Proposed Canadian Law Would Allow Additional Police Internet Procedures

June 21, 2009

Canadian Internet  service providers may be forced to allow government officials to intercept and monitor online communications, while also easily looking up personal information about a company’s subscribers.

The Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century Act, recently introduced, is designed to help the Canadian government better modernize the country’s Criminal Code, supporters stated.   While privacy advocates shuddered at the news, police agencies across Canada showed support for the bill.

Agencies also will be able to monitor text, voice and video messages when investigating a suspect, the bill reads.  When a police agency today requests information from an ISP, they get a different response each time.  Some will turn over the information, others require a court-issued warrant, and there are a couple ISPs who are simply unable to monitor subscribers.

The government is considering helping smaller ISPs by reimbursing them partial costs, with any ISP with less than 100,000 subscribers exempt from the bill.

"We must ensure that law enforcement has the necessary tools to catch up to the bad guys and ultimately bring them to justice. Twenty-first century technology calls for 21st-century tools," Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said during a press conference.

Even though the government says this move must be made, many are concerned over privacy issues.  It remains unknown when police agencies and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service will be able to request a user’s personal information.  It will almost certainly take a judge’s warrant, but there doesn’t seem to be any other oversight against possible government abuse.

"High tech criminals will be met by high tech police," Public Safety Minster Peter Van Loan said during the same press conference.

The United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, New Zealand and Sweden are currently using similar legislation, though with minute changes.

This post has been written by Michael Barkoviak on June 20, 2009 11:30 AM couresy of


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