Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Lawful Access on CBC's The Current

The second hour of CBC Radio's "The Current" was devoted to a very interested discussion of latest on lawful access in Canada. You can listen in Real Audio by clicking here. A synopsis is here:

CBC Radio | The Current | Whole Show Blow-by-Blow:

The Current: Part 2

Lawful Access – Part One

We started this segment with the music of Robin Rimbaud, also known around the world as Scanner. He's a British musician and artist who began his career as a self-titled "techno data-pirate." Using a portable radio scanner, he would pluck cell-phone conversations from the ether--anything from arguments to phone-sex sessions to gossip---and then layer these voice snippets over music and sound. His work is haunting but controversial because he's often accused of invading other peoples' privacy.

Well, they're not planning to make music, but Canadian law enforcement groups are facing some similar privacy accusations when it comes to their latest plans to sample things from peoples' personal cyberspace.

This month, parliament debates a bill that will give the RCMP and CSIS access to everything WE access on the Internet---from the sites we surf, to the things we buy, to the people we instant message and e-mail. It's called the Lawful Access Initiative, and it's been in the works since October of 2000.

Those in favour say the new law will replace a terribly outmoded one, drawn up in the days before cell phones, voice mail and high speed internet. The original 1974 law HAS been updated but police say the latest technological leaps have left some of their investigations in the dust.

And so the debate over when email should just be between friends, has begun in earnest. Michael Geist is the Canada Research Chair in Internet & E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, and we reached him at his home.

Lawful Access – Part Two

Proponents of the new lawful access bill say that far from threatening our security and privacy, these changes go a long way towards increasing our government's ability to protect us.

Wesley Wark is one of them. He's a national security expert and professor at the University of Toronto's Munk Center for International Studies. He joined us from Guelph this morning.

Listen to The Current: Part 2

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