More lies from Vic Toews about bill C-30

I got this email from Vic Toews today, in response to a form email I sent out through one of the many sites that gave links for this.  I’m assuming many people got the same one:

Thank you for contacting my office regarding Bill C-30, the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act.

Canada’s laws currently do not adequately protect Canadians from online exploitation and we think there is widespread agreement that this is a problem.

We want to update our laws while striking the right balance between combating crime and protecting privacy.

Let me be very clear: the police will not be able to read emails or view web activity unless they obtain a warrant issued by a judge and we have constructed safeguards to protect the privacy of Canadians, including audits by privacy commissioners.

What’s needed most is an open discussion about how to better protect Canadians from online crime. We will therefore send this legislation directly to Parliamentary Committee for a full examination of the best ways to protect Canadians while respecting their privacy.

For your information, I have included some myths and facts below regarding Bill C-30 in its current state.

Sincerely,

Vic Toews

Member of Parliament for Provencher

Myth: Lawful Access legislation infringes on the privacy of Canadians.

Fact: Our Government puts a high priority on protecting the privacy of law-abiding Canadians. Current practices of accessing the actual content of communications with a legal authorization will not change.

Myth: Having access to basic subscriber information means that authorities can monitor personal communications and activities.

Fact: This has nothing to do with monitoring emails or web browsing.  Basic subscriber information would be limited to a customer’s name, address, telephone number, email address, Internet Protocol (IP) address, and the name of the telecommunications service provider. It absolutely does not include the content of emails, phones calls or online activities.

Myth: This legislation does not benefit average Canadians and only gives authorities more power.

Fact:  As a result of technological innovations, criminals and terrorists have found ways to hide their illegal activities. This legislation will keep Canadians safer by putting police on the same footing as those who seek to harm us.

Myth: Basic subscriber information is way beyond “phone book information”.

Fact: The basic subscriber information described in the proposed legislation is the modern day equivalent of information that is in the phone book. Individuals frequently freely share this information online and in many cases it is searchable and quite public.

Myth: Police and telecommunications service providers will now be required to maintain databases with information collected on Canadians.

Fact: This proposed legislation will not require either police or telecommunications service providers to create databases with information collected on Canadians.

Myth: “Warrantless access” to customer information will give police and government unregulated access to our personal information.

Fact: Federal legislation already allows telecommunications service providers to voluntarily release basic subscriber information to authorities without a warrant. This Bill acts as a counterbalance by adding a number of checks and balances which do not exist today, and clearly lists which basic subscriber identifiers authorities can access.

I just wrote this in reply.

HAVE YOU READ YOUR OWN LEGISLATION?!?!?!

Section 17 clearly states:
17. (1) Any police officer may, orally or in writing, request a telecommunications service provider to provide the officer with the information referred to in subsection 16(1) in the following circumstances:
(a) the officer believes on reasonable grounds that the urgency of the situation is such that the request cannot, with reasonable diligence, be made under that subsection;
(b) the officer believes on reasonable grounds that the information requested is immediately necessary to prevent an unlawful act that would cause serious harm to any person or to property; and
(c) the information directly concerns either the person who would perform the act that is likely to cause the harm or is the victim, or intended victim, of the harm.
The police officer must inform the telecommunications service provider of his or her name, rank, badge number and the agency in which he or she is employed and state that the request is being made in exceptional circumstances and under the authority of this subsection.
Section 16 requires that this information only be requested if these law enforcement officers (etc) are requesting the information in performing a duty or function of his/her role.  Section 17 basically says that s/he can do it whenever s/he “believes” the situation is urgent.  Given the history of Canada’s police officers, especially in recent years, this provides officers with an incredible amount of power to obtain information, and absolutely provides them with the ability to obtain this information without a warrant.  You are a lawyer and it is really quite embarrassing that you haven’t even read your own legislation.
No one is suggesting that child pornographers should be able to commit their crimes without getting caught.  All we’re asking is that a warrant be required to provide a check and balance!  Your argument that telecom providers have the option of providing this information voluntarily without a warrant does not justify allowing the police to require them to provide such information without one. This is COMPLETELY illogical and you know it.
I won’t debunk the rest of your “facts” here. But I’ll be sure to blog about it and let other people write you about how little you’ve read your own legislation. Please don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining. Canadians are smarter than that. And you are too.  At least, I’d like to hope you are.
Neal Jennings

So, on with it:


Myth:
 Lawful Access legislation infringes on the privacy of Canadians.

Fact: Our Government puts a high priority on protecting the privacy of law-abiding Canadians. Current practices of accessing the actual content of communications with a legal authorization will not change.

Debunk: Your Government’s priorities are thoroughly irrelevant.  Your bill clearly changes the practices of accessing the actual content of communications with a legal authorisation.  Isn’t that the whole point of the bill? If that isn’t the point – WHY THE HELL ARE YOU PASSING THIS BILL?

Myth: Having access to basic subscriber information means that authorities can monitor personal communications and activities.

Fact: This has nothing to do with monitoring emails or web browsing.  Basic subscriber information would be limited to a customer’s name, address, telephone number, email address, Internet Protocol (IP) address, and the name of the telecommunications service provider. It absolutely does not include the content of emails, phones calls or online activities.

Debunk: Authorities already have ability to monitor personal communications and activities, with a warrant… or, if they’re CSIS, they’ve always had the ability to do this for whomever they feel might possibly be a threat to national security (which as we’ve seen through declassified files over the years, includes pretty much anyone and everyone).

Myth: This legislation does not benefit average Canadians and only gives authorities more power.

Fact:  As a result of technological innovations, criminals and terrorists have found ways to hide their illegal activities. This legislation will keep Canadians safer by putting police on the same footing as those who seek to harm us.

Debunk: The “fact” has nothing to do with the myth supposedly being disproven.  The benefit to average Canadians has to be measured with respect to the costs, too. This will be financially costly to our governments, and is costly to all individual Canadians in the loss of our privacy.  The benefit is not actually proven here by Mr. Toews so I’m not going to do that for him.

Myth: Basic subscriber information is way beyond “phone book information”.

Fact: The basic subscriber information described in the proposed legislation is the modern day equivalent of information that is in the phone book. Individuals frequently freely share this information online and in many cases it is searchable and quite public.

Debunk: Your IP Address is not “phone book information.”  Period. Individuals do frequently choose to share this information online — the difference is that this bill requires third parties to provide it to  law enforcement agencies.  Changing disclosure from optional to mandatory is very significant, and makes the sharing of such information different.  If I had a land line, I could choose for it to be unlisted.  This is not a choice given to me or anyone else by this legislation.

Myth: Police and telecommunications service providers will now be required to maintain databases with information collected on Canadians.

Fact: This proposed legislation will not require either police or telecommunications service providers to create databases with information collected on Canadians.

Debunk:Um, actually, section 6: “(1) For the purpose of enabling authorized persons to exercise their authority to intercept communications, every telecommunications service provider must have the capability to do the following: (a) provide intercepted communications to authorized persons; and (b) provide authorized persons with the prescribed information that is in the possession or control of the service provider respecting the location of equipment used in the transmission of communications.”  How could they possibly have the capability of providing intercepted communications to authorised persons if they aren’t required to intercept communications?

Further, section16: “(1) On written request by a person designated under subsection (3) that includes prescribed identifying information, every telecommunications service provider must provide the person with identifying information in the service provider’s possession or control respecting the name, address, telephone number and electronic mail address of any subscriber to any of the service provider’s telecommunications services and the Internet protocol address and local service provider identifier that are associated with the subscriber’s service and equipment.”  Again, how could they possibly provide this information without maintaining a database of this?

Myth: “Warrantless access” to customer information will give police and government unregulated access to our personal information.

Fact: Federal legislation already allows telecommunications service providers to voluntarily release basic subscriber information to authorities without a warrant. This Bill acts as a counterbalance by adding a number of checks and balances which do not exist today, and clearly lists which basic subscriber identifiers authorities can access.

Debunk: See above. Section 17. Very explicit about this.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Awesome job!!!!! I always know I can count on you for a reasonable view of these sorts of policies!!!! Thank you for putting this work in!!!

    Reply

  2. Posted by David on 2012/03/04 at 8:54 am

    Good stuff I also recieved a template email about Bill C-30 and replied back that the Bill completly contradicts everything in the email. It’s a crock of crap and I hope Candians keep the pressure on so this doesn’t become law.

    Reply

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