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Friday, June 19, 2009

New Bill To Give Police Access To Personal Data Without Warrant

At a news conference in Ottawa yesterday, Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan announced new bills aimed at providing law enforcement virtually unrestricted access to information gathered by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) regarding their customers and their activities online.

According to this CBC article:

"One bill, announced by Van Loan, would require telecommunications and internet service providers to:

  • Install and maintain "intercept-capable" equipment on their networks.
  • Provide police with "timely access" to personal information about subscribers, including names, address and internet addresses, without the need for a warrant.

Van Loan said the bill won't provide new interception powers to police, but simply update the legal framework designed "in the era of the rotary telephone."

He noted that police can already get the authority to intercept communications, but the network is often incapable of allowing such interception."

In addition a second bill introduced would:

  • Allow law enforcement officials to obtain transmission data that is sent or received via telephone or internet if authorized by a production order or warrant
  • Require telecommunications companies to keep data related to specific communications or subscribers if that information is needed in an investigation and requested via a preservation order.
  • Make it a criminal offence for two or more people to agree to or arrange child sexual exploitation by means of telecommunications.
  • Modernize the system for tracking warrants.
I'm all for police getting the tools they need to combat crime, however, "without the need for a warrant." seems a little scary to me...