Canadians Opposed Surveillance LegislationThe governing party of Canada – the Conservatives – was planning an omnibus crime legislation which was supposed to include surveillance provision. Although the bill is not yet tabled, opposition to this bill is already growing.
Recently the web was hit by the suggestions that the Canadian surveillance bill may be bundled in to omnibus crime legislation and tabled in the near future. That wasn’t exactly news for industry observers, but the news was that multiple experts, academics and organizations have stepped up to formally oppose the bill in question. They have recently sent an open letter to Prime Minister where they voiced their concerns about the proposed legislation. The opposers cited previous laws making up the surveillance legislation in the last government session and expressed their concerns about them. The particular concern is that three of the proposed bills would have serious negative implications for the privacy rights of the citizens. In addition, the controversial aspects would not receive the scrutiny they deserve if they were rolled into an omnibus bill.
The main focus of concern was the ease by which the country’s ISPs, social networks, and even their handsets and cars can be turned into instruments to spy on their activities, thus implicating fundamental rights and freedoms. In addition, the letter contains a very detailed list of other concerns, warning that the costs of enforcing such measures would finally be passed on to consumers, because it is a new cost of doing business for Internet service providers. Actually, it has precedent: in France, when the country’s government forced Internet service providers to adopt a “three-strikes” regime, the broadband providers just passed the costs of implementing the system on to their subscribers.
Although the letter was signed by a lot of people and organizations, there’s a difference between when the citizens were fighting dangerous bills in the past and today. The matter is that the Conservatives have a majority government, which means they are able to pass whatever bills they want without fearing an opposition. In other words, no evidence or reason would matter to the government, it will simply legislate how it likes, and this is the government the country is stuck with.