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Canadian Government Introduces Mandatory ISP Level Surveillance Legislation

Canadian Government Introduces Mandatory ISP Level Surveillance Legislation

It’s a kind of surveillance that will involve absolutely no court oversight. If the past lawful access consultations were anything to go by, it seems that the Canadian government is directly defying the wishes of Canadians.

Michael Geist already has a review of the legislation. The new lawful access legislation is known as Investigative Powers for the 21st Century (IP21C). In a nutshell, this legislation allows police to bi-pass any hint or inclination of privacy and be allowed unfettered access to what you are doing online.

In terms of the actual ISP surveillance requirements. ISPs would be forced to install surveillance technology on their networks. Small ISPs would have a three year reprieve before they are forced to install similar technology as well. Additionally, ISPs would be forced to surrender their customer information and any identifying information about them on request. This would bi-pass the court system as no court order would be required to get ISPs to give up any personally identifiable information about them. What police are able to collect appears to follow the British proposed model where police won’t be able to see the contents of any communication, but who you are talking to, when and any other data regarding that communication along with what websites you visit, etc.

ISPs would additionally be forced to retain all data on its networks (it’s unclear for how long). Another provision is that it allows the police to obtain a tracking warrant (vaguely similar to the French model) that would allow police to remotely activate any tracking technology embedded into technology (such as recording cell phone conversations)

The legislation hasn’t been posted online yet, but a press release from the Public Safety Office confirms this legislation has been tabled.

“Evolving communications technologies like the Internet, cell phones, and PDAs (personal digital assistants) clearly benefit Canadians in their day-to-day lives,” said Minister Nicholson. “Unfortunately, these technologies have also provided new ways of committing crimes such as distributing child pornography. We must ensure investigators have the necessary powers to trace and ultimately stop crimes.”

“We must provide our law enforcement with the tools they need to keep our communities safe,” said Minister Van Loan. “High tech criminals will be met by high tech police. This is a great day for the victims and their families who have been long calling for these legislative changes, and those who work tirelessly every day to ensure that when there is a threat to safety police can intervene quickly.”

The press release also says, “Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Sweden, already have similar legislation in place.”

As if one press release wasn’t enough, here’s another one:

The interception of communications is essential for investigating and prosecuting serious crime and combating terrorism. Police forces and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) require lawful access to communications in a number of contexts, including investigations into child sexual abuse, organized crime, drug trafficking, and terrorism.

Police forces and CSIS also require timely access to basic subscriber information as it is an essential tool for fighting crime and terrorism. Subscriber information refers to basic identifiers such as name, address, telephone number and Internet Protocol (IP) address, e-mail address, service provider identification and certain cell phone identifiers. These basic identifiers are often crucial in the early stages of an investigation, and without this basic information, police forces and CSIS often reach a dead-end as they are unable to obtain sufficient information to pursue an investigative lead or obtain a warrant.

Currently, there is no legislation specifically designed to require the provision of this information to police forces and CSIS in a timely fashion. As a result, the practices of releasing this information to police forces and CSIS vary across the country: some service providers release this information to law enforcement immediately upon request; others provide it at their convenience, often following considerable delays; while others insist on law enforcement obtaining search warrants before the information is disclosed. This lack of national consistency and clarity can delay or block investigations.

What’s particularly damning about the information we have seen so far is what “crimes” could someone commit before an investigation is warranted? That doesn’t appear to be available at this point.

What happened the last time lawful access was introduced in Canada? Plenty of public discussion including a YouTube parody known as Emily of the State. There was no shortage of criticism against what is effectively warrantless wiretapping in Canada. What’s stunning is that, in spite of the public effectively saying no to such laws, the federal government seems intent on introducing such legislation anyway. What ensuing PR war this will bring is unclear, but history suggests that the government lost a lot of support last time. How they can spin this successfully to somehow be positive PR is a mystery at this point.

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Drew Wilson
Drew Wilson is perhaps one of the more well-known file-sharing and technology news writers around. A journalist in the field since 2005, his work has had semi-regular appearances on social news websites and even occasional appearances on major news outlets as well. Drew founded freezenet.ca and still contributes to ZeroPaid. Twitter | Google Plus
ken
ken

It all comes to this dictator steven, and by the time he's done that's what we will have, a dictatorship, and the fools who put them in are to blame.

Booke
Booke

If I am to believe the guise of "child pornography," this is akin to installing surveillance on every camera sold in Canada because they all have the potential of filming child pornography.

Frank Bank
Frank Bank

Moreover what's to stop the gov from accessing your information and then going one step further and reading your emails, listening in on skype calls, etc. Think it's not happening? I believe it is and I have proof.

Snoop
Snoop

It's funny how they always use "child pornography" excuse. They already have all neccessary legislative powers to catch those criminals. They simply want to spy on average people.

Nick Yeoman
Nick Yeoman

Yea conservatives! People voted for these idiots so that's must be what the majority wants. (We are all smart technical people so we see things differently). Anyway all this does is encourage me to quit my current ISP account and steal my neighbors wireless. This way they can get in trouble for whatever insane law the conservative government creates. I bet they are trying to outlaw Google cause they have links to links of copywritten content.

Det0nator
Det0nator

In the name of justice we are loosing our basic rights. Only a handle full of people recognize this while the rest of these mindless sheep wait for the slaughter.

Doug
Doug

Ok lets get to the real issue here. I cannot disagree that they need to track and find people involved in such crime. But are they not just backdooring this so they can start coming after the average canadian who is downloading music and movies? Lets get real. I as a Canadian do not want my privacy invaded. And no government should be able to mandate otherwise!

D.AN
D.AN

Damn this! No matter what the circumstance is, I refuse to allow any random human, authority or not, to access my online activities. Do those fools have any idea how many exploits and abuses this would introduce? This would allow the police interfere with private matters of the innocent. However not every officer is competent or trustworthy when omitting consideration of their titles. They should at least attempt to remove the root of these problems before unnecessarily involving those irrelevant. “Unfortunately, these technologies have also provided new ways of committing crimes such as distributing child pornography. We must ensure investigators have the necessary powers to trace and ultimately stop crimes.” But what crimes are the most prominent or exclusive to the Internet? What is the clear definition of 'child pornography' in the first place, as there have been widespread confusions about it? Will tracking every single user actually isolate real criminals without causing havoc? “Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Sweden, already have similar legislation in place.” Yet no mentioning of ongoing disputes. Finally, who is to say that criminals would unintentionally leave trails of their activities leading to them? What is the probability that they use their own computers, let alone their own Internet accesses?

Kris
Kris

My biggest concern, Whats to stop someone from impersonating a police officer and requesting the data and then using it for identity theft? I do agree however, we do need a consistent nationwide procedure and policy on how to request such data, and in what time frame an ISP has to respond, and then if their allowed to notify the individuals of such data request (once/if they've been cleared from investigation.) Then also, what sorts of 'crimes' would be considered applicable to the new list. Would they be allowed to prosecute for something they found, but was unrelated to the crime they were investigating? I'll be the first to admit, my life is filled with things, stuff, events and activities concidered "alternative", 'unconventional', and even "morally objectionable" to some of the more rightwing leftists out there who like to browbeat everyone with their bibles and holy books (while at the same time breaking so many of their own rules they try to beat us with), but anyways, Will I become an investigation under a corrupt 'vice squad' department head simply because they don't like people who enjoy the sensation of being flogged, or hot wax on the nipples. lol Its late, i'm tired, and government, no matter which party is in power, always does at least one stupid thing each session... maybe this will be it?

Jorge
Jorge

This does not sound good.

eric
eric

this is totally insane!!!

mountain_rage
mountain_rage

I'm bloody sick and tired of legislators, parents who failed their children, and hard liners using child pornography as an excuse to invade societies right to privacy. The governments around the world have gone nuts with power. Where the hell did the worlds value go, people used to believe in the protection of privacy. Its about time we start electing real leaders, ones that are not focused on a police state/money and interested in the betterment of society.

D.AN
D.AN

I guess my parents were on the right path when they said that they didn't want the conservatives to win the election a few years ago. It's quite ironic in a cosmic sort of way, to me at least.

D.AN
D.AN

It is the most inefficient and typical-to-come-up-with idea. Even though I have to agree that the real criminals that are taking advantage of the Internet do not deserve mercy, involving the innocent is one of the worst possible moves. I would like to see exactly what the thought processes were used and know who were involved....



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