Wiretaps, Bill C-30, and the Supreme Court

- April 13th, 2012

The first decision written by Canada’s newest Supreme Court judges was just released today. Justices  Michael J. Moldaver and Andromache Karakatsanis were named to the top court in Oct. 2011.

The unanimous  decision strips police of the power to authorize an emergency wiretap without a warrant, and gives Parliament a year to rewrite the legislation.  Interestingly, some of the concerns raised by the judges have already been addressed in the highly controversial Bill C-30. That’s the notorious legislation that spawned the @vikileaks and #tellviceverything Twitter campaigns. It was sent directly to committee after first reading over concerns it breached the privacy rights of Canadians – and after a very public outcry.

The draft legislation would ensure that police would have to report to Parliament on wiretaps used under 184.4of the criminal code, and ensure the person whose communication is intercepted is told within 90 days. Under the current 184.4 provision, those two things wouldn’t happen and someone whose phone was tapped under 184.4 might never know.

And apparently, the Liberals haven’t realized that Bill C-30 fixes some of the problems top court justices raised concerning 184.4, according to this press release:

Liberal Public Safety critic Francis Scarpaleggia made the following statement today on the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to strike down a law that allows police to tap telephones without a warrant in an emergency:

“The Supreme Court’s decision sends a signal, and a warning, to the Harper government in relation to its recently-introduced on-line surveillance legislation, Bill C-30.

In essence, the Court has said in today’s decision that it considers Canadians’ privacy rights to be sacrosanct, and that the government must properly protect these rights, including in regard to warrantless access to internet subscriber information.”



Categories: Government, Liberals, Public Safety, Social issues

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