Thursday, June 18, 2009

Conservatives to introduce their internet eavesdropping bill today

There's another law and order bill being rolled out by the Conservatives today, it's not good: "Feds to give cops Internet-snooping powers."
Police will be given new powers to eavesdrop on Internet-based communications as part of a contentious government bill, to be announced Thursday, which Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan has said is needed to modernize surveillance laws crafted during "the era of the rotary phone."

The proposed legislation would force Internet service providers to allow law enforcement to tap into their systems to obtain information about users and their digital conversations.
A key issue here is that there's no warrant involved, no judicial check on a power that's ripe for abuse. That should be a must with this legislation and should be pushed for if it ever ends up before a committee. Even Stockwell Day had previously committed to the use of a warrant in connection with a previous iteration of this legislation. There is likely a need for some kind of legislation on this issue though, especially since a judge in Ontario opened this door anyway with a ruling earlier this year and it would be good for the opposition parties to argue in favour of reining that ruling in by instituting a warrant requirement.

But given that today will be the second last day of this sitting before the summer break, the legislation will be tabled so there are no guarantees that it will ever make it into law. They've been yapping about it for months yet introduce it on the second last day of the session. Way to go you serious law and order types! Something to keep in mind as you hear about this particular law and order dog and pony show.