Friday, June 19, 2009

Opposition lines up vs. Conservative internet eavesdropping bill

Yesterday demonstrated that the Conservative proposal to allow police to "...collect information about Canadian Internet users without a warrant" will meet stiff opposition. It's viewed by many as overreaching. Expert and political opposition staked out the criticism yesterday:
“Nobody wants to create roadblocks for law enforcement, but there has been no evidence put forward that the current system has created any barriers, and I think it raises real concern where there is potential for abuse,” said Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa who holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and e-commerce law. “That's why you have court oversight.”

Mr. Geist noted that some major police investigations in the past few years – including the arrest of 18 Toronto-area terrorism suspects in 2006 – was very much dependent on the Internet, and progressed even under current legislation.
Liberal MP and public safety critic Mark Holland said police have to be able to keep up with criminals using new technologies, but added that any legislation must also weigh the impact on Canadians' privacy.

“It can't be used ... to randomly go through people's Internet and e-mail records trolling for things,” he said. “That raises all kinds of concerns.”
Yes it does, particularly with this government's record in not respecting citizens' Charter rights. Their trust quotient on such issues has expired.

If this bill ever advances, the above opposition will likely be bolstered by vocal, ahem, online voices. Count on it.