METRO NEWS VANCOUVER
Weekend, June 19 - 21, 2009
With files from Torstar News Service
Police want greater Net sleuthing powers
Tory bill would allow investigators access to email, online info
Canada's police and security forces would have more freedom to read people's emails and other online communication under a bill tabled by the federal Conservatives on Thursday.
Vancouver Police Chief Const. Jim Chu said the proposed "lawful access" legislation is needed to better fight crimes such as child porn and terrorism in today's high-tech environment.
"We are pleased that this new legislation modernizes the law so that it keeps pace with the advances in telecommunications technologies," Chu said. "The laws being updated were originally written in the era of rotary phones."
Richard Rosenberg, a spokesman for the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said the proposal goes too far.
"This legislation is about gaining power to get information which previously you needed a warrant to get," Rosenberg said. "I think that is a blow with respect to individual privacy interests."
Chu disagrees, saying that officers face increasingly complex technological challenges.
"Organized criminals who deliberately use service providers that do not have the technical capability to permit lawful access will no longer be able to use these providers to circumvent lawful search warrants or court orders," he said.
The bill, if passed, would create a sliding scale of powers for police, Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Competition Bureau.
Investigators could ask a telecommunications company or Internet service provider to gather all data and communications of a client and ask a judge to order the company to hand over the information.
It could range from basic subscriber data like customer name, address, telephone number, and the Internet Protocol (IP) address to the actual content of the communications, emails or text messages. Officials would even be able to activate devices to remotely follow the movements of cellphones or GPS tracking devices in cars.
Created: June 21, 2009
Last modified: July 19, 2009
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