New law to give police access to online exchanges
Canadians will be under surveillance, critics charge
— The Conservative government is preparing sweeping new eavesdropping
legislation that will force Internet service providers to let police tap
exchanges on their systems - but will likely reignite fear that Big Brother
will be monitoring the private conversations of Canadians.
The goal of the
move, which would require police to obtain court approval, is to close what
has been described as digital "safe havens" for criminals, pedophiles and
terrorists because current eavesdropping laws were written in a time before
text messages, Facebook and voice-over-Internet phone lines.
The change is certain to please the RCMP and other police forces, who
have sought it for some time. But it is expected to face resistance from
industry players concerned about the cost and civil libertarians who warn
the powers will effectively place Canadians under constant surveillance.
Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan confirmed the plan yesterday during
an appearance before a House of Commons committee and offered further
"We have legislation covering wiretap and surveillance that was designed for
the era of the rotary phone," Mr. Van Loan said.
"If somebody's engaging in illegal activities on the Internet, whether it be
exploitation of children, distributing illegal child pornography, conducting
some kind of fraud, simple things like getting username and address should be
fairly standard, simple practice. We need to provide police with tools to be
able to get that information so that they can carry out these investigations."
Mr. Van Loan said there have been situations where the police want to act
quickly to stop a crime, but can't because of the current laws.
"In some of these cases, time is of the essence," he said. "If you find a
situation where a child is being exploited live online at that time - and that
situation has arisen before - police services have had good co-operation with a
lot of Internet service providers, but there are some that aren't so
Although police agencies have been calling for such a law since at least the
mid-1990s, this would be the first legislative effort in this direction by the
The reaction can be predicted, however, because Paul Martin's Liberal
government faced stiff resistance when his public safety minister, Anne
McLellan, introduced a "lawful-access" bill in November, 2005, shortly before
that government was defeated.
The Conservative justice critic at the time, Peter MacKay, who is now in the
Conservative cabinet, expressed concern with the bill, and Privacy Commissioner
Jennifer Stoddart went further, saying there was no justification for such a
The concern of critics is that unlike a traditional wiretap that cannot
commence without judicial approval, lawful-access legislation in other countries
has forced Internet providers to routinely gather and store the electronic
traffic of their clients. Those stored data can then be obtained by police via
"That means we're under surveillance, in some sense, all the time," said
Richard Rosenberg, president of the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy
Association. "I think that changes the whole nature of how we view innocence in
a democratic society."
RCMP Commissioner William Elliott said yesterday the lack of such legislation
is causing problems for police.
"We're speaking generally about the development of technology that is
difficult or impossible to wiretap," Mr. Elliott said after appearing alongside
Mr. Van Loan at the House of Commons Public Safety and National Security
"In the old days, for a wiretap it was pretty simple. You sort of clicked
onto the physical wires. So we have some instances where the court authorizes us
and other police forces, for example, to intercept communications, but we don't
have the technical ability to do that. So certainly the RCMP is supportive of
changes of legislation that would allow those kind of intercepts."
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
Ottawa Mens Centre.com, from Ottawa Capital of male gender apartheid,
Canada) wrote: Right now, our courts make political not legal
decisions, being politically incorrect can land you indefinitely in jail without
a trial in Canada, thats right, just appear before Justice Allan Sheffield or
Denis Power and you too could end up in jail, without a trial, these two judges
"strike pleadings" issue "vexatious litigant orders" and, make orders for child
support without any evidence of income, and order massive security for costs to
prevent their orders being varied or appealed.
Corrupt Judges only have to be seen "angry" at someone for the police to get the
hint and go after that politically incorrect person.
In Canada, you can suddenly find your home invaded by scores of police officers,
your computer and every written note seized, not because you a threat to
national security but because you dared to say that a judge is corrupt. One such
judge is the Dishonourable Richard Lajoie now of Ottawa formerly of the corrupt
City of Timmins with its corrupt Timmins Police Force. www.OttawaMensCentre.com