Saturday, December 03, 2011

Public Safety minister continues to mislead about "phone book information" and lawful access

In today's Globe & Mail, the Public Safety Minister continues to peddle the wholly erroneous and completely misleading line about "phone book information".

Dec. 3: Letters to the editor - The Globe and Mail

The poop on e-snoop

Re Tories Have Yet To Prove Case For E-Snooping Bill (online, Dec. 1): Technology is a critical aspect of the way Canadians do business and communicate with each other. But as technology advances, criminal activities become easier. The government will propose legislation that strikes an appropriate balance between the privacy rights of Canadians and the ability of police to enforce our laws.

We will allow police to access “phone book”-type information from Internet service providers. If it becomes necessary to find a suspect's name, address, phone number or other similar identifier, ISPs will be required to disclose that information. ISPs will be required to have the capacity to allow police to investigate – strictly with a warrant – all communication methods.

Let me be clear: No legislation proposed will create powers for police to read e-mails without a warrant. Our proposed approach of linking an Internet address to subscriber information is on par with a phone book linking phone numbers to a residential address.

Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, Ottawa

If you want a definitive view on how this is completely misleading, check out this great analysis by Christopher Parsons: "The Anatomy of Lawful Access Phone Records".

Most notably, the article he is responding to is about the fact that the government hasn't made any compelling case for why it is necessary and a letter to the editor would have been a good opportunity to do so. He didn't. Not at all. Not one iota. They haven't even attempted to make a compelling case.

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