The Conservative Government wishes to re-introduce legislation enabling law enforcement to access online communications without a warrant.
They believe that this would help them combat terrorism and crime. But unfortunately they may rely on internet providers to retain information on their behalf, which could be costly for the consumer because the internet providers would require more equipment and personel to do so.
In searching for illicit activity online our internet providers will be required to store vast amounts of information and these extra expendatures will be passed down to their subscribers.
According to a 2002 Statistics Canada report, law enforcement are hindered by the use of pseunomyms, anonymous remailers, dial-up connections and public wi-fi.
One can only imagine how much information would be required to keep track of suspects that use “public Internet stations in airports, bus depots, libraries, cyber-cafés and convenience stores” alone, examples mentioned in the report.
Anyone using any of the above mentioned services would have their information catalogued and accessible for cross referencing and analysis, which is not only a burden on resources at the internet providers but may result in a violation of our privacy laws according to the Office Of The Privacy Commissioner Of Canada.
In an October 27th, 2009 letter to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, the Privacy Commissioner stated :
“Though isolated anecdotes abound, and extreme incidents are generally referred to, no systematic case has yet been made that demonstrates a need to circumvent the current legal regime for judicial authorization to obtain personal information. Before all else, law enforcement and national security authorities need to explain how the current provisions on judicial warrants do not meet their needs.”
The aforementioned 2002 Statistics Canada report may claim a lack of standard in cybercrime statistics, possibly resulting in a lack of classification or reporting of these crimes. But crime in Canada is down according to this June 2011 Statistics Canada report.
These costly, potentially insecure systems, are not required. Law enforcement has managed quite well with the current regulations, even with their limited manpower, and the flood of information will probably overwhelm them requiring costly automation.
This is, in my opinion, not the way to go. And this is why i’ve signed the following Openmedia.ca petition :
Please sign the above petition and contact your local Member of Parliament about this issue as soon as possible, preferably before September 19th. Thank you.