Thursday, February 14, 2013

Canadian gov’t kills “lawful access” Internet snooping bill

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Online privacy

It’s been a year since a commotion erupted around Canada over the government’s proposed Bill C-30, so-called “lawful access” legislation that would allow law enforcement to openly snoop around citizens’ private online data. (Particularly memorable was Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’s typically horrendous argument that privacy advocates who opposed the bill were really just “stand[ing] with the child pornographers”.)

Unlike in the US, though, where public outcry is generally met with contemptuous silence, it seems the Canadian government has actually paid attention to all the protesting, as the bill has effectively been axed for now:

Earlier this week, it was announced that the Canadian government has agreed not to move forward with the bill, claiming that they "listened" to the concerns of the public:

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.

That’s one battle over with, though there still exists numerous issues with the current system, such as voluntary ISP disclosure of private user data. Privacy rights aren’t in as dire straights in Canada as they are in the US, which seems to take an almost perverse joy in violating its Fourth Amendment these days, but it’s a struggle nonetheless to keep the government’s eyes and ears away from where they don’t belong.