Archive for November 20th, 2013

Lawful Access is Back: Controversial Bill Returns Under the Guise of Cyber-Bullying Legislation

In February 2012, then-Public Safety Minister Vic Toews introduced Bill C-30, the “Protecting Children From Internet Predators Act“. While the government marketed the bill as an attempt to protect children from Internet predators (and infamously accused opponents of siding with child pornographers), it soon became readily apparent that the bill was really about adopting a wide range of measures that increased police powers, stripped away privacy rights, and increased Internet surveillance. The overwhelming negative publicity led the government to put the bill on hold. Earlier this year, then-Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announced that Bill C-30 was dead:

We will not be proceeding with Bill C-30 and any attempts that we will continue to have to modernize the Criminal Code will not contain the measures contained in C-30, including the warrantless mandatory disclosure of basic subscriber information or the requirement for telecommunications service providers to build intercept capability within their systems. We’ve listened to the concerns of Canadians who have been very clear on this and responding to that.

Nicholson’s commitment lasted less than a year (the same was true on lawful access in 2007, when Stockwell Day promised no warrantless access to subscriber information only to have Peter Van Loan backtrack a year and a half later). Yesterday, Peter MacKay, the new Justice Minister, unveiled Bill C-13, the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act. The similarly-named bill is now marketed as an effort to crack-down cyber-bullying, yet the vast majority of the bill simply brings back many (though not all) lawful access provisions.

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November 20, 2013 36 comments News