Vancouver Internet-advocacy group OpenMedia.ca is celebrating a decision by the federal government to abandon its controversial online surveillance legislation.
Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has announced the government will not move forward with Bill C-30 following widespread public opposition.
“This is a victory for each and every Canadian and it’s pretty inspiring to see what we can do when we send a clear message to the government using social media and whatever other mechanisms we have at our fingertips,” said Steve Anderson, executive director of OpenMedia.ca.
“Internet freedom issues cross political boundaries, so I think that because of that the government is inclined to listen when the numbers get big enough,” Anderson told the Straight by phone today (February 12).
The bill, known as the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act, was intended to help law enforcement officials fight online crimes including child pornography. Under the proposed legislation, authorities would have been able to obtain private information about Internet users without a warrant. Opponents of the bill, including OpenMedia.ca, argued it threatened people’s right to privacy.
Nicholson is quoted by the CBC as saying: “We will not be proceeding with Bill C-30 and any attempts that we will continue to have to modernize the Criminal Code will not contain the measures contained in C-30, including the warrantless mandatory disclosure of basic subscriber information or the requirement for telecommunications service providers to build intercept capability within their systems.”
“We’ve listened to the concerns of Canadians who have been very clear on this and responding to that,” he said.
While Anderson welcomed the federal government’s decision, he said his group must stay on guard against any efforts to reintroduce parts of the bill in other forms.
“I think that there’s a good chance that they’ll try and push some of the measures through, some of the separate parts,” he said. “If and when they do, we need to be there to vocally discourage them from doing that.”