Contentious C-30 bill would allow gov't to seize citizens' private data without warrant

The United States’ northern neighbor Canada is currently debating a contentious measure that would enact a sweeping and potentially highly expensive program of domestic spying on Canadian citizens' internet activities.  Canada’s Conservative Party is pushing the issue.  

I. Opposition to Spying is Support for Child Predators, Says Canadian Leader

Current Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a member of the Conservative Party, and Conservatives have a majority in both divisions of Canada's Parliament.  The ruling Conservative faction says that to oppose the spying program is to support child pornography.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews comments, "As technology evolves, many criminal activities, such as the distribution of child pornography, become much easier.  We are proposing to bring measures to bring our laws into the 21st century and to provide police with the lawful tools that they need.  He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers."

Mr. Toews was recently exposed by Anonymous to allegedly be living with his former mistress, whom he impregnated.  Mr. Toews responded by calling Anonymous a grave threat to Canadian freedoms.

MP Toews
Anonymous has targeted Mr. Toews' personal indiscretions. [Image Source: QuickMeme]

Stephen Harper seconded the comment, remarking, "I'm not going to, in any way, give the Liberal Party any break in its record on child pornography.  It is disgraceful, they have had multiple opportunities to do something about it, and they have refused."

Such commentary might be viewed as libel or slander, but Canada's PM and his cabinet are above those laws.  

Canada's law allows top government officials to make false statements without be prosecuted, although they can be censured or removed from office for doing such (this allowance is known as the "Parliamentary Privilege").  Of course such measures are unlikely as they would need to be approved by Parliament -- who is controlled by the party making the inflammatory statements.

II. Strong Criticism Surrounds Surveillance Bill

The domestic spying law is being actively opposed by many prominent parties, including law professor Michael GeistOpen Media, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Council of Canadiansand a collective of other parties.

Provincial officials have also been critical of the bill.  States Ann Cavoukian, Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, in an interview, "If they truly removed the warrantless access provisions of the bill, across the board, then we would be delighted to sit with the government and work with them on additional amendments that we would still be seeking, but that would be doable."

The bill -- dubbed "C-30" -- is current stalled in Parliament.  Some expect Stephen Harper's government to make concessions on the issue of warrantless surveillance in an effort to break minority opposition.

Government Spying
Many opposed Canada's warrantless internet spying bill. [Image Source: Unknown]

Some have criticized the minority Liberal party for exagerrating the scope of the bill.  States Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia, "[The government is] preparing to read Canadians' emails and track their movements through cellphone signals."

In reality, the bill appears to mostly deal with obtaining personal information such as bank records -- with and without warrant.

Still that doesn't make the Conservative's allegations of child pornography support less hurtful, argues former Liberal PM Paul Martin.  Comments PM Martin, "Look, this is personal. I am a father and I am a husband, and [Harper] has crossed the line. He should apologize."

Sources: The Globe and Mail [1], [2]

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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