With Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day now on record stating that the Conservatives will not introduce lawful access legislation that includes mandatory disclosure of customer name and address information without court oversight, we are likely to see law enforcement respond in two ways. One possibility is to promote the creation a new, specialized warrant that lowers the evidentiary bar – in other words, maintain some oversight, but make it easier to obtain the information.
The other possibility was on display in yesterday's National Post, which included a lengthy article suggesting that changing one word in PIPEDA would do the trick. The change would make mandatory the current exemption that permits, though does not require, organizations to disclose information without consent in a law enforcement investigation. While the article conjures up images of "files are sent around the world, copied, downloaded and erased in seconds," there has never been any credible evidence put forward to indicate that the current PIPEDA standard has proved to be an impediment to law enforcement investigations. Moreover, the government's recent response to the PIPEDA hearings provided the opening to make that case, but law enforcement declined to do so.