Canada's Lawful Access Bill Appears to Have Contained a Provision to Enable PRISM-Style Surveillance
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Monday July 29, 2013
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:
That provision would have given the government the power to decide what specific surveillance equipment must be installed on private ISP and telecom networks by allowing it to simply take over the ISP or telecom network and install its own equipment. This is no small thing: it literally means that law enforcement (including CSIS) would have had the power to ultimately determine not only surveillance capabilities but the surveillance equipment itself.
While Bill C-30 is now dead, the government may be ready resurrect elements of it. Earlier this month, a cyber-bullying report included recommendations that are lifted straight from the lawful access package. For example, recommendation four states:
The Working Group recommends that the investigative powers contained in the Criminal Code be modernized. Specifically, the Working Group recommends that an approach consistent with recent proposed amendments on this subject to better facilitate the investigation of criminal activity, including activity that is conducted via telecommunication be introduced and implemented as part of any legislative package responding to cyberbullying. These amendments should include, among others:
Please Enter Your Name said:
Annie O' said:
Mike The Ghost said:
Monday July 29, 2013