Sunday, February 19, 2012

Vic Toews surprised by contents of his own surveillance bill

Vic Toews the Canadian Public Safety Minister has faced a harsh backlash over his own Conservative government's Bill C-30, a bill that would require internet service providers to turn over client information to law enforcement authorities without a warrant. Given that this is a prized Conservative bill one would think that the minister would know what was in it.

Toews was surprised by a section that in exceptional circumstances allows any police officer to request information about a customer from a service provider. Toews thought that such a request could only be made as part of a specific criminal investigation. Obviously the bill gives powers much more extensive than that.

Provincial Privacy Commissioners have been highly critical of the bill. The billl is called the 'Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act' even though the title is the only place where that issue is mentioned! This is pure political spin meant to take advantage at public revulsion over child predators roaming the internet.

Toews confirmed the bill will be sent to committee before second reading, which he said will allow for the opportunity to amend the bill beyond its original scope. The minister says that the opposition is welcome to present amendments but it remains to be seen how many if any the Conservative majority allows to pass. For much more see this article in the CBC.

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