Across our newspaper chain today, I argue that the C-30, the government’s so-called “lawful access” legislation, is bad, that, “there is no excuse for this kind of intrusion on the privacy rights of Canadians and certainly not one from a government that says it champions the idea that the federal government ought to respect individual liberties and rights.” [Read my full column on this]
Last night, perhaps seeing that there were a great number of pundits criticizing this bill [here's the Post's Matt Hartley, for one], one of the aides for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews circulated three examples that it believes show the need for the new powers to be given to police, CSIS, and the Competition Bureau in C-30. It doesn’t change my assessment of the bill — no example is given here to support the idea in C-30 and Competition Bureau bureaucrats or spies from CSIS ought to be able to get subscriber information without a warrant – but here it is for your consideration:
- In December 2010, New Brunswick RCMP began to investigate the distribution of child pornography. Police suspected an individual who was using a telecommunications service provider who had historically not shared information with police. As a result, local police applied for a court order. There was a substantial delay and by this time the case had gone cold. Several months later, the suspect resumed his online activity. This time the TSP was cooperative with police requests. The suspect was charged with possession and distribution of child pornography. Furthermore, it was discovered that this suspect was molesting two young boys to create child pornography. Had Bill C-30 been in force, this atrocity would have ended months sooner.
- In 2007, the RCMP assisted with an international investigation in which suspects located in Canada were attempting to defraud American corporations of approximately $100 million. The investigation required police to find the individuals who were committing these fraudulent activities. The suspects were constantly on the move and police needed the immediate support of the TSPs to determine the location of these networks. However, the service providers would not provide police with the basic subscriber information they needed. Because of the lack of cooperation from the TSPs, it took eight full-time technical investigators five days to finally locate and arrest the suspects. The suspects successfully defrauded victims of $15 million. Had police been provided the information when it was requested, the value of the fraud would have been reduced considerably and police resources would have been used more effectively.
- A child was abducted in British Columbia in 2011. An amber alert was broadcast and, fortunately, the suspect returned the child. However, the suspect was not apprehended and his location remained unknown. Through further investigation, police obtained an IP address associated with the suspect. Police contacted the TSP directly and were advised that it was against policy to provide subscriber information related to an IP address without a Production Order. Police advised the TSP that the suspect had already abducted one child and that other children could possibly be at risk. The TSP decided to provide the information and the suspect was located and apprehended less than 24 hours after police received the information.