For anyone who, in the capacity of supporting the passing of Bill C-30 by the Canadian federal government – a law that will allow police unfettered access to any individual’s electronic information like your browsing history, private emails, financial information, credit card numbers and personal contacts without any need for a warrant – wishes to know what that might be like, consider Anonymous’ public posting of private information to show the effect it can have on individuals subject to this legislation tabled by Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews. The Minister has assured Canadians that this information is really no different from what can be found in a phone book. I beg to differ and I think Anonymous reveals quite clearly how this is a lie and how such targeting of private information is damaging. I think this legislation is badly flawed and very dangerous.
Michael Geist, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and e-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, writes in the Ottawa Citizen,
The bill is badly in need of fixing: the oversight of surveillance capabilities remains underdeveloped, the costs associated with surveillance equipment is a giant question mark, and the fears of surveillance misuse based on the experience in other jurisdictions continues to cause concern.
I suspect Vic might now agree with that assessment but whether or not he can divert a majority government from passing this awful Bill remains to be seen.
Now we learn from the latest news that this Bill will cost Canadian taxpayers 80 million dollars to implement and an additional 7 million dollars a year. Not only do we have to pay for that start up expense as taxpayers when services are being cut elsewhere to address the federal deficit, but the ISPs will pass along any capital and staffing expenditures directly to their subscribers.That’s called adding insult to injury: we’re going to pay twice for police to invade our privacy! What could possibly go wrong?