Friday, August 19, 2005

Lawful access coming: Ottawa to give police more power to snoop on digital communications

Today's Globe &apmp; Mail is reporting that "lawful access" legislation will be introduced in the fall to give law enforcement greater access to digital communications of Canadians:

The Globe and Mail: Ottawa to give police more power to snoop:

"... The law would force Internet service providers to retain records on the Internet use of its clients in such a way that it can be easily retrieved by police, doing away with the need in many cases to seize an individual's computer as part of an investigation.

In her submission to the government earlier this year, Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart concluded that Ottawa and the police have not provided enough justification to warrant such a law.

'We remain skeptical about the need for these potentially intrusive and far-reaching measures,' she wrote. Ms. Stoddart noted the law could give police access to global-positioning-system data from cellphones combined with electronic banking data that could allow the government to track an individual's every move.

'The digits we punch into a modern telephone do not just connect us to another party, they can also reveal our financial transactions, PIN numbers and passwords, or even health information.' Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa law professor who took part in the consultations, said the proposed law goes 'well, well beyond' updating references to analog technology. 'For individual Canadians, this is an issue that should attract enormous interest because it fundamentally reshapes the Internet in Canada, creating significant new surveillance powers,' he said...."

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