Lawful Access Bill Coming November 15th

The Canadian government today revealed that it will unveil the lawful access bill on Tuesday, November 15th.  The bill, titled the Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act, will "compel all Canadian telephone and Internet companies to create and maintain infrastructures that are intercept capable and to provide access to basic subscriber contact information such as a name, address or telephone number."

In anticipation of the bill’s introduction, earlier this week I participated in a discussion on lawful access on CBC’s The Current.  A real audio stream of the half-hour program, which also includes interviews with me and U of Toronto professor Wesley Wark, is available here.


  1. q?
    Under the current state of the Bill, are the authorities able to freely go on fishing expeditions – doing anything with the information they find. Or are they required to get a narrow warrant and only use the information they were looking for (ie: connected to their disclosed purpose)?

    ps) I really enjoyed your talk last week in Victoria. I liked the lessig style presentation. way to train young law students to stand up for user’s rights!

  2. Dwight Williams says:

    On your appearance on the Current:
    I listened to your talk with Anna Maria Tremonti, and I remain concerned after hearing both yourself and Wesley Wark. Frankly, the concept of our own version of USA PATRIOT taking hold up here concerns me on several levels, regardless of whether or not it’s technologically, politically or otherwise practical to engineer it.

  3. Tech Journalist
    Not having followed the detail of this disturbing development, my immediate, possibly naive question is: Has the government (or anyone else) demonstrated statistically that the “intercept” access being requested is likely to meaningfully improve the safety of our persons or property?

    Specifically, have the poponents of this new bill presented data regarding the number of crimes annually that are solved based on “wiretap” technologies? The sorts of crimes? The success rate in pursuing these sorts of crimes in instances where “wiretap” evidence is not available?

    It seems to me there’s no need to resort to emotional or ideological arguments, when historic data should make it plain whether this intrusive and potentially very expensive new legislation is justified. Or not.

    If this evidence has in fact been presented, perhaps Mr. Geist or some other reader of this page could point us to it?

    (BTW, speaking of intrusive technologies: sorry I can’t hear the CBC presentation, but I’d rather not be infested by Real player…)