Canadian Government Quietly Drops Lawful Access From Its Cyber-Security Strategy
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Friday April 26, 2013
Jesse Brown had an interesting post yesterday that raised concerns about the prospect that the government might
use mounting fears over cyber-bullying to re-start their failed
lawful access legislation. While it is important to remain vigilant
about the possibility of the re-emergence of Internet surveillance
legislation, I think a more important signal suggests the bill really is
dead (at least until after the 2015 election).
First, Bill C-30
actually did include a provision that could arguably be used to help address
cyber-bullying. It wasn't the provisions involving privacy and
surveillance, but rather the expansion of a Criminal Code provision on
harassment. Section 372(3) currently provides:
Every one who, without lawful excuse and with intent to harass any
person, makes or causes to be made repeated telephone calls to that
person is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
The limitation to harassing phone calls would seemingly exclude
instances of cyber-bullying. Bill C-30 would have made provision
Everyone commits an offence who, without lawful excuse and
with intent to harass a person, repeatedly communicates, or
causes repeated communications to be made, with them by a means
It is therefore possible that we could see this provision
re-surface without bringing back the surveillance provisions that
raised concern across the country.
More notably, the government recently dropped lawful access from
its national cyber-security strategy. The 2010
Cyber-Security Strategy telegraphed the intent to bring
forward lawful access legislation with a commitment to introduce a
Yet earlier this month, the government released its Action Plan 2010-2015 for the Cyber-Security Strategy. It removed all references related to lawful access including the commitment to legislation involving Internet service providers. Given that the document originates with Public Safety - the most ardent supporter of lawful access within the government - the removal of surveillance language provides a strong signal that it is not part of the legislative plan for the foreseeable future.
Friday April 26, 2013