Bye, bye, privacy. Canada introduces online-spying bill



Move over, SOPA and say your prayers, PIPA. There’s a new bill in the works that, if passed, will pull the plug on how the Internet is used in Canada.

Lawmakers in the Great White North are debating a bill that will pulverize what’s left of online privacy for Canucks.

The Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act (Bill C-51) is legislation that isn’t new to Canadian Parliament, but after a series of additions and other changes, lawmakers there are expected to begin discussion on it this week. If passed, law enforcement there will be able to monitor all Internet and telephone activity from anyone, anywhere in the country, without having to obtain a warrant.

According to the Calgary Herald out of the province of Alberta, a Conservative-majority government is likely to pass the bill.

Vic Toews, Canada’s minister of public safety, thinks the bill is necessary for the welfare of the nation. “We are proposing to bring to measure, to bring laws into the twenty-first century and provide police with the lawful tools that they need,” he pleads.

Opponents of Toews, however, say that the bill will do far more harm than good.

“I know the criminal justice system is constantly looking for information about criminals, child pornographers etc, but at the same time it seems like an invasion of everyone’s personal information,” University student Jared Exner tells CTV. He’s used the Internet his whole life and is aware of legislation already in place to thwart such things as child pornography. If Bill C-51 is passed, however, anyone operating on the Web or on a mobile device in Canada will be subject to instantaneous, no-questions-asked surveillance.

Towes insists that it’s an issue that’s either black or white. Canadians, says the minister, “can either stand with us or with the child pornographers.”

In an earlier form, the bill died in Parliament along with a provision that allowed “warrantless access” for authorities. A campaign managed to help kill that addendum, but it is back once again. If passed, authorities will be able to view anything, anytime, and some fear that it was install Big Brother over all too broad of a medium.

“It could include anything from email addresses to IP addresses and cellphone-identified numbers,” University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist tells the Winnipeg Free Press. “The ability to use that kind of information in a highly sensitive way without any real oversight is very real.”

By forcing Internet and cell providers to handle IP addresses, profiles can be constructed of any Canuck that details practically every move they make online. Geist thinks of that as way too encompassing of a regulation and questions why it is even needed.

“One thing (the government) has never provided is the evidence to show how the current set of laws has stymied investigations or created a significant barrier to ensure that we’re safe in Canada,” he adds.

Others fear that if Canadian officials have the power to monitor in real-time without warrants, the all-watching eye will seemingly cease civil liberties.

“How can we trust them not to use private information to intimidate law abiding Canadians to protest a pipeline, or protest pension cut?” asks Francis Scarpaleggia, a Liberal MP for Lac-Saint-Loius. Like Exner, Scarpaleggia is opposed to the bill. New Democratic Party member and digital critic Charlie Angus also is against it, and warns Parliament that, if passed, it will turn each Canadian’s cell-phone into “an electronic prisoner’s bracelet.”

“I say to Vic Toews, ‘Stop hiding behind the boogey man. Stop using the boogey man to attack the basic rights of Canadian citizens,’” adds Angus. “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?”

Nearly 100,000 Canadians have so far signed a “stop online spying” petition started by, a net neutrality lobby group.

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3 Responses

  1. Archie1954 says:

    This shows Harper’s extremist right wing fascism for all to see.

  2. Johnny Canuk says:

    An open letter to the Canadian Government

    As a Canadian citizen who last voted Conservative, I am almost in a state of disbelieve upon hearing the details of the Conservative governments new “Online Surveillance Bill” Bill C-51.

    In the past, I have allowed myself to believe that much of our various governments right-stripping legislations although misguided, and largely unjust, were created with the intentions of “protecting” the Canadian public, or garnering votes. This new proposed legislation however makes it impossible to ascribe any such motives, no matter how much I might like to believe so.

    Bill C-51 is nothing less than the death of any expectation of freedom or privacy in the former free country of Canada. To try and deceive the Canadian public, gullible as we have so far been into believing that this bill is in any way designed for our own protection, just demonstrates how much we have allowed our governments to get away with.

    This bill is about as much directed against pedophiles as the GST was directed against terrorism.

    What this bill is so transparently directed toward, it the goal of controlling the population of Canada, through pervasive surveillance, the end of being able to write or think for yourself without the Government being able to data mine, tabulate, and influence it’s own citizens.

    How many pedophiles do you think are out there, and what other measures have you considered?

    I anticipate the “If it saves just one child it’s worth it” response. So, ban alcohol. If it saves one life isn’t it worth it? how many children’s lives have been destroyed by alcohol? More than have been preyed upon by pedophiles certainly. But the government realizes revenue from alcohol, and the majority of users do not abuse it by driving impaired, or going home drunk and beating their partners or children or spending their money on booze instead of providing for their children. The majority of internet users are not pedophiles.

    Ask the police what they see more of in the course of their duties, internet child porn, or families torn apart by alcohol. Don’t any of you dare use the “save one it’s worth it excuse”.

    What did the child pornographers do before the internet? Are you going to tell the Canadian public that there was no kiddie porn before the net? Perhaps that the net created child pornography? While I have no direct knowledge, I submit to you that it DID exist before the net. Probably using the Canadian Postal Service. So, after spending billions, implementing C-51, the pedophiles will likely once again use the mail. So what then? Have all postal communication opened, logged, scanned and databased? After all, if it saves even one….

    No, nobody in this country believes for a second that C-51 is about your government protecting children.

    The police already have the ability to obtain all the information C-51 portends to provide them. Warrants are almost never denied the police.

    C-51 however means that the police will not be accountable for singling out citizens, with no accountability. No need for “just cause”, now it will be “just cuz”!

    Where does it stop? you want to tap into our cell phones without warrant, and listen to us in our vehicles without warrant.

    Again, I anticipate the response: “Why do you care if you have nothing to hide”

    Well for all the whining the police make about the Charter protecting an accused through the right not to make a statement, it is of note that no criminally accused police officers, or any of their “police associations” lead by example, and compel accused officers to make a statement. A bit of a double-standard don’t you think?

    So, if you have done nothing wrong, and have nothing to hide, then why don’t the members of this government publish their email addresses, and passcodes, allow the Canadian public to monitor their cell phones and listen to their conversations in their vehicles through Onstar?

    You don’t expect us to allow you to kill freedom and privacy without you leading by example do you? Or do you have something to hide? Maybe your office and home phones should be monitored as well.

    I remember what our Grandfathers fought and died for in the last world war. Freedom.

    There is no motive I can see other than a level of mass surveillance and control that Hitler and Stalin would come back from their respective graves for. Come to think of it, maybe they have.

    If it were not for a free internet, recent events in the middle east, Tunisia, Egypt and Libya might well not have occurred, certainly the memory of Mubark, and the ghost of Gaddafi are smiling upon your efforts. If they had only your level of insidious malevolence, they would surely still be in power, their security forces “protecting the people” from terrorists and pedophiles. In this light, your motives become sickeningly transparent.

    I believe in the right to be free from unreasonable government interference.

    I am willing to die for what I believe in. Freedom. Exactly like the Canadian Government asked my Grandfather to do.

    Do you believe in what you are doing? Really believe that spying on Canadians is the only course worth pursuing? Enough to die for? I’ll bet not. Shame on you all. You have shown me, and the rest of the Canadian people who have eyes what you stand for. Most pedophiles only abuse a few children. Your government wants to molest them all.

    Heil Harper!

    Sieg Heil!


    • vuzz47229 says:

      johnny here here and believe me we are all standing right here on guard for canada its just to bad that there is only a percentage of people in our country that have the same brain power and moral fortitude right wing fudamental head cases have control of our canada and may all end up haveing a revolt the question is when will canada wake up and smell the horse pucky it may take it to be rubbed right in our faces when they cart off gramma because she told some A hole minister he was a crook of course we will have to take over the country with harsh profanity as the have taken all the guns as well as our freedom

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