mandatory, warrantless internet spying coming to canada, unless we stop it

If Stephen Harper has his way, mandatory, warrantless, universal internet surveillance will be the norm in Canada. Once upon a time, I would have thought that statement was hyperbole; now it is the simple truth.

If you already know about this, please sign this petition and share it widely. If not, read on.

From OpenMedia.ca:
The government is trying to ram through an anti-Internet set of electronic surveillance laws that will invade your privacy and cost you money. The plan is to force every phone and Internet provider to surrender our personal information to "authorities" without a warrant.

This bizarre legislation will create Internet surveillance that is:

* Warrantless: A range of "authorities" will have the ability to invade the private lives of law-abiding Canadians and our families using wired Internet and mobile devices, without a warrant or any justification.

* Invasive and Dangerous: The laws leave our personal and financial information less secure and more susceptible to cybercrime.

* Costly: Internet services providers may be forced to install millions of dollars worth of spying technology and the cost will be passed down to YOU.
From the Official Opposition:
NDP gears up to fight Conservatives’ snooping law

OTTAWA – New Democrats are gearing up to fight the Conservative’s proposed snooping law at every level this fall in order to protect the rights and privacy of Canadians.

“What we have been hearing from experts and citizen is that this new law gives the government and police way too much power to snoop into our lives,” said New Democrat Privacy and Digital Affairs Critic Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay). “Canadians are right to feel that the Conservatives are not protecting their privacy and that we need to curb this bill.”

Over the summer Angus has been putting in place a team of MPs to work with civil society groups, stakeholders and citizens to fight against lawful access legislation both in and out of parliament.

Conservatives have indicated that "lawful access" provisions will be included in their omnibus crime legislation this fall. Experts warn this would legalize widespread snooping on average citizens – all without a warrant.

Telecom providers would also be forced to install surveillance software giving police the ability to track internet and mobile phone activity.

MP Charmaine Borg (Terrebonne-Blainville), who will be spearheading this fight at the Justice committee, agrees with Angus and points out that while the party supports modernizing policing powers to deal with digital issues, removing the requirement for warrants altogether opens the door to all manner of abuse by security officials.

“This access is anything but lawful,” said Borg. “This isn’t a question of whether abuse will occur, it’s how extreme the abuse will be.”
From Michael Geist, from before the federal election:
While there are good and bad with each party, the Conservatives new commitment to lawful access - new laws that would establish massive Internet surveillance requirements and the potential disclosure of personal information without court oversight - is incredibly problematic for the Internet, privacy, and online freedoms. It requires real debate yet seems likely to slip under the public radar. . . .

There are several concerns with the Conservatives lawful access plans. First, it bears noting that these bills have never received extensive debate on the floor of the House of Commons and never been the subject of committee hearings. . . . Federal and provincial privacy commissioners have expressed deep concerns about these bills, yet they have never had the opportunity to air those concerns before committee. Internet service providers, who face millions in additional costs - presumably passed along to consumers - have never appeared before committee. . . .

Second, more important than process is the substance of the proposals that have the potential to fundamentally reshape the Internet in Canada. The bills contain a three-pronged approach focused on information disclosure, mandated surveillance technologies, and new police powers.

The first prong mandates the disclosure of Internet provider customer information without court oversight. Under current privacy laws, providers may voluntarily disclose customer information but are not required to do so. The new system would require the disclosure of customer name, address, phone number, email address, Internet protocol address, and a series of device identification numbers.

While some of that information may seem relatively harmless, the ability to link it with other data will often open the door to a detailed profile about an identifiable person. Given its potential sensitivity, the decision to require disclosure without any oversight should raise concerns within the Canadian privacy community.

The second prong requires Internet providers to dramatically re-work their networks to allow for real-time surveillance. The bill sets out detailed capability requirements that will eventually apply to all Canadian Internet providers. These include the power to intercept communications, to isolate the communications to a particular individual, and to engage in multiple simultaneous interceptions.

Moreover, the bill establishes a comprehensive regulatory structure for Internet providers that would mandate their assistance with testing their surveillance capabilities and disclosing the names of all employees who may be involved in interceptions (and who may then be subject to RCMP background checks).

The bill also establishes numerous reporting requirements including mandating that all Internet providers disclose their technical surveillance capabilities within six months of the law taking effect. Follow-up reports are also required when providers acquire new technical capabilities.

. . . Having obtained customer information without court oversight and mandated Internet surveillance capabilities, the third prong creates a several new police powers designed to obtain access to the surveillance data. These include new transmission data warrants that would grant real-time access to all the information generated during the creation, transmission or reception of a communication including the type, direction, time, duration, origin, destination or termination of the communication. . . .

While Internet providers would actively work with law enforcement in collecting and disclosing the subscriber information, they could also be prohibited from disclosing the disclosures as court may bar them from informing subscribers that they have been subject to surveillance or information disclosures. . . .
This is not an anti-crime bill. This is an anti-freedom of association, anti-intellectual freedom, anti-civil liberties, and anti-internet bill. Fear of crime - stoked by the Conservatives at every turn, despite low and dropping crime rates throughout the country - cannot be used as an excuse to spy on all citizens and pass the cost of the technology back onto us.

If enough of us speak out on this issue, the government may be forced to retreat. Sign this petition opposing warrantless internet surveillance of law-abiding citizens - and please share it with everyone you know.

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