Online petition launched against Canadian “lawful access” bills
An online petition has been launched in opposition to “lawful access” legislation expected to be reintroduced by the Conservative government this fall.
OpenMedia.ca is organizing the petition against three bills that they say would violate civil liberties and translate to extra costs for Canadians.
“They allow warrantless surveillance of online activity, they’re costly - Internet service providers will have to invest in infrastructure, and that cost is necessarily going to be passed down to either the consumer or the taxpayer,” communications manager Lindsey Pinto told the Straight by phone.
“It’s essentially an antithesis to Internet openness, and we don’t accept it.”
The bills were introduced as C-50, C-51 and C-52 last fall but died on the order paper when the Harper government fell in March.
Pinto said they are expecting the Conservatives to reintroduce them as part of their omnibus crime legislation in September.
“We know the bills are going to be put through,” said Pinto. “The Conservatives announced in their campaign platform that they were going to do so in their 100 days of their term if elected.”
The bills will give the police, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and the Competition Bureau greater powers to intercept online communications and gather information about Internet users. The legislation will also allow law-enforcement authorities to remotely activate tracking devices found in mobile phones and GPS devices in cars.
Pinto noted the bills will require telecom providers in Canada to hand over personal information to authorities without a warrant.
“Every provincial privacy commissioner”¦has spoken out against this,” said Pinto. “This could set a very negative precedent for surveillance in Canada, and just for the way the Internet is treated in Canada.”
In March, B.C.’s information and privacy commissioner Elizabeth Denham and other privacy commissioners across the country wrote to the ministry of public safety to express their concerns about the "lawful access" legislation.
OpenMedia.ca is being joined by a group of over 30 other organizations, businesses and academics in challenging the bills.
You can follow Yolande Cole on Twitter at twitter.com/yolandecole.