this, we will be unable to. I'm not saying we will have to, but the option should always be there.
April 12, 2011

Marshall said:

1=1
there is no difference between the government /police going into your personal mail in your mail box on your house and reading it?? How can this even stand up in front of the Courts or Canadians for that matter?? Have we dumbed down to the degree that we now accept whatever they tell us ??
April 12, 2011

Michael said:

...
I own and operate a large Canadian webmail system with servers located in Montreal. As I understand it so far this will effectively require me to provide the police with unrestricted administrative access to any email account they wish to do whatever they would like.

Presently I cooperate with them to provide as much identification as possible to track down and prosecute those dealing in illegal child pornography but at this point it always involves an official request in writing. The issue is not that the police _NEED_ more access as the present laws require them to do some actual real investigations to show cause for access.

Last time I checked we should be free from unreasonable search. With these laws the police will be able to arbitrarily go in and investigate any part of your life they want. If they want to proceed with this I will happily move my servers out of Canada. Too bad for the Canadian internet service provider benefiting from my business.
April 12, 2011

Thomas Jefferson said:

Just use TOR to prevent ISPs from watching what you're researching, like journalists and democracy activists do
https://www.torproject.org/about/torusers.html.en
https://www.torproject.org/docs/faq.html.en#Torisdifferent

If you are a journalist or opposition MP who is nearing a breakthrough in discovering criminal activity by the Harper government or the RCMP, they will know you're getting close by observing what you're reading. You must use TOR in order to complete your research before getting arrested on a trumped-up charge.

Harper's people want total government secrecy but total access to individual's lives. If this bill passes, the public, and especially pro-democracy activists will have to become more internet savvy and join the technology arms race, in order to regain some balance of power.

TOR also helps protect whistleblowers, which is necessary to counter the excesses of government secrecy.

Anyone who's dumb as a stick can use TOR, through the Tor Browser Bundle, so there's no excuse for not using it.
https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en
April 12, 2011

Webstravaganza said:

Let's be perfectly clear about one thing:
Every single "I don't do anything wrong and have nothing to hide" person would cringe, freak out or feel violated if they were faced with an unwarranted search of their personal information. They would then scream about how "they" obviously shouldn't have been searched, just all the other deviants.

Sadly, until this happens, their viewpoint on the matter won't change.

Also: Those of you coming here and demanding that internet based issues aren't relevant in the face of things like gas prices need to start your own god damned blogs. This one has been dealing heavily with online matters for as long as I've been coming here. Comments like that are the equivalent of walking into Wal-Mart and screaming about your inability to pass level 13 of Angry Birds.
April 12, 2011

Emmanuel Goldstein said:

Don't let Canada become a Big Brother security state
What you can do to protect yourself -- Tips from the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
https://ssd.eff.org/wire/protect/encrypt
https://ssd.eff.org/wire/protect/summing-up

What can you do to stop this happening in the first place:
1. Write to your MP
2. Read and Learn about this critical issue
3. Vote for candidates who aren't so obsessed with creating an infrastructure for mass surveillance
April 13, 2011

Expat said:

It won't happen to Canada???
Egypt's interim military just jailed a blogger (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13038937) for criticizing the military during the protest. The military are supposed to be cleaning up for Mubarak's corrupt dictatorial regime not continuing it. With the powers listed above the Canadian Government could easily get your information if you were "against" the government... who's to stop them? Harper is already barring people from "public meetings" with information from the RCMP screenings: http://www.thestar.com/news/ca...arty-rally
“I was told the RCMP had done a screening and that perhaps my name was affiliated with something on Facebook or the Internet,”
April 13, 2011

Anon said:

What about his....
From my understanding, the passing of this bill would allow the government unrestricted access to all information passed to and from my home network. If my wifi isn't protected or gets hacked, I'm screwed. If I access information that they think is illegal, I'm screwed. That much I get, but what about VoIP? VoIp is internet access, be it through local service provider, skype, google voice, magic jack, etc. Does that mean if I say something they don't like, I'm screwed too?

As for collecting data transmitted and received by individual users, the ability to do so without oversight scares me, but I'm more scared about the integrity of the security of the obtained information. Who will be responsible for the security of the gathered information; the ISP of the government? If their data vault gets hacked and my bank account information is taken, who will be responsible for correcting any malicious use of this information? What about my Social Insurance Number? That's my identity as far as the government and credit rating is concerned, what if it is illegally obtained.

The gathering of the information is scary. Protection and storing of that information is even more scary.
April 13, 2011

Me said:

Isn't this like China?
Harper tried to pass a law where it became legal to broadcast fake news, just like FOX does in the states (thanks to Regan and his laws). This would be a propaganda machine for the government. Add a spying network to that and were all in big trouble. Total control of the people is on it's way. What's that called again...
April 14, 2011

anon said:

Fascism
Harper is a fascist. Harper is a fascist. There. I am so happy to be able to say this now. In a few months (100 or so days) I wil not be able to.
April 24, 2011

iamliving said:

TOR

https://www.torproject.org/
May 03, 2011

rbrown said:

Show me the legislation.....
Such a bold accusation needs backing up. I tried to back it up. I looked in to the proposed bills, namely the Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act found at http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/n...2567.html, and did not see anything about police officers being granted the power to obtain transmission data without a court order. Could you please a) provide source upon which you are basing this claim or b) retract your claim in the spirit of not misinforming the public.
May 03, 2011

Michael Geist said:

@rbrown
Read the post more carefully. I state that customer name and address information is available without a warrant. Transmission data warrants are warrants. I don't say in the post that they are available without court oversight given that courts issue them.

MG
May 03, 2011

Comrade Canada said:

Here we go
Well my friends looks like we are gonna be bent over once again a minority government would have been for the best but now Harper reigns unoppossed who can stop him. Not us because no one cares and they know it. The poeple should be feared not the government.
May 03, 2011

dell laptop battery said:

dell battery
Harper is a fascist. Harper is a fascist. There. I am so happy to be able to say this now. In a few months (100 or so days) I wil not be able to.
May 03, 2011

Josh McDewy said:

Not all bad...
".. disclosing the names of all employees who may be involved in interceptions (and who may then be subject to RCMP background checks)."

Good, I want to know which 'security experts' at the ISPs in the chain can read my info, or participate in my arrest, or at least if their known scam artists.

"The bill also establishes numerous reporting requirements including mandating that all Internet providers disclose their technical surveillance capabilities within six months of the law taking effect. Follow-up reports are also required when providers acquire new technical capabilities."

This one is great! I've often wondered what surveillance/data harvesting abilities the larger ISPs like Rogers, Bell, etc. are (already) using. Until this they don't have to tell anyone. Perhaps this will also help bring to light what information they've been selling, and to whom.

"Indeed, after years of concern over the privacy impact associated with deep-packet inspection of Internet traffic (costly technologies that examine Internet communications in real time), these bills appear to require all Internet providers to install such capabilities."

Deep-packet inspection already used extensively in traffic shaping to prevent clogged Internet pipes. It's used by most (all?) large ISPs and by most (all?) backbone providers already.

You can get SMB office-level deep-packet inspection appliances "off the shelf" these days (including traffic shaping, QOS, malware identification, client tracing etc., etc.).

PS: Whoever said the Internet was private, or that it is your god-given right to access it and use it however you feel?
May 05, 2011

Muffins said:

@Josh McDewy's PS
Everyone should read up on political philosophy, especially the stuff by Michel Foucault on Discipline and how prisoners can be coerced through omniscience, using Panopticon-style prisons as a very real example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discipline_and_Punish

Suffice to say, privacy is important because it protects your freedom. If there was someone in your room right now, a faceless person watching everything you did, a person you have questionable trust in but know that he has much more power than you, your behaviour would be starkingly different than if that faceless man wasn't there. And this would be regardless of whether or not you have a habbit of committing offences when alone. It's a very real psychological phenomenon and has worked extremely well in prisons throughout history. Installation of cameras in public have also been questioned for the same reasons.

What if you happen to think this faceless man is trustworthy, you might ask? And I'd have to ask why would you ever think he is, when he himself obviously does not trust you? You are suspect, whether you committed a crime or not, and he proves it to you by watching your every move. This type of distrust, without specific reason, is reason enough for any rational person to not trust him.

Furthermore, internet surveillance can pave the way towards other forms of politcal repression http://www.bsos.umd.edu/gvpt/d...ATER~2.PDF . It wouldn't be fearmongering so much as it would be prudent to think this could become the case, especially when looking back at the more recent extremely violent and unreasonable crackdowns that have occured in Canada (see G20 accounts).
May 06, 2011

Ashley said:

...
i am assuming all of the people who have no problem with this are equally willing to allow the government to install a videocamera in their living room to keep an eye on their household. after all, whats the problem? you have nothing to hide, right?
May 11, 2011

Derek said:

Crooked cops
Having lived in China, I can tell you, there is nothing more satisfying that knowing that the cop living below you can go to his precinct and capture your internet communications because he thinks your wife is hot.

Or a political party capturing all information to and from their political opponents. Four years of Harper - gives him just enough time to have it all installed, nice and legal like. Go Fascism !
May 26, 2011

Canadanonymous said:

@Anonymous #AntiSec #LulzSec #LulzRaft
Maybe in the past this would fly, but with the #AntiSec revolution happening, this just won't do... For now, use Tor and/or Tails to protect you privacy, give big brother some encrypted data to sift through.

Anonymous will not tolerate internet censorship.

We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
We love you.
Expect us.
July 04, 2011

Bvlgari Rings sales said:

Bvlgari Rings sales
-Bvlgari Rings salesA friend is a second self.
July 05, 2011

SalesRep said:

Government Ethics
Does it matter if the police department has detectives? Then why does it matter if the Canadian or American governments have spy programs, every country has detectives. I think where the line should be drawn is when spying (ie. investigating) becomes a direct attack for econonomic reasons.

Everyone is hypocritical because they need reporters to spy for them legally... is it evidence or hearsay? What legal professionals should see is how some fine lines are drawn for what is ethical an what isn't.

As an example is the NSA program "Turbulence" as listed on Wikipedia with cited sources. [1]

Citizens with intellectual property should be concerned if the government is attacking people purely for economic gain. [3]

An example, Microsoft I see as being the largest proponent for the NSA Turbulance project since promise for a Windows upgrade leads to financial gains. Those individuals who have upgraded every virus since Windows 95 are really the antagonist since they need doctoral level computer science to discover "NSA keys" [2] or any other type of industrial espoionoge. Since the level of skill required to discover government sponsored malware is high, after mitigating risk posed by erronous software, viruses will become the most expensive thing to service and have created economic malaise.

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbulence_(NSA)
[2] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSA_key
[3] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Espionage_Act_of_1917
January 05, 2014

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