Canada unveils new cyber monitoring rules

Feb 14, 2012
Canada's government Tuesday introduced a bill to give law enforcement authorities sweeping powers to probe online communications, but the move sparked criticism about threats to privacy.

Canada's government Tuesday introduced a bill to give law enforcement authorities sweeping powers to probe online communications, but the move sparked criticism about threats to privacy.

"New technologies provide new ways of committing crimes, making them more difficult to investigate," Justice Minister Rob Nicholson told a press conference in unveiling the measure.

"This legislation will enable authorities to keep pace with rapidly changing technology."

Opposition parties and civil liberties groups, however, said new police powers contained in the bill could result in unreasonable searches and seizures.

Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart, whose office is independent from the government, said in a letter to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews last October she had "deep concerns" about the proposed changes, which she said could have "serious repercussions for privacy rights."

"I recognize that rapid developments in communication technologies are creating new challenges for and national and that the Internet cannot be a lawless zone," Stoddart said.

But "by expanding the legal tools of the state to conduct surveillance and access private information, and by reducing the depth of judicial scrutiny... (the bill would allow the) government to subject more individuals to surveillance and scrutiny."

Further more it goes "far beyond simply maintaining investigative capacity or modernizing search powers. Rather, (it) added significant new capabilities for investigators to track, and search and seize digital information about individuals."

The legislation would require telecommunications service providers to set up systems that allow police or Canada's spy service to intercept communications as part of their investigations.

As well, they would be required to provide subscriber information to authorities and other data that would allow police to track suspects using a cell phone or a computer.

Toews in parliament insisted the newest draft of the bill balances law enforcement needs and privacy rights, but Stoddart's office told AFP her concerns remain.

Explore further: Most internet anonymity software leaks users' details

Related Stories

GPS court ruling leaves US phone tracking unclear

Feb 11, 2012

A US Supreme Court decision requiring a warrant to place a GPS device on the car of a criminal suspect leaves unresolved the bigger issue of police tracking using mobile phones, legal experts say.

British government backs down over database plan

Apr 27, 2009

(AP) -- The British government said Monday it wants communications companies to keep records of every phone call, e-mail and Web site visit made in the country. But it has decided not to set up a national database of the ...

FBI access to e-mail, Web data raises privacy fear

Jul 30, 2010

(AP) -- Invasion of privacy in the Internet age. Expanding the reach of law enforcement to snoop on e-mail traffic or on Web surfing. Those are among the criticisms being aimed at the FBI as it tries to update ...

US senators introduce online privacy 'bill of rights'

Apr 12, 2011

US senators John Kerry and John McCain introduced an online privacy bill Tuesday that seeks to strike a balance between protecting the personal information of Web users and the needs of businesses to conduct ...

Recommended for you

New approach to online compatibility

18 hours ago

Many of the online social networks match users with each other based on common keywords and assumed shared interests based on their activity. A new approach that could help users find new friends and contacts with a greater ...

Most internet anonymity software leaks users' details

Jun 29, 2015

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are legal and increasingly popular for individuals wanting to circumvent censorship, avoid mass surveillance or access geographically limited services like Netflix and BBC ...

WikiLeaks says NSA spied on French business

Jun 29, 2015

WikiLeaks has released documents that it says show that the U.S. National Security Agency eavesdropped on France's top finance officials and high-stakes French export bids over a decade in what the group called targeted economic ...

Google gets extended deadline to answer EU case

Jun 29, 2015

Brussels has given Google an extension until mid-August to answer an anti-trust case alleging that the tech giant abuses its search engine's market dominance, a company spokesman said Monday.

Facebook opens first Africa office

Jun 29, 2015

Facebook announced Monday it had opened its first African office in Johannesburg as part of its efforts "to help people and businesses connect" on the continent.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.