Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler spoke to a group of police organizations today and pledged to move forward this fall on the lawful access initiative. Cotler apparently indicated that there will be a memo to cabinet on the matter in September with legislation likely to quickly follow.
For those who have not followed the issue, lawful access envisions creating significant new network surveillance powers that would be embedded directly in the network. Moreover, ISPs would be required to retain traffic data for significant periods of time. Not only does the proposal (at least as it was presented privately to several groups in the spring) create new surveillance powers, but it actually reduces the level of privacy protection and oversight associated with that surveillance. For example, one proposal floated in the spring would require ISPs to disclose subscriber information within 30 minutes to law enforcement authorities on a 24 hour, 7 day per week basis. Incredibly, law enforcement authorities could make such a request with only a phone call under certain circumstances. No judicial oversight. No advance paperwork. No privacy.