Government Introduces Bill To Require Surveillance Capabilities, Mandated Subscriber Disclosure

As expected, the Government has taken another shot at lawful access legislation today, introducing a legislative package called the Investigative Powers for the 21st Century (IP21C) Act that would require mandated surveillance capabilities at Canadian ISPs, force ISPs to disclose subscriber information such as name and address, and grant the police broad new powers to obtain transmission data and force ISPs to preserve data.  Although I can only go on government releases (here, here), the approach appears to be very similar to the Liberal lawful access bill of 2005 that died on the order paper (my comments on that bill here) [update: Bill C-46 and C-47].  It is pretty much exactly what law enforcement has been demanding and privacy groups have been fearing.  It represents a reneging of a commitment from the previous Public Safety Minister on court oversight and will embed broad new surveillance capabilities in the Canadian Internet.

The lawful access proposal is generally divided among two sets of issues – ISP requirements and new police powers.

1.   ISP requirements

There are two key components here. First, ISPs will be required to install surveillance capabilities in their networks.  This feels a bit like a surveillance stimulus package, with ISPs making big new investments and the government cost-sharing by compensating for changes to existing networks. The bill again exempts smaller ISPs for three years from these requirements.  While that is understandable from a cost perspective, it undermines the claims that this is an effective solution to online crime since it will result in Canadians at big ISPs facing surveillance while would-be criminals seek out smaller ISPs without surveillance capabilities.

Second, the bill requires all ISPs to surrender customer name, address, IP address, and email address information upon request without court oversight.  In taking this approach, Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan has reneged on the promise of his predecessor and cabinet colleague Stockwell Day, who pledged not to introduce mandated subscriber data disclosure without court oversight. 

2.   New Police Powers

There are several new police powers that come with the lawful access approach.  First, police will be able to obtain transmission data about Internet-based messaging.  The government says this does not cover the content of a private communication, but it will cover information about what a person is doing online (what sites they visit, who they communicate with, etc.).  This will be subject to a judicial order that will allow for obtaining real time data (a warrant) or historical data (a production order).

Second, police can obtain a preservation order that would require ISPs to preserve (ie. not delete) data related to a particular subscriber or even a specific communication.  Third, there is an expansion of the police power to obtain a tracking warrant, by allowing police to "remotely activate existing tracking devices that are found in certain types of technologies such as cell phones." Fourth, the law expands the computer virus provision in the Criminal Code and opens the door to greater international cooperation of cybercrime enforcement.

As for what is not in the lawful access package, there is nothing on data retention, a controversial issue in Europe.  It is also not clear what reporting requirements the Government envisions to ensure that there is transparency in the process. 

I'll have more to say in the days ahead, but it should be stated that everyone wants to ensure that police have the ability to deal with serious crime.  Lawful access has been on the public agenda for years, with law enforcement has demanded new powers but not providing compelling evidence that the current system has created serious barriers to their investigations.  For example, last year CIRA caved to law enforcement pressure for a backdoor to WHOIS domain name registrant information.  More than a year later, law enforcement has never once used this backdoor.  Given the potential for misuse (Greece, U.S. telcos), the onus should be on law enforcement to demonstrate how the current system has harmed investigations and then we should work on ensuring that there is always – including for customer name and address information – appropriate court oversight.

Update: Coverage from the CBC and the Globe and Mail.


  1. This job would be easy if it weren’t for those pesky human rights
    Why is it that they are always pushing for “without court oversight” on these bills? They aren’t pushing to get around court oversight for searches for other criminal investigations, what is so different about internet crime?

    The difference between investigating a crime and monitoring the entire public is that investigating is for police and monitoring is for prison guards…

  2. And it’s a giant waste of time/effort/money
    Since every single interception technique to monitor and capture my communications are easily circumvented with free and widely available encryption options.

    Do the government and policing agencies actually think this will improve their efforts to apprehend “sophisticated” criminals? That is just foolish.

  3. Police State
    Obviously, the government doesn’t have anyone with internet savvy. Anyone can access a WIFi, which means if your WiFi is not secure, YOU may be the one charged with an offence, while the actual perpetrator gets off scot-free. Wake up, you dumb Conservatives! I can at least say I did not vote for you.

  4. the United States of Canada?
    First off, Its sad that this is our govt, Secondly, I bet big business has a massive hand in this. This is Hollywoods way to go about getting the ‘right’ to start snooping in Canada as they have in the USA. ONLY BROADER and with less restrictions. Its no secret that govts are hugely influenced by commerce, which ultimately we all are, but to allow our rights to be sold out for commerce, is that right? I think not…yes, and I also love how they snuck in that sexual assault tidbit against kids, sigh. This is what causes me to believe its more business than law driving it. Who can we remove to prevent this total waste of taxpayers money from happening again? Talking to my MP is a start but seems fruitless..blah us regular citizens solo, seem to have very little effect, its only when we gang together by the dozens that they notice us…

  5. Join the protest group on Facebook!
    We will not give up the liberty nor the rights our forefathers fought for!

  6. Not quite right is it?
    It really doesn’t seem right that we would have the equivalent of the US warantless wiretapping bill. I don’t mind if the ISPs are forced to disclose subscriber information, it’s just that without court oversight this is ripe for abuse.

    One more thing that doesn’t sit right with me is that historical data wouldn’t need a record. Realistically, there’s no difference between real-time and historical. By the time something is in the ISP logs, it’s already happened, and so it’s historical.

    This entire act doesn’t seem right to me at all. I’m ready to do something about it. Protest?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t it interesting that in Canada and the US we’re always attempting to introduce new legislation to poke holes in a citizen’s privacy or make it easy for law enforcement to snoop on innocent citizens without oversight. Yet the same day the legislation is introduced, people in Iran are revolting against a government that they contest is suppressing them. Furthermore, the only reason they’ve been able to protest in the first place is because of the freedom the Internet affords, even though their government has tried to suppress all other means of communication.

    Government officials and legislators don’t know enough about what they’re trying to legislate. There are infinite ways to spoof the source of an email or forge an identity online. As such, in many cases, it makes the preservation of logs by an ISP totally facetious and irrelevant to an investigation of criminal activity in the offline world. Information in the digital world is totally ephemeral and there’s no way an ISP can ever say definitively without a shadow of a doubt WHO it was that generated a log entry or message. All they can say is “such and such IP address connected to our servers and performed such and such activity”. It’s extremely rare that there is any “biometric” correlation of online activity to a human being in the offline world.

    If a 15 year old can hack into a bank and cover their tracks, then law enforcement officials have a long way to go before they can ever claim to lay hands to the sophisticated online criminal element who are light years beyond them in knowledge, capabilities and experience. It’s different when there is a clear offline element. e.g. a criminal sends someone a picture of themselves committing a crime. Even then, there are many photo manipulation methods that an average person couldn’t differentiate between that make the line blurry.

    They’re also assuming the information ISPs store is credible or somehow authoritative and indelible. Far from it. Logs can be filtered, manipulated, deleted, altered etc and no law enforcement official would be able to differentiate an altered log from an unaltered one. You’re also relying on the people who work for an ISP to have the skills and knowledge to deliver the information in a reliable manner that doesn’t alter the context or content of the data. How many times have ISPs, Telcos etc screwed up your bill or left you on hold for an hour or infuriated people with their ineptness? How can we rely on them to deliver reliable evidence?

    Clearly law enforcement needs help. But laws like this amount to internet eavesdropping and don’t serve the greater good over the long term. What law enforcement needs are a) the brightest of the bright computer science people working in their midst and b) embedded liaisons in the industry that can help enforce current laws and c) more credible information gathering techniques that don’t rely on ephemeral, alterable information.

  8. Ken S from Ramara says:

    Harper gov’t is a little premature….
    They should be waiting until they have a majority in parliament before tabling such a bill. Hopefully that day never comes!

  9. Ed in Calgary says:

    What happens when a special interest group goes to the RCMP?
    I’m curious – what would stop a special interest group from utilizing this new law or lobbying the government? Didn’t the CRTC say no to regulation to the internet? Now our right-winged government wants to allow ISP’s to collect data? How about my right to privacy and the presumption of innocence. How about a charter challenge to this law?

  10. Not having children was the smartest decision I ever made.
    It’s the choice that keeps on giving.

  11. Keith Douglas says:

    This is awful, if the summaries are accurate (and even if they aren’t, and only partially correct). If the Liberals are really on board too, it looks like it might pass unless we can somehow whip a large writing campaign.

  12. Jason Bartlett says:

    Data obfuscation anyone
    Seriously though if this pass that’s all it will drive me to do even if it is slower. Hello Tor/SSH/VPN, if all my data will be captured anyway, the very least I can do is to make it hard to decipher.

  13. Canadian John Q. Public says:

    WTF !!!!!!!
    You know we have to take down this governmet, and when teh nect one comes in assure

    1.Acta is abolished
    2.Privacy rights are restored. (becasue the liveral party will not do it either.

    They can catch crooks like this without having any special new laws. This is only so that Harper can act like Bush.

  14. Joe Stalin says:

    Policing is only easy in a police state. Keep it honest, require a warrant.

  15. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Another sad bill passed by a government that in no way appears to work for the people. (And this is nothing new since the conservatives came in… )

    What ever happened to democracy?

  16. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Oops I didn’t mean to say passed. I meant to say another bill proposed. Hope it’s not passed, but something like this is going to be soon.

  17. Xetheriel says:

    This is a dark day for Canada.

    My only hope is that somebody talks some sense into the gov’t, and makes them realize that this is completely unneccesary, and drastically over-extends police powers.

    Personal information should never be available without court oversight.


  18. Cause For Concern says:

    “Those who sacrifice freedom for safety deserve neither.”

    Without probable cause, and no search warrant requirement for the police to access your personal information without your knowledge, to me, this is a bad piece of legislation. It seems to me that Canada is continuing down the same road as the USA, the erosion of basic civil liberties. Does it not seem that our society is becoming a lot like the movie “1984”????

  19. why is that your site goes down whenever the government is announcing something we should concern about
    I was not able to access your site 10s of minutes ago.

    I should add to this message: I told you so, FRA-Lagen is comming to Canada ey

  20. Jourdelune says:

    While the Sweden did exactly the opposite.

    Count me up Sweden VPN hoster, when that shit become true.

  21. Well, these tools will definitely make all of us like criminals no matter what we do or not…the end of Canadian freedom as we know it!

  22. Seems to me that law enforcement has been doing pretty well up to now without this bill

  23. I got you now
    So I captured part of your online conversation in my new sweeping powers as state listener. I also remotely turned on the GPS feature of your phone and saw that you came within 9-feet of a known terrorist.

    We are now working with the US homeland security and we will deport you to Syria for some out of country “relaxation” to get info from you where our anti-torture laws don’t apply.

    hehe I’m just joking.

    Oh WAIT! This already happened to Mr. Arar. /news/background/arar/torture-claims.html

    Guess this tosses out lawyer-client confidentiality as well when the people or government you try to sue will wiretap you on all levels. :p

    Oh WAIT! This already happened also.

    oh well. Where do I join the youth camp to be indoctrinated?

  24. Charter Challenge
    Will this bill [provided it gets through the house and committee as is] survive a Charter challenge given the inherent right to privacy (arguably found) in s. 8 (Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure)?

  25. Chris Brand says:

    Wiretapping ability
    I remember the lawful access consultation, where the police reps were saying that forcing ISPs to have wiretap capabilities was not a big deal because it’s already required in the US, and hence is already present in all the actual hardware ISPs buy. They didn’t have an answer when I said “if it’s already there, why do you need the law changed to mandate it ?” Ultimately, it seemed to come down to “we don’t want to pay for the licenses”. They didn’t like the idea that the police having to pay acted to force them to use some measure of restraint – only using it when it’s really needed.

  26. United States of Canada
    meh no big deal. Big Brother would be a godsend for us hapless Canadians. think of the terrrsts!!!

    (encrypt *everything*)

  27. Cobolhacker says:

    This bill shows a serious lack of understanding on the part of law enforcement. Either that, or they are on the take.

    Does the government really think that “criminals, child pornographers, organized crime members and terrorists” haven’t figured out things like encryption, proxy servers or open wi-fi networks? Did no one tell them that Skype was encrypted? That their evil little websites sites are protected with SSL? They aren’t going to catch any of the bad guys they mentioned with this law.

    But they are going to catch lots of people downloading stuff from the Internet. Gosh, who might benefit from that, I wonder?

    This government is either full-on frakking stupid or in someone’s pocket and right now I’m leaning toward the pocket. I think it is letter writing time.

  28. Uh… you’re kidding right?
    The privacy issues are incredible, but let’s also think about the economic or commercial impacts of this.

    Now Telcos have to “remotely activate existing tracking devices that are found in certain types of technologies such as cell phones”… Cell phone providers DO NOT have this capability. This would require custom development on every handset sold in Canada.
    And building additional capabilities in that the ISPs have to fund themselves will just drive up user costs as well. Guess the Govt. isn’t really that interested in reducing costs now are they?

    Next time you want to complain about not getting the latest Iphone in canada, just remember this little gem as to why. None of the manufacturers will do this for the small canadian market.

    I doubt any of the providers want this “stimulus package”. The govt. is only going to ‘share’ the costs of this for existing infrastructure which means that carriers and ultimately their subscribers will pick up the tab.

    Great thing to do in a recession.

  29. So a sleazy investigator could bribe a cop and get someone’s actual name and residential address based on an IP address? No warrant required?

    Not my kind of Canada.

  30. Anti-Facist says:

    Now we have our own Stasi
    I always knew there was something really creepy about Stevie Harper and his gang.

    “If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.”
    Cardinal Richelieu

  31. Canadian onion routing
    Maybe we should all install and run that U of T proxy meant to liberate the Chinese from state censorship and state security watching everything they do?

    Maybe we should all run an open proxy?

    Maybe the Harper and Liberal government will want to make us force install their very own firewall.

    Man-in-the-middle “lawful” interception will by pass your encryption when they can intercept certs and re-issue them in real time. There is very specific software out that captures everything (and certs) then plays it back unencrypted. Encryption will do nothing.

    web injected,
    no private communications,
    remotely tracking you via your cell phone,
    google corp filming where you are,
    foreign corporate interests trying to sue you,
    CBoC trying to propagate the foreign interests,
    the CRTC giggling,
    Industry Canada calling all this market forces,
    our Competition Bureau watchdogs telling us to complain to the crtc,
    Copyright reform,
    Bloggers being sued,
    Anon Commenters being sued,
    extreme price gouging by the telco’s on all telco services,

    That’s not even the tip of the iceberg.

    Its a real telecom war going on.

    It used to be that, “he who controlled the media, controlled the minds of the people”.

    Now its, “he who controlled the telecom, controlled the minds of the people”.

    Hell, its getting insane ay.

    So where is our digital minister? When will we get one? Will she/he be allowed to speak or write a blog? (I expect nothing more than that if we ever got one, if the gov lets him/her speak)

    When will the privacy commissioner get more power to take action?

    heh it’s insane.

    Now I know why people do drugs to escape reality. Anyone got a joint for a first timer?

  32. We gotta stop this says:

    except for spammers
    Everyone online in Canada must speak out about this, and collectively we must let our MPs know this is NOT okay. However we should do something nasty to all spammers; I’d like to know where they live.

  33. Competence
    “Government officials and legislators don’t know enough about what they’re trying to legislate.”

    I disagree, they know exactly what they are doing. This is why its scary. Any government internet power that avoids judicial oversight is a direct attack on all citizens communications.

  34. Is it alright to be disturbed now?
    Just wondering.

  35. Just as Peter Van Loan lined up a bunch of hand-wringers for his her photo-op…
    …the privacy community needs to start putting out torture victims and people from women’s shelters to demonstrate how this law can be abused, especially the subscriber information.

    Fight fire with fire. It’s all optics and PR with politicians.

  36. #Zensursula
    Is Canada going to walk down the same path that Germany has already started to take? Search for the Twitter hashtag #zensursula to see why it was a pitch-black day for civil rights on that side of the ocean as well.
    Let’s make sure Canada doesn’t meet the same fate.

  37. Are you kidding me? Not that I, in any way, shape or form, agree with this rediculous proposal to infringe on our rights, but to all of you who sit at your computers and blame Harper – at least open ONE eye. Does the proposal come from Harper? No. It comes from an ignorant, over-reacting, pompous moron who happens to be PC. There are other proposals that have come and will continue to come, from every party we have – and will be absurd as well. The proposal hasn’t been approved yet. If it is approved, it will not be the sole responsibility of one party, either. If the liberals were in power and a liberal rep had proposed the very same bill, I’m sure the same people would be spitting fire at them instead. Really. If the government wanted to be part of the US, we’d be there already. Do you have anything to say other than accusations based on emotion?

    This seems awfully rash, and a bit over the top – even for the purposes they claim to have it in mind for it. No court oversight? Really?? Doesn’t this overstep the legal rights of our freedom? It’s illegal for anyone to access the personal information of another without legal consent. Look what happens when someone ‘steals’ an unsecured internet connection simply by opening up thier laptop at the park or in an apartment building. I can’t see this passing at least without the stipulation of court oversight being mandatory. At least I hope not. As someone said earlier in this thread, it would open up a whole world of abuse. While I agree that something along these lines would most likely assist in the investigating of serious crimes, this is certainly not the way to go about it. I also have to agree that with everything going on over in Iran at the moment – it’s quite obvious that people are capable of masking anything. Information will be corrupted, mishandled, misused, misinterpreted, and therefore, completely unreliable. While some criminals are pretty stupid and most likely would not be able to cover thier tracks, some of the world’s best criminals are also some of the most computer literate.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Hoping we’ll forget?
    Interesting they’re introducing this bill right before the summer break in Parliament.
    Same trick they tried with the copyright bill last year… we didn’t forget that one, do they really think we’ll forget about this one over the summer?

  39. Paying attention says:

    Privacy is not a partisan issue
    To all those commenters suffering Harper Derangement Syndrome, the original article points out that the latest bill is close to a verbatim copy of one proposed by the previous Liberal government, but one which the Liberals were incapable of getting passed. Pay attention for crying out loud. The lefties and the righties (well, middle-ies) are both to blame. This won’t be solved by a change in government. This will only be solved by the Supreme Court actually living up to its mandate, instead of enabling/encouraging further meddling.

  40. Rick Johnson says:

    Let the bill authors know what you think
    Your member of parliament is likely not reading these comments, why not send the comments to them?
    Give the authors of the bill a piece of your mind.
    Rob Nicholson (905) 353-9590 (905) 871-9991
    Peter Van Loan (905) 898-1600

  41. You sure doc?
    The Doc said:
    “The bill again exempts smaller ISPs for three years from these requirements.”

    If I’m not mistaken, the old MITA act (Bill C74) said that telco providers who have 100,000 or less subscribers on it were exempt (for 3 years), and the MAIN supplier (ie. Bell Canada, Videotron, Rogers, Telus) would scoop up peoples info for them. since these smaller “exempt” providers ride on one of those networks.

    If I’m not mistaken (this goes back a long time).

    So even if exempt, the people on the smaller providers WOULD have been spied on anyhow via the big telco-boys above.

    All the exemption did was grant a money relief for 3 years (or until they had 100-thousand users), it did NOT stop the spying (this is what I recall).

    Again, this is going back a few years since I last read it (think it was the 2005 attempt to pass this).

    I believe this info was also on CAIP’s website back then to inform their members.

    6-months to a year later (give or take), Bell Canada changed their TOS’s to match AT&T’s (who was doing this exact same thing in the states). Their TOS’s made it very clear what was going on back then and they were preparing for it (and also mention 3rd party access & 3rd party providers also reference Bell clauses).

    Anyone remember “Emily of the State”?

    Most people may be reminded by this youtube video (i’ll copy the link in a couple of different ways since this blog is funny with links):

    or /watch?v=VcP3V9bgUoI

    I suggest all watch it. It’s short (about 3 minutes), true, and very very fun to watch.

    So this exemption thing was just a 3-year financial exemption, not an exemption from the spying (from what I recall).

    I don’t know how it’s worded now with the new changes. So I wouldn’t call it an “exemption” just yet.

    This is how I recall it.

    While writing this historical trivia up, on the CBC they showed a right-wing lawyer who said, “this is no different than a cop pulling you over for speeding and asking for your drivers license with personal info on it”. LOL

    The propaganda is coming out already.

    People better get ready for a breathalyzer test before Emailing now I guess. If you blow a 0.8 you lose access to the net I suppose since this is so similar.

  42. North of 49 says:

    Of course it comes from Harper
    Goose, it’s been obvious for Harper’s entire term in office that nobody in his party, no backbencher, no minister, no spokesperson, does or says anything unless he orders it. Van Loan is not an independent actor here; whatever is in this bill — whenever we get to see it — you can be certain every bit of it came straight from the PMO.

  43. mikeharris says:
    Ok people settle down. I will let you in on a little secret that you may not be willing to admit. privacy is an illusion. I am using an alais here because i dont want anyone to know who i am but my cousin used to work for CSIS for well over 25 years as a data analyst and here is how it works. this is what he told me so i am only going on what he said. EVERY SINGLE PHONE conversation made in canada is “washed” through a special computer. It picks up on around 250 key words. If those words are in the conversation then some one would listen to the conversation to see if there was any threat to the country or to see if a serious crime was being commited. Who started this? Pierre Trudeau.

  44. hehe
    hehe “privacy is an illusion. I am using an alias here because i dont want anyone to know who i am” hehehe I like this guy

  45. Vote Green, Vote Pirate, or just Spoil your ballot
    It is not a partisan issue, cons and libs are known to introduce crap. C-60, C-61 are coming from them. The Private Member Bill on telecom surveillance was introduced by Marlene Jennings (NDG-Lachine) multiple times.

    Stop voting for old parties, instead vote green, vote pirate (there are Pirate party clubs being organized at universities across Canada, they need your help) or spoil your ballot to vote against the electoral system (see

    By the way, Elections Canada made ballot spoiling a crime… but if you do it properly (mark X in all boxes) instead of doing stupidities like eating your ballot, your chances of getting caught are NIL. Counts of rejected ballots are posted on Elections Canada site, so, get your vote count by COMING to the elections and spoiling your ballot.

  46. letter to my MP, please copy/paste/correct/edit/do as you will
    Good evening,

    I am writing to request a response from yourself and your party in regard to the “Investigative Powers for the 21st Century (IP21C) Act”.

    I have not had the opportunity to review the full act. I have so far investigated the initial analysis and provided summaries of the act found here: As such, I have felt the need to write voice my opposition and concerns.

    I am strongly opposed to this legislation as it undermines the core of the expected privacy of Canadian citizens, presents an incredible security risk to Canadians and will both dissuade and hinder investment and innovation in the Canadian technology and telecommunication industry.

    Not only does it violate and undermine my expectations of privacy, it is completely foolish and ridiculous in it’s methods and intent.

    The summary of this legislation paints an illustration of the act as providing police forces a means to investigate and apprehend “sophisticated” criminals. It will do nothing of the sort. Sophisticated criminals are and have been for some time utilizing techniques to circumvent each and every surveillance and interception technique or methods used by law enforcement. This legislation will _not_ stop that.

    What this legislation will do is open the door to a myriad of abuse. The extent of which unimaginable at this time. I do not have enough fingers and toes to count the ways this legislation is open to abuse. Not only will this legislation destroy any expectation of privacy, it will also put at risk Canadians security. What happens when the “interception device” at an ISP is compromised or sold?

    As well, this legislation will place a virtual stop sign on the road of investment and innovation in Canada. Would you invest in a country where your business and personal communications were subject to interception without oversight? I might guess that there are many investors and innovators who would not.

    In summary, this legislation is extremely harmful, ill-thought out and foolish.


  47. spotted this says:

    Q&A on globeTV
    Q&A with privacy expert Avner Levin /globaltv/national/story.html?id=1709919

    “Avner Levin is a privacy expert, chair of the law and business department at Ryerson University in Toronto, and director of the school’s Privacy and Cyber Crime Institute. He answers questions for Global News Online about the federal government’s proposed surveillance legislation:”

    Goes into a few Q&A’s. Pretty interesting & worth looking at.

  48. Another Attempt to Strip Our Rights
    When I see legislation like this it really saddens me. Isn’t this the sort of thing our soldiers fought and died in WWII to prevent? Sure computers didn’t exist back then as they do today, but no matter what technology exists, we have a set of rights.

    As far as I am concerned (as well as many many other Canadians) this is a blatant attack on our rights. This Government has tried to allow corporations to spy on us (C-61), censor our entertainment (C-10), allow border guards to seize and destroy our possessions at the border without a warrant (ACTA), and now this. This is disgusting. Are our lives really nothing more than a game for these guys?

    I’ll be contacting Peter Van Loan in a few days when I am calm enough to write something polite and mature, rather than pound away on my keyboard in a rage.

  49. Anonymous says:

    Privacy is a joke in Canada
    Given the topics, I find it kind of ironic that not one of you have noticed Mr. Geist’s website uses tracking webbeacons and doesn’t appear to support https.

    – — Seems he’s over his limit and the account isn’t active
    – Google Analytics

    Sure you can block them with noscript/adblock (I prefer Karma Blocker) but alas.

    My point is that if you are going to argue this as an invasion of privacy, big brother, etc. then I agree it is. But also understand there are other evils at play. Why are we not protesting against them?

    Has anyone spoken to the joke that is our privacy commissioner ? What about CBC?

    You’re at a minimum neieve if you seriously believe police forces are not already tapping email, tracking cell phones, etc. without warrants. There is a reason cellphones have GPS’s that can’t be turned off and it has nothing to do with convenience to the user ( The funny thing is the police can and are already doing it with the iPhone and some RIM devices.

    The question you should be asking yourselves is how far do you really want to go down the rabbit hole that is reality before we fill it in with dirt and start over?

  50. Encryption and other circumvention techniques
    I’ve read on here several comments regarding the utility of various circumvention techniques, such as encryption or the use of proxies. Of course these tools are being used for nefarious purposes, but they are also being used to provide privacy to Canadians who have a reasonable expectation of privacy provided by their democratic rights. History speaks volumes on how this Freedom Erosion can end very badly and Canadians ought to be concerned about being tracked by the authorities even when there is no evidence of wrong doing.

    It won’t be long before the use of encryption may in and of itself be evidence of wrongdoing, as it has become in the UK where one must provide police with passwords to encrypted information when demanded to do so in the course of an investigation. Failure to do so may be punished with five years of imprisonment in that country.

    If the military is using encryption, that’s good. The banks? That’s good too. But if Johnny Canuck is using it, then it’s bad? That’s just plain wrong because it takes power away from the people and is fundamentally undemocratic.

    Electronic information should be held to the same standards as a regular phone wiretap.

  51. HITLER IS PROUD says:

    privacy isnt an illusion
    its private …anyone that says otherwise is up to no good, WITH YOUR RIGHTS for a reason, that usually benefits them financially.

    Why else would you want to lesson people privacy and rights?
    Don’t give me the crap about terrorists and et all. THAT’S a CROCK a crap and we all know that harsher environments lead to harsher crime.

  52. Facebook group
    Hey all–you should join this facebook group, it looks like it could be the hub for activism on this issue just as facebook was the hub for the copyfight!

  53. Making better criminals
    All that is acomplished with this type of legislation is the creation of better criminals. Encryption technologies have gotten stronger, and easier to use and implement. I can implement enterprise grade VPN networks for under $500 per site now, and SSL is a dead easy way to protect a “criminal” website from the prying eyes of the police.

    The next bill after this one is enacted into law will be a spending bill for the RCMP, CSIS, etc to create a super computer cluster capable of breaking encryption.

  54. We are turning into Greece…
    …minus the olives, beaches and history 🙁

  55. This is actually a “retweet”
    @alex_masse said: I propose that we rename the newly introduced Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act: Investigative Powers of the 17th Century Act.

  56. Brett Legree says:

    Re: Making better criminals
    Exactly. Just like antibiotic resistant superbugs. The undesirables will just get tougher and better, meanwhile, the rest of the “cells” (aka *us*) will suffer.

  57. What can I do to stop this?

  58. Unless you want Canada to become China, RESIST THIS WITH EVERYTHING YOU HAVE.

    When a government seeks to avoid legal oversight, the peoples best interest is the last thing on their mind. This will be used as a political tool as much as anything else.

    You want data retention to make you feel safe? How about when your kid downloads a song and a foreign business group is able to get access to your internet history? You can count on that happening. If this goes into law, your way of life will change and not for the better. The illusion of safety is no safety at all. They’ll revise it and as part of travel and trade treaties, foreign governments will get access to WHERE YOU GO, WHO YOU TALK TO AND WHAT YOU READ.

    Turning on your phone and car’s tracking capabilities? How creepy is that? We only have to look South to the US and the UK to see how this WILL be abused.

    Peter Van Loan ( tell him who you won’t be voting for if this goes into law.

  59. Jefferson Quote
    “If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.”

    Thomas Jefferson -1787

  60. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Welcome to the police state known as internet. Think of when hackers get a hold of the backdoor, they will. If some kid can hack NASA think of the ones they don’t catch.

  61. M. C. in P.G says:

    keep up the good fight
    I for one appreciated all your efforts against Bill C-61, and am grateful that you are focussing on this latest attack on our privacy and freedom. Hitler once said to his Ministers that if you throw in the “think about the children” mantra, you could just about do anything.

    I and many others think that this is just something to appease the recording industry and the Constupidives are using that very same mantra to justify it. I highly doubt that the motivation for this Bill is nothing else except big money and control of the masses.

    Canadians must get active. Flood your MP with e-mails and hard copies in the mail. This Bill must NEVER EVER BECOME LAW. If you read the Constitution, you will find many glaring violations in this Bill, but one of the most important is the right to be deemed innocent until proven guilty.

    Thank you again for all your efforts, Mr. Geist! Be well!

  62. M. C. in P.G says:

    for @Goose
    @Goose, after suggesting we “open one eye”, you ask “Did the proposal come from Harper?”, then pointed out that it came from a “pompous” MP who happens to be PC.

    Two things. First, it is pretty much common knowledge that no member of Harper’s cabinet speaks, moves or even farts without direction from Uncle Stevie. Remember the campaign? None of his caucus were allowed to speak to the media. Stevie had them MUZZLED, and that has not changed. He says Speak, they say How Loud.

    Second, this bunch of power-hungry windbags are not PC, or “Progressive Conservative”. They are a mix (coalition) of Reform and Alliance. The Conservatives have not been “Progressive” in party name since BirdBrain Malarkey, or in principle since Joe “Who” Clark. Therefore, you have Conservative. Reform. Alliance. Party. Take the first letters from those four words and see what we’re getting for a government, beside freedom-killing legislation.

    These socialpaths have gotta GO!!!

  63. ~
    with a possible election in 2009 do you have any ideas which parties are in support of this bill and which are opposed to it?

  64. M. C. in P.G. says:

    @Adrian G
    Good question–I’m trying to make a positive determination of that myself. Having been a director of the Carr Center For Human Rights Policy (Harvard), I can’t see Inatieff supporting this bill, but I haven’t seen any statements in the news yet. It might be he hasn’t finished studying it…maybe in the next day or two (I hope).

    I think it’s a given that the NDP wouldn’t support it. No idea on the Greens.

    One thing I do know–This should be an election issue.

    I find Ignatieff a bit hard to figure out. I like what I read about him but he seems to be a guy of few words. Walking softly and carrying a big club, perhaps? 😛

  65. Mark Warner says:

    Warrantless wiretapping?
    There appears to be some confusion about this bill. I came here to get the ‘facts’ about it before I emailed the minister, but today I read a story on the Toronto Star website that states that while police can require an ISP to retain data without a warrant, they still require a warrant issued by the court in order to actually *access* that data. The story claimed that the legal test to have a warrant issue was less rigorous than that required for an actual wiretap, but it does appear to satisfy Stockwell Day’s commitment to judicial oversight.

  66. M. C. in B.C. says:

    @Mark Warner:
    ISP’s are private businesses, however, and I am uneasy with the RCMP requiring any private business to retain private data for their uses. If we are to protect our rights as citizens to privacy, we have to stand for our ISP’s and other businesses that serve us as well. A watered-down infringement of privacy rights is still an infringement, and must be nipped in the bud.

  67. function creep says:

    Charter of Rights and Freedoms
    Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 8 reads: “Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.”

    Now either the conservatives don’t care about the charter, or they know this is a violation of our rights and freedoms. Im more willing to believe the latter. This law, (should it pass) will be struck down the first time its used in attempt to convict someone. Finally, taxpayers will fund the governments defense of the inevitable forthcoming lawsuits. Its disgusting and no court is going to believe this nonsense of “children” as an excuse. I also believe the people they catch using this law will inevitably be set free (no matter how bad the crime).

    RIPA in the UK has been nothing but a s**** stain on society. For evidence of this watch a BBC television series titled “whose watching you”. It provides a good understanding (fairly unbiased) of how innocent people have been hauled away to jail or even called a terrorist because they popped up on the surveillance grid.

  68. Anonymous says:

    Police State
    I like how the excuse given is to “update” the laws because they are “old”. Ummm… if I recall right those “old” laws prevented unreasonable search or seizure. Why does “updating” mean a power grab.

    Secondly, the logs they are asking for are all easily falsified. Thus it is prone to all sorts of abuses with no easy defence with judges that don’t understand how easily the data is falsified.

    Thirdly, our court system only works for the very wealthy now (it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to use) so if the police just want to hassle you they can make your life hell… all legally… even if you are completely innocent (e.g. mistaken identity does happen.)

    George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four comes to mind.

    Braidwood Inquiry demonstrates once again that power without oversite only leads organizations out of control (RCMP) and deaths of innocent people.

    This bill balances nothing.

  69. M. C. in P.G. says:

    …in fact, this bill throws everything OUT of balance, and balance between corporate interests with the good of the people are what make a true democracy. “To protect children”, indeed. How much do ya wanna bet that the RIAA had a hand in this?

    It is becoming common knowledge that the Harper Government do not believe in accountability, so if the RIAA did have something to do with this P.O.S. of a bill we wouldn’t hear about it from them–maybe in a ‘gotcha’ move via a leak when it’s too bloody late to do anything about it. Like, Lisa Raitt’s little ‘boo-boo’, or the latest–a government lawyers ‘oversight’ about an e-mail regarding the PRE-MEDITATED fatal Tasering of Robert Dzeikanski.

    There is something else that people must never ever forget about Harper as well. In 2005, he slammed Canada–his own country–for being “a third-rate Northern European welfare state”–and vowed that “Canada will be unrecognizeable when I’m through with it”, in a speech to the National Citizens’ Coalition.

    He SLAMMED the country that ensured he had a safe birth through the universal health care system we have, the healthy upbringing his family was able to provide for him due to that same system, and the education he was privy to because of the importance we Canadians place on accessibility, etc., etc., etc…not to mention FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND DUE PROCESS IN OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM that Our Soldiers Fought and Died For.

    This fact ALONE makes his motives behind this fascist-style bill highly suspect!

    Harper Cannot Be Trusted, and since his Cabinet are marching in lockstep to the beat of His Mighty Drum, they Cannot Be Trusted Either. Period.

  70. HITLER IS PROUD says:

    well are we not full circle back to 1939 neo nazi facism now?
    grand lets see how it works , give the bastards there law and see what happens eventually.
    YOUR going to need all them copper powers

  71. Little Hitler has appeared
    The first time I saw harper on the news when he was running for the joint Reform/Alliance (PC) party his shifty eyes and fake smile reminded me of a creapy weasel…as the election progressed and his stupid statements kept hitting the headlines it showed how much of a right wing nut job he was. I nicknamed him little hitler to my friends never thinking he would still be around after getting trounced in the election. He learned after the first election that if he didn’t change his image and keep tight rain on what his ministers said then he would lose again…he spent 2 years or so on image consultants and to learn french just so that he had more of a polished look…he though is still little hitler, just more polished now.

    With this new bill that he has put forward is more fascist control…next he will be making us wear on our outer cloths our names, addresses and nationality/religion so that they can quickly identify us in crowd….similar to 1930’s….

    Get rid of this bill.


  72. @Mark Warner:
    This bill as it stands requires a warrent for police to demand content from ISPs, but does not require a warrant to track internet users, ip addresses, etc down, ie if they see a suspiscious user on a chat site, or whatever, they can ISP must tell them who the person is associated with that user, and there address and number and stuff without a warrant. This is the part that people are saying is an about face from what dude said before:
    “We have not and we will not be proposing legislation to grant police the power to get information from Internet companies without a warrant. That’s never been a proposal,”

    Comments on this from gov are basically that it has been already ruled that name, address, phone number are not personal information and are not covered under privacy rules.

  73. Van Loan
    Van Loan is my rep. He will definitely be hearing from me about this issue. I will also talk to as many people around here about it as possible. I’ll try my best to get this idiot voted out of power.

  74. IP21C Mandated by the UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe)
    According to a condensed history of the internet posted at “ wiki/ Internet_ Assigned_Numbers_Authority”, the internet has always been a militarized zone, which was opened to the public to promote government intelligence and the development of enterprise commerce. We don’t need to look any further than the UK’s images on our currency to recognize the fact that Canada’s constitutional monarchy is following close upon the heels of UK’s Orwellian lead, which is why Canada has been forging ahead behind the scenes with the National Routing System for our vital statistics per EU specs for the unification of a global broadband economy. We already have the chipped RFID debit cards and Driver’s Licenses rolling out…and if you start digging through Developer’s websites, such as “”, you will start to discern that Google’s Satellite per Google Maps would have been in existence for testing purposes for years prior to their release of “Google Latitudes”, the handy dandy GPS tracking device for your iPhone/iPod to keep a keen eye upon “your friends”….
    As a realist, I don’t believe we can fault the ISP monopolies for capitalizing upon this cash cow…we need to take a closer look at why Canada and the US have closed their borders to law abiding citizens without passports…we need to examine why Canada has been hiring thousands of “auxilary police officers” over the past 5 years…and we need to ask ourselves if our passion for electronic toys isn’t ultimately the cause of the tightening noose around our civil rights…particularly when chipping human beings is on the global agenda by 2017.
    It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee…forget the Canadian news propoganda…start reading the European news instead…

  75. griselming says:

    Anger, outrage ect. ect.
    So. Moving to Quebec, voting Separatist.

    Ashamed to be Canadian right now.

    This is a message for every Canadian Member of Parliament: IF you are prepared to be cavalier about the right to privacy of Canadians, IF you are considering advocating “driftnet” surveillance/filtering laws which arbitrarily permit predator governments to stalk the entire citizenry (which in turn may not re-elect you!), & IF you feel inclined to vote in favour of any bill which legitimises the already existing technology & authorises Echelon style invasion of Canadian privacy & surveillance of Canadian internet activity …….. then you must also vote for an amendment to this proposed bill which would immediately mandate a legal requirement that all so inclined MPs be made to remove all doors from their own homes, -all of them- the front door, all bedroom doors, all bathroom doors. Perhaps that might make you feel a tad more empathic regarding callous abuse of power regarding any bill which proposed the violation of the rights of others who elected you?

  77. M. C. in B.C. says:

    The Key
    Your key word are “election” and “vote”. Corrupt politicians (read ‘despots’) like Harper rise and thrive largely due to Voter Apathy. Hopefully there will be an election in the fall, but that alone is not enough. People have to go to the polls and vote in order to preserve democracy. Just enough people got out to vote to prevent this ultra right-wing nut job from getting a majority, but we might not be so lucky next time. Anyone who reads this can help. If your friends are saying “I’m not voting”, then get them off the couch and drag ’em by the short ‘n’ curlies to the polling atation if you have to. If you know a homeless person, go and vouch for them so they can vote–many of them don’t have proper ID.

    Start campaigning for the Vote now. The more you pass the word around, the more people will know how important their vote really is. Let’s all do our bit to get the vote up to at least 75-80%. Politicians are a lot more hesitant to piss off the people if a high voter turnout occurs to remind them that we’re paying attention.

    This the single most important first step in preserving democracy, our Charter, and the freedom of our Internet; otherwise, our best ever communications tool WILL BE TURNED AGAINST US.

  78. voting
    Who to vote for?
    This might work if we had some way of predicting the actions of politicians at election time…
    Unfortunately, there is no law against lying your ass off to become elected and not disclosing what you are going to do once you are elected. There certainly was no hint that the Harper government was planning to introduce this bill that we could theoretically have used to decide to vote against them at election time, and there was never any hint that the other parties are any more or less likely to introduce this type of a bill…

    Basically what we have is a bunch of black boxes that we get to pick one and find out whats inside later when it’s too late. You can sort of look historically to see what each party is likely lying about at election time, but it’s really just guesswork. They are all pretty uniformly unpredictable once they are elected.

    captch words:
    student waste

  79. “Corrupt politicians (read ‘despots’) like Harper rise and thrive largely due to Voter Apathy.”

    Its idiotic comments like this that make me think Canada DESERVES a police state. Maybe you hadn’t noticed, but Canada VOTED IN Harper. To suggest that the LIEberals have clean hands is pretty much paramount to saying that the sky is green. Please, get a clue before spouting your verbal diarrhea all over the boar30d.

  80. M. C. in B.C says:

    So prove otherwise. Put forth a valid argument rather than insults. If you have any proof at all that Harper really gives a damn about Canadians’ rights, then give me some quotes. Prove to me that the speech he made to the National Citizen’s coalition in 2005 didn’t happen. Can you prove that he hasn’t been the great divider? Your post says otherwise.

    Canada DESERVES a police state because of one post? That sort of thinking is just as harmful to you as it is to the rest of us.

  81. “Minister Van Loan thinks IP Address/email address same as phone numbers- Canadians have “no expectation of privacy”” – Michaels twitter
    This is ridiculous and insulting. Beyond the fact that many people ask that their phones or addresses not be listed because they believe them private, it is much more important for emails and ip’s because access is not restricted as it is with phones and addresses… Only local people can abuse phone and address information (mostly) but the whole world has easy access to abuse your email and ip if you don’t keep them private. He might be able to say that we don’t deserve to have our emails and ip addresses private, or that it should be sacrificed for his bill, but no expectation? Who honestly believes this?

    I don’t know about minister Van Loan, but I’m a canadian, and I expect these items to be kept in confidence by anyone I give them to. If I gave my IP address and email to a friend, and they published it on the internet, I would be thoroughly pissed and would try to get them changed. It’s a personal security issue if your private email and ip address are published.

    Also, I would like to see all his emails and home IP address published. Then he can find out why they need to be kept private.

  82. ….
    What this proposed legislation does is simply open another door for police/government to abuse the average Joe. Imagine the damage that could be done by a single jealous cop accessing the information of someone he found while snooping through his wife’s email contacts. Or by an overzealous cop snooping into the lives/locations/personal information of anyone he/she doesn’t like from online forums or chats or …. Imagine the risk if you ever piss someone off and they manage (one way or another) to get your ISP or email address and report you falsely but anonymously to the cops (easy to do at the rcmp website) – next thing your life online is an open book. This info should only be accessible through oversight from the judiciary – not at the request of any cop with a badge – and they will claim that they will oversee themselves so its nothing to worry about….yeah, right….

  83. Funny isn’t it? Here we see headlines in the newspapers about the Chinese Govt insisting that computers have a chip in it so they can halt any freedom of speech, and all our so called democracies are ranting about this invasion of Chinese privacy in their commentaries. But, there is hardly a word from those same outstanding citizens/elected officials or our privacy (ha) commissioners on this issue. But truly, it’s commercialism alright. Next step? They will insist North Americans have this same control chip to be installed upfront next time they buy a computer. Maybe we already have this? Maybe they forgot to tell us? …. a minor oversight?

  84. “Make it illegal to possess a computer virus for the purpose of committing an offence of mischief, even if the virus has not yet spread.”

    Well, so I surf and get a virus – wasn’t my fault, I send it unknowingly to a friend – but now I am liable for it? And how is an offense of mischief defined inre possessing a virus?

    And, exactly what *is* a virus? I’m unaware of such a definition in the Canadian legal system (though I am sure there is one on the way, if not already in the books secretly)

  85. “Make it illegal to possess a computer virus for the purpose of committing an offence of mischief, even if the virus has not yet spread.”

    Another charge waiting to happen when they throw the book at you – oh, you got a virus, I bet you must have been intending to spread that…5 years and fines up the ass for that…lets just make it easier for them shall we? Oh, we see you woke up and logged onto the internet today – you must be a pervert – off to jail.

  86. Oh, you use encryption, but you aren’t a banker, lawyer, politician or cop – clearly you are doing something unsavoury – we’ll just sieze every piece of electronic media and equipment you have – in the meantime, off to jail for you. We’ll get back to you in a year or so with charges…or not.

  87. Trance Gemini says:

    Without court supervision this is very dangerous and as others have indicated neither necessary nor will it accomplish what the police and intelligence agencies appear to think it will accomplish for them.

    The end result will simply be that the privacy of innocent Canadians will become vulnerable to abuse and I don’t think anyone is so naive that we don’t realize that morally bankrupt individuals in the police and intelligence agencies as well as ISP staff will abuse this. While the police and intelligence agencies try to hire good people they can’t guarantee that everyone they hire is.

    This bill needs to die in it’s entirety.

  88. Trance Gemini says:

    I wonder what’s next scanning people’s hard-drives? Or will that be built-in to the ISP Security package?

    I’m glad I’ve moved into removable storage drives for my files and the only thing that’s on the computer hard-drive is software.

    The move into cloud computing is going to make this a useless measure because of the many anonymizer web-sites available to people on the Internet and removable storage drives and online storage.

    Technology-wise, these guys are at least 5 years behind.

    Since I’m reasonably certain this draconian legislation will pass at some point and then will (not might) be abused, I think I know where I’m going to be investing next :-).

  89. Loran Hayden says:

    Time to act passively but intelligently
    So, tomorrow I am going to go out and begin posting on every telephone pole and billboard I can find my protest to this act and ask people to ask their parliamentarians why they are being so quiet about these bills.

    Summer break from Parliament does not mean summer break from responsibility to your constituents. I will have two friends following me with cell phones with cameras and I recommend everyone else who thinks these bills go too far do the same.

    They cannot arrest you for using TAPE (please use tape because we all know staplers are lethal weapons) to post to public billboards and utility poles a simple political protest. In fact, I dare them to.

  90. Your ISP is already logging your activity
    Its standard procedure for the ISP to log your internet activities for a certain duration (3-6 months). As soon as this law passes your information is available. This law is coming… so, let’s protect our personal data now.

    Here’s some things you can do:

    Any time I go on line I use VPN4ALL (you can select any vpn service you like). All transmission from my computer to it’s destination is encrypted. Even my ISP doesn’t know what’s being transmitted or what sites I’ve been to.. My vpn guarantees not to maintain any logs.

    All my data is on portable hard drives and encrypted with free software (diskcryptor). Even my laptops are encrypted with the same.

    When using P2P I use Vuze, which has an encryption option. I run PeerGuardian2 when running Vuze.

    I don’t use Hotmail or Gmail.They are too easily accessible by authorities. If authorities asked these providers for access to their account information it would be unlikely they would even need a warrant. I created email accounts overseas while using vpn (so even the offshore email providers don’t know my ip address)..

    My wife thinks I’m paranoid. I’m ok with that because this work only takes a few extra minutes to set up. in my opinion I’d rather be too paranoid than not paranoid enough…