Archive for May 20th, 2011

Web Surveillance Legislation Requires Study, Not Speed

With the new Parliamentary session scheduled to kick off within the next few weeks, two major initiatives will dominate the initial legislative agenda: passing a budget and introducing an omnibus crime bill that contains at least 11 crime-related bills. My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes the prioritization of the crime legislation is consistent with the Conservative election platform, which included a commitment to bundle all the outstanding crime and justice bills into a single omnibus bill and to pass it within the new Parliament’s first 100 days.

The Conservatives argue that the omnibus approach is needed since the opposition parties “obstructed” passage of their crime and justice reforms during successive minority governments. Yet included within the crime bill package is likely to be legislation creating new surveillance requirements and police powers that has never received extensive debate on the floor of the House of Commons and never been the subject of committee hearings.

The package is benignly nicknamed “lawful access,” but isn’t benign. If the Conservatives move forward with their complete lawful access package, it would feature a three-pronged approach focused on information disclosure, mandated surveillance technologies, and new police powers.

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May 20, 2011 32 comments Columns