Van Loan's misleading claims: Case for lawful access not closed

Geist-48X68.jpgPosted by Michael Geist
The push for new Internet surveillance capabilities — dubbed the "lawful access" initiative — dates back to 1999, when government officials began crafting proposals to institute new surveillance technologies within Canadian networks along with additional legal powers to access surveillance and subscriber information. Over the past decade, lawful access has stalled despite public consultations, bills that have died on the order paper, and even a promise from former public safety minister Stockwell Day to avoid mandatory disclosure of personal information without court oversight. Last June, current Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan tabled the latest lawful access legislative package. Much like its predecessors, the bill establishes new surveillance requirements for Internet service providers. In an about-face from the Day commitment however, it also features mandatory disclosure of customer information, including name, address, IP address, and email address upon request and without court oversight.
My weekly technology law column notes that lawful access has long faced at least two significant barriers. The first involves ISP costs associated with installing new equipment and responding to disclosure requests. The government has attempted to address those concerns by promising to help pay the bills. It plans to provide some funding for new equipment and, in a little noticed provision, has opened the door to paying ISPs for providing customer name and address information to law enforcement authorities.
The second barrier involves lingering questions about the need for lawful access. Critics have pointed to the fact that Canadian law enforcement has successfully used the Internet in hundreds of investigations, including a high-profile Toronto terrorism case. Moreover, the law already grants ISPs the options to disclose customer name and address information.
Van Loan argues that the changes are long overdue, pointing to a kidnapping case in Vancouver earlier this year as evidence of the need for legislative change. In several interviews, he has described witnessing an emergency situation in which Vancouver police waited 36 hours to get the information they needed in order to obtain a warrant for customer name and address information.
While that makes for a powerful example, a more detailed investigation into the specifics of the case reveals that Van Loan's rendition leaves out some important details. Click here to read the whole of Michael's post.

Submit a comment

Please leave your name, which will be used to sign your submission to the SCANsite. Thanks for contributing your thoughts. Come back again. Tony Patterson, Editor & CEO.

© 2006 - 2009 SCAN
INTEGRITY INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION
Site by Citadel Rock
SCAN