Criticism of C-30, Canada's proposed domestic spying law, has focused on the fact that the police could access certain kinds of ISP subscriber information without a warrant. But as Terry Milewski writes on the CBC, the bill also gives the government the power to appoint special inspectors who can monitor and copy all information that passes through an ISP, also without a warrant.
The inspector, says the bill, may "examine any document, information or thing found in the place and open or cause to be opened any container or other thing." He or she may also "use, or cause to be used, any computer system in the place to search and examine any information contained in or available to the system."
You read that right. The inspector gets to see "any" information that's in or "available to the system." Yours, mine, and everyone else's emails, phone calls, web surfing, shopping, you name it. But, if that sounds breath-taking enough, don't quit now because the section is still not done.
The inspector — remember, this is anyone the minister chooses — is also empowered to copy anything that strikes his or her fancy. The inspector may "reproduce, or cause to be reproduced, any information in the form of a printout, or other intelligible output, and remove the printout, or other output, for examination or copying."
Oh, and he can even use the ISP's own computers and connections to copy it or to email it to himself. He can "use, or cause to be used, any copying equipment or means of telecommunication at the place."
In short, there's nothing the inspector cannot see or copy. "Any" information is up for grabs. And you thought the new airport body scanners were intrusive?
Online surveillance bill opens door for Big Brother (Thanks, Craig!)
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.