Lawful Access: Canadian Spying Bill Debated in Parliament
Lawful Access: Canadian Domestic Spying
The "lawful access" legislation, which would broadly expand the domestic spying powers of Canadian police and government agencies, is being tabled in the House of Commons on February 14, 2012.
The bill, C-30, was given the scaremongering title "Protecting children from Internet predators act", despite its being painfully vague on how it will protect anyone from anything. Indeed, even Toews and other C-30 proponents cannot come up with a single instance of a Canadian police investigation that failed due to a lack of snooping powers.
The full text of C-30 appears at the bottom of this story.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews (who thinks that the internet is the same thing as a phone book) is at it again. This time, he accuses privacy advocates of siding with child pornographers. Here are Toews' exact words when addressing the concerns of Liberal critic Francis Scarpalaggia:
"He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers."
Now, if Vic Toews really believes that a person who doesn't want the police to be able to track her every move at its whim is the same as a sexual predator, then he's simply in the wrong job. Someone with that weak a grasp of the issues surrounding government encroachment on private life has no business being a federal minister.
Since Vic Toews somehow made it through law school, though, we can presume (or at least hope) that he's just running his mouth. However, Toews is running his mouth for a specific reason: to quash debate over a legislation package with flaws as obvious as they are fundamental.
The main flaws with "lawful access" legislation contained in C-30:
- No proven need for this legislation in the first place. The police have absolutely no reason to know where you are as you read this.
- The new laws are tailor-made for abuse. Ask anyone who lives in Iran, the UK, and USA about how wisely government and police bodies use unfettered access to their lives. Canada arguably has a police-power crisis as it is. Note that Stephen Harper's government has been busy painting environmentalists as a "terrorist threat", and law enforcement groups made a habit of badgering local activists ahead of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.
- The proposed structure is inherently insecure: creating backdoors in a network for simultaneous third-party access in the name of "security" is like fucking for virginity.
- If you're forcing private telecoms to become agents of the state, you can no longer call yourself a democracy.
The NDP's Charlie Angus also called bullshit on Vic Toews' nonsensical statement, which too many outlets published unchallenged:
“I say to Vic Toews, ‘Stop hiding behind the boogey man. Stop using the boogey man to attack the basic rights of Canadian citizens.’ Is Vic Toews saying that Stockwell Day supports child pornography? Is Vic Toews saying that every privacy commissioner in this country who has raised concerns about this government’s attempt to erase the basic obligation to get a judicial warrant, is he saying that they’re for child pornography?”
Here it is, Bill C-30, aka "Lawful Access". Read it for yourself, and also check out the BC Civil Liberty Association's analysis: Moving Toward a Surveillance Society.