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<nettime> [resist-org] this affects us.

Subject: [resist-org] this affects us. seriously take a read

Will Canada's ISPs become spies?

By Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
August 27, 2002, 12:56 PM PT

WASHINGTON--The Canadian government is considering a proposal that would
force Internet providers to rewire their networks for easy surveillance by
police and spy agencies. A discussion draft released Sunday also
contemplates creating a national database of every Canadian with an
Internet account, a plan that could sharply curtail the right to be
anonymous online.

The Canadian government, including the Department of Justice and Industry
Canada, wrote the 21-page blueprint as a near-final step in a process that
seeks to give law enforcement agents more authority to conduct electronic
surveillance. A proposed law based on the discussion draft is expected to
be introduced in Parliament late this year or in early 2003.


Arguing that more and more communications take place in electronic form,
Canadian officials say such laws are necessary to fight terrorism and
combat even run-of-the-mill crimes. They also claim that by enacting these
proposals, Canada will be following its obligations under the Council of
Europe's cybercrime treaty, which the country is in the process of

If the discussion draft were to become law, it would outlaw the possession
of computer viruses, authorize police to order Internet providers to
retain logs of all Web browsing for up to six months, and permit police to
obtain a search warrant allowing them to find "hidden electronic and
digital devices" that a suspect might be concealing. In most
circumstances, a court order would be required for government agents to
conduct Internet monitoring.

Canada and the United States are nonvoting members of the Council of
Europe, and representatives from both countries' police agencies have
endorsed the controversial cybercrime treaty, which has drawn protests
from human rights activists and civil liberties groups. Of nearly 50
participating nations, only Albania has formally adopted, or ratified, the

Michael Geist, a professor at the University of Ottawa who specializes in
e-commerce law, says that the justification for adopting such sweeping
changes to Canadian law seems weak.

"It seems to me that the main justification they've given for all the
changes is that we want to ratify the cybercrime treaty and we need to
make changes," Geist said. "To me that's not a particularly convincing
argument. If there are new powers needed for law enforcement authority,
make that case."

Geist added that "there's nothing in the document that indicates (new
powers) are needed. I don't know that there have been a significant number
of cases where police have run into problems."

Probably the most sweeping change the legal blueprint contemplates is
compelling Internet providers and telephone companies to reconfigure their
networks to facilitate government eavesdropping and data-retention orders.
The United States has a similar requirement, called the Communications
Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, but it applies only to pre-Internet
telecommunications companies.

"It is proposed that all service providers (wireless, wireline and
Internet) be required to ensure that their systems have the technical
capability to provide lawful access to law enforcement and national
security agencies," according to the proposal. Companies would be
responsible for paying the costs of buying new equipment.

Sarah Andrews, an analyst at the Electronic Privacy Information Center
(EPIC) who specializes in international law, says the proposal goes beyond
what the cybercrime treaty specifies. "Their proposal for intercept
capability talks about all service providers, not just Internet
providers," Andrews said. "The cybercrime treaty deals only with computer
data." EPIC opposes the cybercrime treaty, saying it grants too much power
to police and does not adequately respect privacy rights.

Another section of the proposal says the Canadian Association of Chiefs of
Police recommends "the establishment of a national database" with personal
information about all Canadian Internet users. "The implementation of such
a database would presuppose that service providers are compelled to
provide accurate and current information," the draft says.

Gus Hosein, a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics and an
activist with Privacy International, calls the database "a dumb idea."

"Immediately you have to wonder if you're allowed to use anonymous mobile
phones or whether you're allowed to connect to the Internet anonymously,"
Hosein said.

A representative for George Radwanski, Canada's privacy commissioner, said
the office is reviewing the blueprint and does not "have any comments on
the paper as it stands."

Comments on the proposal can be sent to la-al@justice.gc.ca no later than
Nov. 15.

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In 1788 thousands of disillusioned French people took to Parisian streets
for several disorderly processions. On the 14th July 1789 they stormed the
Bastille and abolished the monarchy.
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