The Minister of Justice is having a press conference as I type this, unveiling among other things, "lawful access" to telecommunications customers' idenfitying information without a warrant. Stay tuned for more details.
Update: Here's the media release from the government:
Government Of Canada Introduces Legislation To Fight Crime In The 21st Century
OTTAWA, June 18, 2009 – The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, together with the Honourable Peter Van Loan, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for York-Simcoe, Minister of Public Safety, and Mr. Daniel Petit, M.P. for Charlesbourg-Haute-Saint-Charles, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice today introduced in the House of Commons two separate pieces of legislation that will ensure law enforcement and national security agencies have the tools they need to fight crime and terrorism in today’s high-tech environment.
“Evolving communications technologies like the Internet, cell phones, and PDAs (personal digital assistants) clearly benefit Canadians in their day-to-day lives,” said Minister Nicholson. “Unfortunately, these technologies have also provided new ways of committing crimes such as distributing child pornography. We must ensure investigators have the necessary powers to trace and ultimately stop crimes.” While technology has advanced rapidly in the past two decades, law enforcement and national security agencies have faced increased difficulty in protecting the safety and security of Canadians. The Investigative Powers for the 21st Century (IP21C) Act will ensure that law enforcement officials have the tools they need to fight crime in today’s modern environment by updating certain existing offences as well as creating new investigative powers to effectively deal with crime in today’s computer and telecommunications environment.
“We must provide our law enforcement with the tools they need to keep our communities safe,” said Minister Van Loan. “High tech criminals will be met by high tech police. This is a great day for the victims and their families who have been long calling for these legislative changes, and those who work tirelessly every day to ensure that when there is a threat to safety police can intervene quickly.”
The Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century Act will require service providers to include interception capability in their networks. Requirements to obtain court orders to intercept communications will not be changed by this Act, which will require service providers to supply basic subscriber information to law enforcement agencies and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service on request. Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Sweden, already have similar legislation in place.
“The safety of our citizens, both in our communities and in cyberspace, is a responsibility that this Government takes very seriously,” said Mr. Petit. “The proposed legislation strikes an appropriate balance between the investigative powers used to protect public safety and the necessity to safeguard privacy and the rights and freedoms of Canadians.”
The Government carefully considered input provided by a broad range of stakeholders in developing these two pieces of legislation, including the telecommunications industry, civil liberties groups, victims’ advocates, police associations and provincial/territorial justice officials. As a result, the Government has ensured that the Investigative Powers for the 21st Century (IP21C) Act and theTechnical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century Act strike an appropriate balance between the need to protect the safety and security of Canada, the competitiveness of the telecommunications industry, and the privacy rights of Canadians.
An online version of the legislation will be available at http://www.parl.gc.ca/.
Darren Eke Press Secretary Office of the Minister of Justice 613-992-4621
Media Relations Department of Justice 613-957-4207
Media Relations Public Safety Canada 613-991-0657
Here is the government's summary of the warrantless access to customer information provisions:
Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century Act
Subscriber Information Component
Police forces and CSIS also require timely access to basic subscriber information as it is an essential tool for fighting crime and terrorism. Subscriber information refers to basic identifiers such as name, address, telephone number and Internet Protocol (IP) address, e-mail address, service provider identification and certain cell phone identifiers. These basic identifiers are often crucial in the early stages of an investigation, and without this basic information, police forces and CSIS often reach a dead-end as they are unable to obtain sufficient information to pursue an investigative lead or obtain a warrant.
Currently, there is no legislation specifically designed to require the provision of this information to police forces and CSIS in a timely fashion. As a result, the practices of releasing this information to police forces and CSIS vary across the country: some service providers release this information to law enforcement immediately upon request; others provide it at their convenience, often following considerable delays; while others insist on law enforcement obtaining search warrants before the information is disclosed. This lack of national consistency and clarity can delay or block investigations.
A consistent, balanced, well-regulated and accountable solution is needed for law enforcement and CSIS to obtain basic subscriber information in order to protect the public’s safety and security, while safeguarding individual privacy interests. The Act will accomplish this by compelling all service providers to release this information and creating an administrative model that provides for a reporting regime which ensures accountability by including consisting of a number of new, privacy-related safeguards. Safeguards include such things as the designation of a limited number of law enforcement and CSIS officials who can request information, record keeping, and both internal audits and external oversight.
This legislation provides law enforcement and CSIS with the updated tools needed in the face of rapidly changing technology, while providing maximum flexibility for industry, and creating rigorous safeguards to protect privacy. In doing so, this legislation strikes an appropriate balance between the needs of law enforcement and CSIS, the competitiveness of industry, and the privacy rights of Canadians.