Law Enforcement Renews Demand for Internet Surveillance Legislation

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police renewed its call for Internet surveillance legislation on Friday, urging the government to move forward with Bill C-30. The CACP release included a new video and backgrounder. Law enforcement officials now admit that parts of the bill require amendment, yet as David Fraser points out in this detailed post, the reality is that “lawful access” is irretrievably broken (I’ve posted in the past on the many changes that are needed to restore balance to Bill C-30). As Fraser argues with respect to mandatory disclosure of personal information:

To put it very simply, if the police cannot convince a judge that the connection should be made, they should not be able to obtain it. If you can’t convince a judge that it will lead to evidence of a crime, the cops should go back to the drawing board.

While the CACP insists that “Canadians need to understand what lawful access is truly about”, it unfortunately resorts to headline grabbing claims that have little to do with the bill.  Much like the government’s initial focus on child pornography, the CACP jumps on the recent focus on cyber-bullying, stating:

“Criminal bullying is extremely concerning to all Canadians, especially the parents of young children, and Bill C-30 also provides new legislation to help police intervene and investigate cyber bullying in their early stages to prevent needless tragedy. The Bill makes it an offence to use telecommunications, including social media and the Internet, to injure, alarm, and harass others.”

It is striking that the government never mentioned cyber-bullying when it introduced Bill C-30 – not in the press release, the backgrounder, or the myths document. That is because the bill has little to do with cyber-bullying. The attempt to raise it as a justification for Internet surveillance demonstrates yet again how proponents of the bill have failed to muster compelling evidence to support the bill and instead rely on headline-grabbing claims that have minimal connection to the actual proposed  legislation.


  1. Well said Michael.
    Funny how the CBC has a heart-string-pulling cyber-bullying story with comments disabled at the same time as their story noting the renewed push from the chiefs with the comments clearly against C-30.

    There are many tragic things in life that are uncomfortable, annoying, etc, and cyber-bullying is one of them, but that’s no reason to give away your rights. People need to learn to protect yourself online, not unleash big brother.

    Due process is not optional.

  2. MadClownDisease says:

    Stop people from being abusive?
    People need to learn that if they don’t like the content they are being exposed to they can turn off their cell phone, computer, etc. Maybe even try their hand at interacting with people face to face.

    This will be a tough lesson for humanity to learn. People may even die.

    But if we don’t learn it: are we being suckled into never unplugging from the media network. Then big brother has complete control.

  3. Why is it looking like our police our trying
    to help turn this country into a “police State”?

    There is already a law in place to go after online
    peds. If Bill C-30 does more to protect children
    and teens from cyber bullying, then I’m all for it.

    However, It’s all to evident that there’s more
    freedom costing, draconian measures that would
    cost the average Canadian their own freedoms
    and anonymity online.

    Take the latter two out, leaving this Bill C-30
    a bill just to prosecute pedophiles and online
    bullies, than this Bill could pass with no qualms
    from myself.

  4. David Collier-Brown says:

    There are real problems, but this is off-target
    I fear the authors and supporters of the bill are too close to the problem, and keep trying the same thing, over and over, expecting somehow to get public support for loosening of our privacy and security laws.

    There are cases where legislative action is appropriate: if one is the victim of an on-line crime, such as fraud or bullying, the police should be able to get in touch with you. However, this can be done by an ISP being enabled or required to give notice, or conceivably our “good samaritan” laws could be changed to allow a police officer or suicide councillor to contact a bullied child first and seek permission for continuing contact later.


  5. Internet snooping, a done deal.
    Canada has become a, putrid cesspool of corruption. Especially since Harper’s so called majority. We know Harper cheated to win the election, with the robo-call election fraud. We know Harper cheated his way out of, the Etobicoke being declared null and void. Harper was scared to death, he may lose his majority, he cheated so hard to get. New appointed Conservative judges, you see. Harper’s robo-call scam, is also being cheated. Harper will lie his way out of that one too.

    Once a country becomes, Fascist, Communist, dictatorship, ruled by a tyrant, the country has been lost and now is gone. VPD were caught, watching porn on the computers in their detachment. Police hate it, when their crimes are exposed on the internet. They want it the way it used to be. The days when they were permitted to lie and cover up for each other, were Heaven for them. Police in BC were actually let off murder, by the judicial system. All politicians need to get away with their crimes is, a special prosecutor.

    It’s Harper who wants the internet for the everyday person, GONE. Harper absolutely hates it when, his dastardly deeds are exposed on the internet. He now does most of his dirty work behind closed doors.

  6. Crime, abuse, predators … these are all problems within our society, the internet did not invent them. Nevertheless, the technology does give an extended reach as well as some forms of anonymity that was previously difficult.

    Having said that, police cannot tap your phone or open your mail without cause or due process so why are they asking for those powers now just because the medium has changed? Are we really willing to trade our rights and freedoms, a strong basis for our western democracy, on the mantel of expediency?

    I am grieved, along with many others, over events such as suicide or abuse but these are not regulated to just the online sphere. We need to use current laws or possibly craft new ones to handle the unique aspects of the online world, but these laws should be based on the principles we already enjoy. Yes, a warrant is a cumbersome step for those involved in police work, but it is a necessary counterpoint to unfettered state intrusion. I have heard of complaints to lack of resources to timely acquire a warrant, well the simple solution to that is to increase the resources not decrease the rights. If bullying and abuse is as major problem then by all means lets make those resources available, but a blank cheque like Bill C-30 was just too loose a solution. History and human nature has shown that a system for good can just as easily be corrupted, let’s not start off by leaving the gate open.

  7. Hypocrisy of the CPAC’s video…
    It’s all fine and dandy to show good cop, dad like figures to explain in a soothing tone why we need to be snooped upon.

    The problem with the approach, is they allow NO comments from the public and NO rating. That should say it all.

    Some good advice to the Police Chiefs (and as strange as it may seem, I actually support our police force): If you want to REALLY help the public like you say you want, RESPECT THE LAW OF THE LAND AND GET A WARRANT! If you want to get a warrant faster, WORK WITH THE LEGAL SYSTEM, they are already plenty of measures in place to deliver warrants in a speedy manner.

  8. Attack Warranted says:

    Idiocity on a grand scale
    They already have the power to wiretap – provided they get a warrant. They’ve been warned by the public about potential peds – and ignored the warnings. Then, they not only DON’T get a warrant, they DEMAND that they can spy on US because THE PEDS THEY IGNORED ARE STILL AT LARGE.

    Hubris so loud I’m shocked I can still hear.

    It’s sheer idiocy to ignore the public and then demand to spy on the public because the police weren’t doing their jobs with the tools they have. Madness.

  9. Peter Hillier says:

    CISM, MD Physician Services Inc.
    Incredible how they use the flavour of the day, CyberBullying, as the spin for unlawful access! Where were they 12 years ago when many of us were trying to get their support to mitigate risks around the subject?

  10. Brenton Trenholm says:

    IMSI or IMEI catcher
    I heard that the Vancouver Police Department is one of a few police departments which made a purchase from Dyplex Communications Ltd regarding Datong products. These products are suppose to be able to record a user’s imsi/imei. This of course has implications regarding privacy and regulations for its use.

    I wonder if one of the reasons the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police is pushing for Bill C-30 is to legitimize its use.

  11. James Beaman says:

    Internet surveillance without a warrant
    Given the frequency with which politicians are caught in embarrassing situations (witness Vic Toeves in the last iteration with revelations about his private life), this bill should give them pause as to their own vulnerabilities. If there is no judicial oversight of information gathering by police or civilian agencies, it could lead to a perversion of our political system as pressure could be exerted on politicians to shape policy and legislation in favour of the holders of the sensitive information. Extend this to business leaders and the average citizen. We could wind up in a country run effectively by the surveillors rather than the surveilled.

    It is technically feasible for computers to filter every email,voice mail and even phone calls and flag those of interest to those watching. This is done every day by governments in defense against terrorism. Imagine turning that against a civilian population without judicial oversight.

    The focus of the legislation and those promoting it is on illegal behaviour. But as every adult knows, there is always something in our private lives that we would prefer others not know about. The potential for embarrassment is a compelling motivator. Bill Clinton was not impeached for what he did in private, but for lying about it. Enabling warrantless surveillance of individuals provides opportunity for the information gatherers to blackmail and influence with virtual impunity. “Do this or the information will be leaked anonymously on-line and ruin your reputation”.

  12. Canada Resurrects Vampire—bill C-30 That Will Suck Internet Freedom Dry
    Can Canadians Hold Out Against Their Government’s Forceful Efforts to Wiretap Their Lives?

    The Obama Government also wants the power (without a warrant) to introduce as evidence in U.S. Civil; Criminal and Administrative prosecutions any phone call record, email or Internet activity.

    U.S. Expanding Cross-border Police Integration With Canada & Asset Forfeiture Sharing.

    Concurrent with Obama’s proposed law legalizing and expanding cross-border police integration in North America, Canadians earlier this year discovered introduced (Commons Bill C-30) touted to protect children on the Internet—would also give any Canadian police officer—without a warrant—the power to request Internet service providers turn over customers’ information (see section 17 of C-30); allow Canadian police to seek into Canadians’ private computers. C-30 was strongly opposed by Canadians in April 2012. Canadians further discovered Canada had signed with the United States an array of (Asset Forfeiture Sharing Agreements) for Canada to share Canadian and Americans assets civilly or criminally confiscated using Asset Forfeiture laws that resulted from U.S. and Canada sharing information gleaned from electronic surveillance of Canadian and American Citizens’ communications, e.g., emails, faxes, Internet actively, phone records. Compare: The Obama Government wants the power (without a warrant) to introduce as evidence in U.S. Civil; Criminal and Administrative prosecutions any phone call record, email or Internet activity. Police can take out of context any innocent—hastily written email, fax or phone call record to allege a crime or violation was committed to cause a person’s arrest, fines and or civil asset forfeiture of their property. There are more than 350 laws/violations that can subject property to Government forfeiture that require only a civil preponderance of evidence.The U.S. “Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000” (effectively eliminated) the “five year statue of limitations” for Government Civil Asset Forfeiture: the statute now runs five years (from the date) government or a police agency allege they “learned” an asset became subject to forfeiture. It is foreseeable should (no warrant) government electronic surveillance be allowed; police will relentlessly sift through business and Citizens’ (government retained Internet data), emails and phone communications to discover possible criminal or civil violations.

    History Repeats: A corrupt or despot U.S. Government/Agency can too easily use no-warrant—(seized emails, Internet data and phone call information) to blackmail Americans, corporations and others in the same manner Hitler used his police state (no warrant) passed laws to extort support for the Nazi fascist government, including getting members of German parliament to pass Hitler’s 1933 Discriminatory Decrees that suspended the Constitutional Freedoms of German Citizens. A Nazi Government threat of Asset Forfeiture of an individual or corporation’s assets was usually sufficient to ensure Nazi support.

    Under U.S. federal civil asset forfeiture laws, a person or business need not be charged with a crime for government to forfeit their property. Most U.S. Citizens, property and business owners that defend their assets against Government Civil Asset Forfeiture claim an “innocent owner defense.” This defense can become a criminal prosecution trap for both guilty and innocent property owners. Any fresh denial of guilt made to government when questioned about committing a crime “even when you did not do the crime” may (involuntarily waive) a defendant’s right to assert in their defense—the “Criminal Statute of Limitations” past for prosecution; any fresh denial of guilt even 30 years after a crime was committed may allow U.S. Government prosecutors to use old and new evidence, including information discovered during Civil Asset Forfeiture Proceedings to launch a criminal prosecution. For that reason: many innocent Americans, property and business owners are reluctant to defend their property and businesses against Government Civil Asset Forfeiture.

    Annually U.S. Government seizes Billions in assets without filing criminal charges.

    Increasingly local police are turning their criminal investigations over to Federal Agencies to receive an 80% rebate of forfeited assets. Federal Government is not required to charge anyone with a crime to forfeit property.

    Re: waiving Criminal Statute of Limitations: see USC18, Sec.1001, James Brogan V. United States. N0.96-1579. U.S. See paragraph (6) at: