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Madison Ruppert, Contributor
For those who think that certain countries are somehow immune to the sweeping cancer that is the total erosion of privacy and our most essential rights, that myth should be at least partially swept away by the fact that the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs is calling on the government there to pass a controversial Internet surveillance bill.
Indeed, this trend very well could go global with the United Nations calling for worldwide Internet surveillance and data retention laws, thus going far beyond the current system in place in the United States.
Unsurprisingly, the push is being carried out under the guise of fighting crime, evidenced by the arguments the president of the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs and Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu.
Chu says that if the bill, known as Bill C-30, fails to be passed, “officers investigating criminal activity on cellphones and the Internet will still have to get a warrant every time they want to intercept communications by cybercriminals,” according to the CBC.
“Law enforcement continues to be handcuffed by legislation introduced in 1975, the days of the rotary telephone,” said Chu.
This argument is almost identical to that used across the United States. The typical claim is that warrants take too long to obtain and that law enforcement is held back by the Constitution.
Bill C-30 dates back to last winter when it was introduced by Vic Toews, the Canadian public safety minister. As the CBC rightly points out, Bill C-30 immediately was questioned by groups concerned with the disturbing powers it would give the Canadian government “to track the ordinary activities of citizens online without judicial oversight.”
If anyone wants to know how well such a strategy works, just take a look at the United States. While it is regularly claimed that such legislation in no way infringes on our rights or that we should be content with giving up said rights in the name of safety, such assertions are clearly without merit.
Unsurprisingly, Chu claims it is not actually about spying but about getting information from telecommunications companies in a timely manner.
“If we don’t take a strong stance on this issue Canadians won’t appreciate the limitations that constrain law enforcement in the cyberworld,” claimed Chu, according to the CBC.
If Bill C-30 passes, providers of Internet and cellphone services will be forced to release the name, address, phone number, email and IP information of targeted individuals to police whenever requested.
While this might seem fine in principle to some, the problem is that there is no oversight whatsoever. Allowing this type of legislation to pass just opens the door to more freedom-crushing bills in the future.
“Like the chief said, I can tell you right now there are gangsters out there communicating about killing someone and we can’t intercept that,” said Vancouver deputy police chief Warren Lemcke.
“Section 34 of the bill essentially would give any government appointed agents, who may or may not be a police or intelligence officer, the right to access and copy any information and documentation collected by Internet providers and telecommunications companies, without the need for a warrant, judicial oversight or even a criminal investigation,” according to the CBC.
Keep in mind, the CBC is hardly an organization that would bend the facts in an attempt to shut down such legislation. After all, they are the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the government-owned national public broadcaster of Canada equivalent to the BBC in the United Kingdom.
To make Bill C-30 even more disturbing, it would also require telecommunications companies to install surveillance hardware and software which allows the government to gather and monitor both phone and Internet communications.
Even Chu seems to be concerned with Section 34 of Bill C-30.
“While the CACP endorses Bill C-30, we would like to make it clear there is one part of the bill that has posed concerns to some and we share that concern,” said Chu.
“It is easy to understand why some might conclude from that wording that inspectors would have unfettered access to Canadians’ personal records when doing these inspections,” Chu continued. “While we realize that’s not the intention of this section, this must be clarified.”
For those who see those statements as somehow vindicating, I highly suggest you take a look at similar claims made in other nations like the United States.
Unfortunately such calls for “clarification” are hardly ever actually carried out. A phenomenal example would be the U.S. National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012 and specifically the indefinite detention provisions which were shot down by a federal judge only to be reinstated almost immediately by a judge appointed by Obama.
Why would anyone think that Canada would somehow be immune to this vicious assault on our most essential liberties?
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This article first appeared at End the Lie.