It's Back: How New Legislative Amendments are Bringing Online Spying Bill C-30 Back into Focus
A few months ago Canadians sent a loud, clear message to the Canadian government to StopSpying.ca. This followed the introduction of warrantless Online Spying Bill C-30, a bizarre piece of legislation that would grant ‘authorities’ with unrestricted access to Canadians’ private information, leave our personal and financial information less secure, and implement costly spying technology that taxpayers would have to fund.
When Public Safety Minister Vic Toews proclaimed that Canadians who didn’t support his bill were standing with child pornographers, the outrage was palpable, and citizens made sure Parliament heard us. In short order, online spying bill C-30 was quietly sent directly to Committee and it has yet to come back to the floor to be debated again.
An obscure bill, C-12, has just been brought back to the House of Commons. This bill makes significant changes to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), an Act designed to protect the privacy of Canadians by limiting the amount of personal information that companies are allowed to share without a court order or a warrant. It “recognizes the right of privacy of individuals to their personal information”—this is very clearly a good thing.
In an interview with the Canadian Press, Mr. Israel said that the changes would allow online service providers more latitude to voluntarily share the personal information of their customers. Further, it even prohibits those companies from letting their customers know that their personal information has been shared.
Most disturbingly, Mr. Israel said that while this bill is intended to expand the amount of information that companies can share with “policing services”, this term is not defined, and it could easily be expanded to include private investigators.
This bill is extremely dangerous to the privacy of Canadian citizens. In tandem with the mandatory data collection that would be obtained through online spying bill C-30, the potential for abuse and risk to cybersecurity is huge – with a complete lack of oversight.
We've sent a message to the House of Commons about the intrusive legislation that is online spying bill C-30. We told them that our privacy is important to us and that we expect them to respect it. It appears we are going to have to send that message again as they prepare to use a different approach to accomplish many of the same ends intended in the languishing online spying bill.
We in the Internet freedom community have encouraged all Canadians to speak out against this tandem threat to our personal information through StopSpying.ca, but we all need to tell our Members of Parliament to do the same. Tell your MP to stand up to warrantless online spying legislation at OpenMedia.ca/Stand.