The Public Safety Minister responds to the scathing criticism of "lawful access" by the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (see here):
National Post · Nov. 2, 2011 | Last Updated: Nov. 2, 2011 3:07 AM ET
Re: Privacy Invasion Shouldn't Be 'Lawful,' Ann Cavoukian, Oct. 31.
I would like to clear up some clear inaccuracies in Ontario Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian's opinion piece regarding our government's proposed lawful access legislation.
Technology is a critical aspect of the way Canadians do business and communicate with each other. However, as technology advances, many criminal activities become easier. In the face of this reality, we will be proposing legislation that strikes an appropriate balance between the privacy rights of Canadians and the ability of police to enforce our laws.
There are two components to our lawful access proposals. First, we will allow police officers to access "phone book" information from telecom service providers. If it becomes necessary to find a suspect's name, address, phone number or other similar identifier, companies will be required to disclose that information. Second, telecom providers will be required to have the capacity to allow for police officers to investigate, with a warrant, all communications methods.
Let me be clear. No legislation by a Conservative government will create powers for police to read emails without a warrant. Our proposed approach of linking an internet address to subscriber information is on par with the phone book linking phone numbers to an address. What this will NOT allow for is access to private communications without a warrant.
That being said, our message is clear: if you use technology to commit crimes - like distributing child pornography - the police will apprehend you and you will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, Ottawa.