Inside the government's online spying task force
What’s 340 pages long and contains emails, meeting transcripts, and talking points? Proof that the government has been intently monitoring—and thus actively disregarding—the public outcry against warrantless online spying bill C-30 since day one.
(I realize that as a joke, this is weak. As a government practice, however, this is a joke.)
Internal documents and correspondence obtained by OpenMedia.ca and the StopSpying.ca Coalition suggest that the government has been well aware of the problem with their proposed online spying legislation, but has still failed to act in the public interest. Released under an Access to Information request, these documents paint a picture of government employees closely monitoring gatherings, shared correspondence, and news—including coverage of the StopSpying.ca campaign from long before the tabling of Bill C-30.
In addition, talking point documents—which include a whole section on “if asked why subscriber information does not require a warrant”—show that the government was well aware of public concerns about online spying long ago; instead of making substantial changes to reflect those concerns, they wrote retorts.
From this, it’s pretty clear that the concerns of Canadian public aren’t being taken seriously. And from emails about one senior policy analyst at Public Safety Canada asking for “key domestic partners/stakeholders (for example, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police), as well as a short explanation of how the relationship with each organization is important to advance Public Safety's objectives”, it’s extremely clear: there’s not a word about working with the public as a stakeholder.
Also clear from the memos is that there isn't any evidence that authorities, including the Competition Bureau, need warrantless access to our personal electronic information.
Insofar as that’s the case, and insofar as not a single public commitment has been made in regards to reworking or stopping the online spying bill, we in the pro-Internet community cannot afford to drop our guard.