Tories target internet

The Conservative government wants to give police greater powers to eavesdrop on Canadians in cyberspace, but civil liberties advocates aren’t convinced the changes are justified.

OTTAWA — The Conservative government wants to give police greater powers to eavesdrop on Canadians in cyberspace, but civil liberties advocates aren’t convinced the changes are justified.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan introduced two bills Thursday that would give law enforcement much greater access to private Internet communications.

The proposed legislation comes just a day before the House of Commons rises for the summer, and might not survive long before a potential fall election is triggered. Still, the Liberals tabled a similar bill when they were in power, and might back the Tory version.

The proposed legislation would:

• enable police to access information on an Internet subscriber, such as name, street address and email address, without having to get a search warrant.

• force Internet service providers to freeze data on their hard drives to prevent subscribers under investigation from deleting potentially important evidence.

• require telecommunications companies to invest in technology that allows for the interception of Internet communications.

• allow police to remotely activate tracking devices already embedded in cellphones and certain cars, to help with investigations.

• allow police to obtain data about where Internet communications are coming from and going to.

• make it a crime to arrange with a second person over the Internet the sexual exploitation of a child.

Nicholson, flanked by police officers, said the changes were necessary to keep up with the changing times.

“Twenty-first century technology calls for 21st century tools for police to effectively investigate crime,” he said.

Van Loan added: “The legislation contains important tools to allow our law enforcement community and our intelligence officials to combat crime and terrorism in the face of rapidly evolving communications technologies.”

Some Internet service providers willingly gave over such information to police in the past, but others insisted on warrants first because of fears of civil liability.

The federal ombudsman for victims of crime released a report earlier this month that estimated 30 to 40 per cent of requests by police for basic customer name and address information are denied without a warrant.

That frustrated police who were pursuing cases.

The new law would designate a select group of law enforcement officials, who would obtain the data. The retrieval and use of the information would be audited to ensure it is not being abused.

But Fewer said he would like to know more about the justification for removing the warrant hurdle. The sometimes lengthy time it takes to get a warrant is not a good enough reason, he said.

“Let’s figure out what’s wrong with the process and fix that. The answer is not doing a global relaxation of civil liberties in cyberspace.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The interchange at Highway 2 and McKenzie Road at the south end of Gasoline Alley is being redesigned with two roundabouts. Detours will be in place at either end of the overpass during construction, which is expected to begin this month and finish in October. (Graphic from Red Deer County)
Roudabouts coming to McKenzie Road overpass at Gasoline Alley

Project expected to improve traffic flow at busy intersections

A federal strategy to preserve threatened trout could conflict with provincial coal leases in the Eastern Slopes of the Rockies. (Contributed photo by Jeff Lund).
Federal regulations could save Alberta’s bull trout by shutting down mining plans, says biologist

Ottawa’s new strategy identifies a 30-metre protected area along rivers and streams

(Contributed image)
Wolf Creek Public Schools will not participate in curriculum pilot

Central Alberta school jurisdiction joins others across Alberta

Indigenous leaders, experts urge Ottawa to quickly pass UNDRIP bill before election

Indigenous leaders, experts urge Ottawa to quickly pass UNDRIP bill before election

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is seen during a news conference on Parliament hill in Ottawa, Tuesday April 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Opposition parties lay out priorities ahead of Liberal government budget next week

Opposition parties lay out priorities ahead of Liberal government budget next week

Sharis Carr, a nurse at the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Service Center in Clarksdale, Miss., holds a vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine that was administered to seniors, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. A second COVID-19 vaccine is being investigated for possible links to blood clots, though the syndrome appears to be extremely rare. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Rogelio V. Solis
Vaccine-induced blood clots under more scrutiny as Canada reports first case

Vaccine-induced blood clots under more scrutiny as Canada reports first case

Jennifer Lopez, left, and Alex Rodriguez take a selfie as they arrive at the 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in January 2020. VAX Live: The Concert to Reunite the World will showcase Lopez. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)
Selena Gomez and J.Lo headline vax concert for poor nations

NEW YORK — Backed by an international concert hosted by Selena Gomez… Continue reading

A vial of the vaccine by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a company owned by Johnson & Johnson. Federal health officials in the U.S. said early Tuesday they were urging a pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine after reports of six serious blood clots, and officials in Washington state and around the country quickly complied. (Aristide Economopoulos/NJ Advance Media)
How J&J and AstraZeneca differ from the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna

Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine has hit a stumbling block in… Continue reading

An emergency response worker carries an air monitoring device at the site of a crude oil spill at a Trans Mountain Pipeline pump station in Abbotsford, on Sunday, June 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Failed fitting caused 190,000-litre spill at Trans Mountain site in B.C.: TSB

VANCOUVER — A Transportation Safety Board report says the failure of a… Continue reading

Ottawa
Indigenous leaders, experts urge Ottawa to quickly pass UNDRIP bill before election

OTTAWA — Indigenous leaders and legal experts are pushing federal lawmakers to… Continue reading

Visitors to a roadside memorial pay their respects in Portapique, N.S., on Friday, April 24, 2020. The Canadian Red Cross confirmed today it has collected $6.2 million in donations to help the families in rural Nova Scotia affected by the mass shooting last spring that claimed 22 lives. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Red Cross collects $6.2 million for families affected by Nova Scotia mass shooting

HALIFAX — Canadians and people from around the world donated $6.2 million… Continue reading

Most Read