Canada's sweeping new, evidence-free electronic spying bill

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29 Responses to “Canada's sweeping new, evidence-free electronic spying bill”

  1. Shinkuhadoken says:

    Remember when the True North was strong and free?

  2. Dan Hibiki says:

    yeah I’m in a riding where Conservatives can’t win, so I doubt that they would care or that my MP isn’t already opposing this bill.

    • doug rogers says:

      You’re a citizen of the country, not beholden merely to the party. 

      • AP says:

        Doug, that statement belies a level of incomprehension about how the Canadian system works. With a simple majority first past the post system of representation that is precisely what we are: beholden to parties.

        • doug rogers says:

          OP seems to say that there is nothing more he can do to protest as his voice is already with his MP.

          This restates the CPC story of mandate as an argument to give up speaking.

          And as you no doubt well know, they do not have a majority of the popular vote, they do have a plurality of seats in the house – easily confused with a majority. Sadly. 

          The voting system we have has been skewed, yes, to party affiliation. It used to work differently, and does work differently in other commonwealth nations. Specifically, there is nothing wrong with the checks and balances in a pure or purer House of Commons system. Presently our Canadian system can only be fixed by some sort of PR.

        • yt says:

          In the past, Harper has proven that he is more of a populist than his most ardent and vocal critics have made him out to be. Although the early indicators under majority CPC rule are that he and the party are less likely to listen to opposition, I’m more inclined to believe that Harper et al. will still compromise to overwhelming demonstrations of public will.

  3. shutz says:

    One pretty obvious problem I can see is that such a law would make some of the major service providers “plaintiff, judge, jury and executioner”.

    Take Bell, for instance.  There’s the Internet division.  There’s the Bell TV division.  And then there’s the Bell Media division.  There’s way too much potential for conflicts of interest, and major abuse of such a law.

    And with the major ISPs involved in content-creation, only the smaller ISPs are going to fight against such a law.

    At this point, I think we should start pushing for forcing all those big media conglomerates to spin off their ISP divisions from the TV distribution and content-creation parts of these businesses.

    They control too much.  The most obvious example is data caps on broadband Internet, which only make sense when you consider that they want to prevent Internet-based competition to their cable TV / satellite TV services.  That’s unfair competition.  Bell should know better, as it was once forced to share its phone line infrastructure with the competition to prevent it from being a monopoly.

    The only alternative I can see would be to nationalize Internet service, taking over the network infrastructure from the ISPs, and offering a better deal to the entire population, while increasing broadband penetration to the less-populated areas.

    Québec did it with electric power more than half a century ago, due to the abuses of the individual electric companies, who had no interest in the bigger projects that Hydro-Québec eventually built.

    But I doubt Harper would take the chance of angering his corporate friends in this way.

    • Rayonic says:

      Wouldn’t nationalizing internet access increase the risk of government spying?

    • yt says:

      There are major and important differences between the electric grid and the internet.

      Just as an example: I would love a fibre optic line into my place, but I also know that it is not a future-proof technology. Toronto Hydro has infrastructure IN USE that is at least 80 years old.

      Hydro Quebec and Ontario, let us not forget, were able to come into existence due in no small part to the specious “right” to the natural resources the state made claim to as a result of colonization.

      If the state were to enter into the internet infrastructure game, it wouldn’t have the same competitive advantages that Hydro had when it claimed the water-powers of the province as a gift from nature for the people. And that is to say nothing of the technical reasons why electrical grids (or more specifically: transmission/distribution) are more properly “natural monopolies” than the internet is.

  4. Robbo says:

    I am SO tired of all this relentless horseshit.

  5. Guest says:

    Uh, Canada?

  6. joeposts says:

    The Harper government is playing it classy, like they always do, by demonizing opponents of this legislation as child porn fans.

    When asked general questions about the bill during Question Period by the Liberal public safety critic, public safety minister Vic Toews responded simply, “He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers.”

    I don’t know why all you pedos have a problem with this bill, eh? ;-)

    • A Hermit says:

      I saw that comment on the CBC last night and immediately fired off an angry (but polite) e-mail to my Conservative MP. I told him it’s exactly that contemptuous, demonizing attitude toward citizens who might disagree with some policy proposal that makes some of us concerned about what the government might do with it’s new powers.

  7. Tichrimo says:

    Honest question here — how are these provisions different from current laws regarding tracking telephone usage and tapping phone calls?  Is it just the question of volume (i.e. On average, I use my phone about once a month, and my internet connection about once a minute)?

    • Shinkuhadoken says:

      As far as I know, no telephone company was ever asked to keep a recording of every conversation between two people using their system in case the police would like a copy of it later.

      That’s basically what they’re asking ISPs and cell providers to do now. They want your timestamped text messages, they want to track all the locations your cell has been, they want a list of websites you visited, and oh, they can’t let on the police are watching you (and they don’t even need a warrant). It’s a giant fishing expedition in which you no longer need to be suspected of a crime before being investigated for one. Plus ISP rates will undoubtedly skyrocket to implement the spying technology required to accommodate the permanent loss of your freedom to Big Brother–oops, I mean the Harper Government(TM).

      • yt says:

        It’s hardly more than people are already willing to trade for free services like facebook, google (everything), etc.

        It’s sad that Harper is trying to use fear to get people to consent to this stuff, because it would probably be much easier for them to team up with the aforementioned giants in the field.

        That they are going about things this way is disconcerning.

      • Tichrimo says:

        But the courts issue warrants for wire taps, yes?  And that _would_ record all of your incoming and outgoing conversations on the telephone.

        And telephone companies _do_ track all of your calls (by duration and target number) which, again, is what is being proposed here for your internet usage.  

        Again, the bill’s provisions boil down to: “always tracked; accessible by warrant”.  How is this conceptually different from the existing policies regarding the telephone?  

  8. Good Luck getting past a Constitutional Challenge.  Email or mail, SMS text or Phone Call, all are governed by the Telecommunications Act yet why is it Mail or Phones require a warrant to tap but Internet will not?  THAT alone is grounds for a challenge!

  9. Vic Toews is another unfortunate case of an old white guy not knowing what he’s talking about when it comes to the Internet and the law.

  10. BrianOman says:

    Didn’t the ministry (er… canadian gov. … er Harper Gov, sorry sire!) already release their hounds to ‘correct’ misleading information posted about them on the internets? If they get this wonderful new bill passed, would they stop paying the cyber-culture-cops? Doubtful. :(

  11. hakuin says:

    so now they can stop any expose of government criminality in the one venue left that they couldn’t control.

    • ialreadyexist says:

      Winner, winner, chicken dinner!  All these laws are about protecting the current system in power.  Nothing more.  And, by “the current system”, I am NOT referring to a single political party, but to them all.

  12. foobar says:

    Ultimately, this is a technological problem. While it’s worth fighting these laws in the short term, the long term goal should be to make it impossible for ISPs to comply with these orders.

  13. Sarge Misfit says:

    Just imagine if this was applied to telephone or postal services. After all, criminals use telephones and write letters, too.

    The cops should have actual evidence of a crime BEFORE they go snooping. There is simply too much room for abuse of power.

  14. CuriousCursor says:

    I’m thankful to encryption standards.

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