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Canada's warrantless surveillance bill is back, and bigger than ever, with surveillance powers for US gov't, too

Bill C30, the sweeping Canadian warrantless Internet surveillance bill, is back from the dead. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews (who declared that opposition to his bill was tantamount to support for pedophiles) has been working behind the scenes to resurrect his legislation, joining forces with the US government in the name of "perimeter security." This proposed deal would expand the warrantless surveillance to US authorities, who could also access Canadians' private information.

OpenMedia.ca has been rounding up the names of Canadian MPs who oppose C-30, compiling a master list of the politicians who'll stand with Canadians against this kind of wholesale, international surveillance of their data. They want Canadians to pressure their MPs into taking the pledge.

Vic Toews, far from backing down, is pushing for a renewed multi-faceted scheme to erode Canadians’ online privacy rights: Toews has been working on a deal with the U.S. known as “Perimeter Security”, which could lead to the U.S. government having access to your private data.2 Additionally, the Federal Budget for this year includes a plan to cut funding to the watchdog responsible for overseeing Canada's spy agency, CSIS.3

All in all, Toews’ actions could lead Canada to become a large, recklessly-governed surveillance society.

But we have momentum now, with nearly two-thirds of opposition MPs on our side. You got us this far, now take a moment to get your friends, family, co-workers—everyone you know—to speak out about the costly scheme to collect your private online information at any time, without a warrant.

Letter to Supporters: Who's on your side?

Canadian politician: My internet spying bill would help us catch serial killers like Luka Magnotta

The Toronto Sun today reports that "politicians and their aides in Ottawa have been shocked by the gruesome killing" attributed to Luka Magnotta. But not too shocked to exploit it for their own political gain! Buried in a story about how the missing accused murderer will face charges of "Criminal harassment" for sending dead body parts to lawmakers, in addition to all the murder and ass-cheek-eating and corpse-sexing stuff:

Read the rest

Canada's warrantless surveillance bill is, improbably, dead

Remember Canada's Bill C-30, the sweeping surveillance bill proposed by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who declared that if you opposed unlimited, unaccountable, secret warrantless snooping on networked communications by the police and by appointed civilians, you "stand with the child pornographers?" The bill that was a sure thing to pass, given the Conservative majority in Parliament and its total commitment to the bill?

It's dead.

The Globe and Mail's John Ibbitson describes how a combination of social media campaigns (the #TellVicEverything hashtag, which saw Canadians revealing the trivial facts of their life to the snoopy minister; and the @Vikileaks30 account, which tweeted the humiliating details of Toews' ugly divorce and estrangement from his family) and Toews's own idiocy killed the seemingly unkillable plan:

That new bill, if there is one, will probably be shepherded by a different minister. That’s how much damage this botched legislation inflicted on the government and on Mr. Toews...

Normally, after a bill receives first reading, debate begins on second reading, which is approval in principle. Once the bill passes second reading, it goes to a committee, where only minor amendments are permitted before the bill returns for third and final reading.

Instead of this usual route, House Leader Peter Van Loan decided to send C-30 to the public safety committee first, where it is supposed to be extensively revised, before returning to the House for second and third reading.

But before any of that can happen, the rules state that the House must debate the motion to send the bill to committee. That debate must last at least five hours – in effect, one sitting day.

But that debate hasn’t happened. And sources report that it won’t happen before the House rises for summer recess. That makes C-30 dead in the water.

Here's our previous C-30 coverage.

How the Toews-sponsored Internet surveillance bill quietly died (via /.)

Canada's warrantless spying bill is coming back, and it's worse than before

Michael Geist writes in with news of Canada's bill C-30, the insane, overreaching warrantless spying bill that collapsed earlier this year on a wave of public disapprobation. As you might have suspected, it's back. Michael sez, "The Canadian government has placed Bill C-30, the lawful access/online surveillance bill on hold, but there is no reason to believe it is going away. In fact, a recent report Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights suggests that the changes coming to the bill may not address public concern but rather expand lawful access requirements even further. The committee report on the State of Organized Crime that includes recommendations that reinforce Bill C-30's mandatory warrantless disclosure of subscriber information and envision going beyond the bill by requiring both telecom companies and device manufacturers to assist in the decryption of encrypted communications as well as exploring mandatory verification of the identity of cellphone users. Moreover, Canadians shouldn't be looking to the telcos for help. A Bell spokesperson stated 'our primary concern in this area has always been the capacity of industry to implement any new requirements and who bears the cost.' That is a troubling position for many Canadians who rightly expect their telecom companies to also be concerned with the privacy of their customers." Cory

Canada's Parliament summons Anonymous to testify

Idlepigeon sez, "Canada's government has moved to call Anonyomous to testify before the House Affairs Comitte, over threats made to a minister who's been pushing to pass Bill C30---online surveillance legislation. In this very funny piece from the Globe and Mail's Tabatha Southey, the entire Internet shows up to testify."

Anonymous is so nebulous that for the federal government to call Anonymous to testify is almost to call the Internet itself – something the government may regret.

“I'd to thank the committee for the opportunity to speak today,” the first witness might say. “The threats against the minister are grave and on the advice of my consul, Mr. Fry, I'd just like to assure the minister that I … am never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna … ”

When political hacks subpoena online hackers, look out for :-(

(Image: Anonymous-Suit-black High Resolution PNG (2404 x 3890), a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from thinkanonymous's photostream)

Rick Mercer: valuing online privacy doesn't make you criminal, it makes you Canadian

In this rousing video, Canadian comedian and commentator Rick Mercer adds to his earlier most excellent rant on Canada's bill C-30, a pending domestic spying bill that abolishes the need for a warrant when police (and appointed special investigators) want to spy on your Internet use.

RMR: Rick's Rant - Online Privacy (via Michael Geist)

Anonymous video threatens Canada's domestic spying minister with embarrassing disclosures

In this YouTube video, someone in Anonymous garb has threatens a massive, embarrassing document dump for Vic Toews, the Canadian MP and Public Safety Minister whose domestic spying bill will require ISPs to log information on Canadians' Internet use and to turn that to police and appointed inspectors over without a warrant (and which immunizes ISPs from liability should they voluntarily turn over even more information, like the contents of email). The Anon demands that Toews retract his legislation.

Toews is a "family values" candidate who has consistently stood on a ticket that opposed gay marriage and espoused other supposedly conservative ideals, and he was publicly embarrassed when an anonymous Twitter user going by @Vikileaks30 tweeted choice quotes from the affidavits in Toews's messy divorce (which was precipitated by an affair with a much younger woman, whom Toews impregnated, and led to what his ex-wife described as an abandonment of his previous family). If there were further embarrassments of this nature in Toews's closet, it might alienate the voters who elected him on the basis of his "sanctity of the family" platform.

"All this legislation does is give your corrupted government more power to control its citizens," a synthesized voice says in one of the videos still posted to the site Monday.

"We know all about you, Mr. Toews, and during Operation White North we will release what we have unless you scrap this bill," it states.

The RCMP has been called in to investigate apparent death threats against Toews as controversy swirls around the legislation. Police said Monday they haven't yet decided whether a full investigation will be launched.

Hacker group Anonymous threatens Vic Toews

Canada's spy-bill minister has no idea what is in his own law

Vic Toews, the Canadian Public Safety minister who introduced a sweeping domestic spy bill (a bill whose name keeps changing and is likely to end up being called the "Utterly necessary and minimally invasive bill to catch terrorists who are, at this very moment, trying to murder your children, yes you, Bill of 2012") tells the CBC that he was surprised to learn that his bill lets any police officer request your personal information from ISPs

In an interview airing Saturday on CBC Radio's The House, Toews said his understanding of the bill is that police can only request information from the ISPs where they are conducting "a specific criminal investigation."

But Section 17 of the 'Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act' outlines "exceptional circumstances" under which "any police officer" can ask an ISP to turn over personal client information.

"I'd certainly like to see an explanation of that," Toews told host Evan Solomon after a week of public backlash against Bill C-30, which would require internet service providers to turn over client information without a warrant.

"This is the first time that I'm hearing this somehow extends ordinary police emergency powers [to telecommunications]. In my opinion, it doesn't. And it shouldn't."

Toews surprised by content of online surveillance bill (Thanks, Michael!)

Canada's spying bill also allows appointed "inspectors" unlimited access to ISP data

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!)

Newspaper claims Vikileaks Twitter account traced back to House of Commons

The @Vikileaks30 account on Twitter has been publishing embarrassing personal information about Canada's Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who is pushing for a domestic spying law that would require ISPs to gather and retain your personal information and turn it over to police without a warrant. The Vikileaks account kicked off with excerpts from the affidavits from Toews's very ugly divorce, including his ex-wife's allegations about his abuse of his official government expense accounts. The account created a nationwide stir over the domestic spying proposal, and has caused a rare (and possibly strategic*) climbdown from the majority Conservative government.

Now The Ottawa Citizen newspaper has tricked the person behind the anonymous account into visiting a website that it controls, and have traced back the IP address used in the trap to the House of Commons, suggesting that Toews's nemesis works for the federal government. The Citizen claims that the IP address has also been used to "frequently" edit Wikipedia "[give] them what appears to be a pro-NDP bias" (the New Democratic Party is the left-leaning opposition party in Parliament).

While it's impossible to say who is actually the using the address without a full-scale investigation undertaken by the House of Commons, a trace of the IP address shows it is also used by an employee of the House to post comments on a website for fans of the musician Paul Simon.

When reached by phone, the employee said that while he frequents the Paul Simon website he has nothing to do with the Vikileaks30 Twitter account.

A spokeswoman for the Speaker of the House of Commons said she is not aware of any investigation into whether any House IP addresses are behind the Vikileaks30 account. In order for an official government investigation to begin a complaint would have to be filed by a Member of Parliament.

Vikileaks30 linked to House of Commons IP address

* "Possibly strategic" because it looks like they're rushing this to committee, which is likely to go closed-door, exclude skeptical expert testimony, and speedily conclude that the bill is just fine as-is while maintaining a low public profile (Thanks, Colin!)