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Proposed Canadian Law Would Allow Warrantless Searches 195

An anonymous reader writes "A bill introduced by Canada's Minister of Public Safety will allow police to (warrantlessly) force ISPs to provide access to any requested digital traffic records, reports News 1130. Police lobbied for the bill as means of 'combatting gangsters, pedophiles, or terrorists,' but apparently they find the legal principles of judicial review and probable cause, as well as a constitutional provision against 'unreasonable search or seizure', to be too much of a hassle, and would rather be able to search anyone's web or e-mail traffic at their own discretion and without any oversight. All in the name of public safety, of course."
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Proposed Canadian Law Would Allow Warrantless Searches

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  • Despicable. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by giesen ( 820885 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:00PM (#28380549)
    'Nuff said.
  • Re:Children (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:02PM (#28380581)

    no, apparently some people in Canada are thinking of the children a bit too much...

    in the nude.

  • Be reasonable... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by evil_aar0n ( 1001515 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:03PM (#28380601)

    It's for the good of the country, you know. And if you don't support this type of legislation, you must be some sort of "pedophile, terrorist or gangster."

  • Come on, people! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by emudoug42 ( 977380 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:04PM (#28380621)
    Do people really hate the police that much? I mean, asking for them to get a WARRANT before they invade your invade your life? Do you have any idea how much of a hassle that is? We should just hand them over every little piece of information about our lives at the drop of a hat! It's the least we can do.

    </heavy sarcasm>
  • by Klistvud ( 1574615 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:12PM (#28380743)

    And it is showing us that civil liberties won't end with a bang, they will end with a pathetic, humiliating trifle. Apparently, we will forfeit our liberties not in order to fight terrorism, AIDS, exploitation, or poverty, but to "protect" some copyrighted content or to prevent some teenager from downloading porn. A really sad way to go, Democracy!

  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:14PM (#28380775) Homepage

    "Police lobbied for the bill as means of 'combatting gangsters, pedophiles, or terrorists,'"

    I like that phrasing, it's like they aren't really sure. "Why do we need these powers? To combat gangsters, pedophiles... or terrorists, yeah terrorists too. Or maybe identity thieves? Whatever makes you turn your brain off and do what we want. That's why we need them."

  • It's not like... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sibko ( 1036168 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:20PM (#28380863)

    Gray says the public doesn't need to worry about invasion of privacy because getting information from an ISP is only one small step in an investigation. She also says it's not like police knock down doors as soon as they have a name connected to an Internet address.

    What??? That is EXACTLY what happens when the police don't need warrants.

    This bill makes it possible for it to happen, with no safeguards whatsoever. A well intentioned, but poorly thought-out piece of legislation that gives the police far too much power.

  • by d474 ( 695126 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:21PM (#28380877)

    ...what next?
    After the government watches every single aspect of what we do with our electronic communications, what next?
    Will they actually catch all the pedo's & terrorists? Will all those crimes disappear? Or will those crimes continue to occur?
    Of course they'll continue to occur, so will they move on to thought control with nanotechnologies? Seriously. Will the argument still convince everyone to allow for thought monitoring because, "How else will we catch all the pedo's and terrorists! Think of the children!"

    So then they watch all our thoughts, will the crimes then go away? Probably not, people will figure out ways to block those nano-bots somehow. Then what?
    Then they will want to control our thoughts - because, because that way we can control everyone and stop crime and protect the children! But will crime stop? Yes. But then, the crime stopped because freedom stopped.
    Crime and freedom go hand-in-hand. Can't have one without the other.

  • by T Murphy ( 1054674 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:26PM (#28380933) Journal
    Down with the pedophiles! They take away our rights!
  • by davester666 ( 731373 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:32PM (#28381033) Journal

    Ah yes, it's new, therefore existing rules don't apply.

    Maybe the rules should be rewritten so that the police can open all mail without a warrant because it's passing through a public domain?

    Maybe CanadaPost could be grandfathered in to 'still needs a warrant' but for the newbies, Fedex and UPS, they would be required to have a station at all their sorting locations for the police to process every single item going through their system.

  • by atomic777 ( 860023 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:34PM (#28381059)
    An amazing concentration of hatred towards multiple targets the propagandists have been able to induce in you. All in two short and simple sentences, you've got hatred, mocking or xenophobia towards: immigrants, Canada, Mexico and France!

    And I said brain drain, the cherry picking of highly educated or talented people. Today, no average, sane Canadian would pack up and move to US illegally as an economic migrant. An out-of-work auto worker in Michigan is a hell of a lot worse off than his counterpart across the border in Ontario. Who should be afraid of the refugee problem? And meanwhile, "patrols" are being stepped up on the Great Lakes! Pretty hilarious.
  • by Rycross ( 836649 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:35PM (#28381081)

    Its gotten to the point where I'm inherently distrustful of anyone that claims to want to protect me from terrorists, or want to protect children. It's like code-words for "I want to introduce some legislation that violates your rights, and have to make this palatable."

  • by JobyOne ( 1578377 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:37PM (#28381119) Homepage Journal
    The internet is a public domain, huh? I can't tell if you're a troll so I'll answer in all seriousness.

    The internet is primarily a communication tool, right? So are private gatherings, phones, snail mail, etc. How would you feel if the man were allowed to peer into those without oversight? The police reading your email or tracking what you do online is ultimately no different from tracking what you do on the phone or in your own home. You have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and that must be respected if we want to live in a free society.

    P.S. I'm an upstanding citizen and really do have nothing to hide, it's a matter of principle.
  • Re:Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by twidarkling ( 1537077 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:40PM (#28381167)

    This isn't even the first time the bill's been proposed. As another provided a link to a Michael Geist post, this almost exact bill has been proposed by the Liberals previously. The fact that both the Liberals AND Conservatives have proposed it lends credence to your point.

    Further more, even if it WAS a legitimate push, it's only been introduced. The amount of stuff that's introduced and just dies in committee is rather staggering. If this makes it past first vote, I'd be stunned.

    Still writing my rep to let them know my thoughts, though.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:48PM (#28381265)

    And what makes you believe the police wouldn't just handle the information in whatever way they please once they get it? Read the source again, no warrant = NO JUDICIAL OVERSIGHT.

    The police may have a legitimate case to need the data (and most of the time they do), but the whole concept of judicial review is it's NOT FOR THEM TO DECIDE. We have independent courts and judges who are getting paid to be a neutral party and balance the rights of the community (represented by the police) vs. the rights of the individual. The police are NOT neutral - they have a vested interest in prosecuting a case, just like a defendant has a vested interest in the prosecution to fail. Sometimes the police are right, sometimes the defendant, that's why a neutral and independent court needs to decide matters. Since in this case the police want to dig into a suspects private data, a court must decide whether the request is legitimate or not. The police's own word is NOT good enough.

  • Re:Children (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:53PM (#28381329)
    He must be in a gang
  • by dimeglio ( 456244 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:56PM (#28381381)

    A people that values its safety above its freedom soon loses both. (a twist from a D.D. Eisenhower's quote)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:56PM (#28381387)
    Hockey came from Canada. 'Nuff said. HOCKEY RULES!
  • by T Murphy ( 1054674 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:57PM (#28381401) Journal
    Luckily we have the Iranians to demonstrate for us how a democracy should work.
  • by dimeglio ( 456244 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:59PM (#28381419)

    Sure. You're 100% correct. Why can't I snoop your bank account's user name and password? All that encryption is getting in the way. Oh wait, I got it now. Thanks to the new law from the Minister of Public Safety.

  • Re:Easy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BabyDuckHat ( 1503839 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:59PM (#28381425)
    Actually, you may not be far off. It's a common tactic to propose a bill that actually asks for far more than you want. That gives the opposition the chance to gut it or to come together for a sunshine-time compromise, while still allowing what you really wanted to get passed.

    EvilPerson1: How can I make it legal to beat people with boards?
    EvilPerson1: "I propose we give law-enforcement the authority to pull off peoples ears with with pilers and beat them with boards with nails in them."
    EvilPerson2: "Objection! That's just barbaric!"
    EvilPerson1: "Fine, let's compromise: They can't do the pliers thing, but they can still hit them with boards."
    EvilPerson2: "Getting there, but I'm still not comfortable with the nails."
    EvilPerson1: "You wimp. Fine, no nails." Sucker.
    EvilPerson2: "That's better."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 18, 2009 @06:00PM (#28381447)

    1. The Internet is not public domain. It is a Series of Tubes(R), but most pieces of these tubes (including the start point, the end point, and most importantly the ISP point) are privately owned.

    2. ISPs are under contractual and privacy-law obligation not to release user data unless forced by a court warrant (which, in addition to requesting the information, will lay out to the police how and where that data can or can not be used). Or unless this bill is passed, of course, in which case the police will read and distribute it when where and how they feel like.

    3. Tapping into ISP data will allow vastly more invasive searches of a person's traffic than an endpoint website. The endpoint website will at most tell what a person submitted to that website, and then can be circumvented by proxies. The ISP data will tell everything about a particular user account, i.e. a person's, total net activity.

    4. There is a constitutional difference between an endpoint willing to give up data I send to it, and being forced to do so against its will.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 18, 2009 @06:04PM (#28381493)

    So if a cop wanted information on his ex there would be no trace as to how he got it... Yup no harm done here.... Maybe we should remove the audit trails on government databases as well, just to be safe.

  • by itsybitsy ( 149808 ) * on Thursday June 18, 2009 @06:11PM (#28381595)

    Yikes, these people think they rule the world or part of it anyway. I hereby revoke their right to do this. If they implement this they become the State Based Terrorists that they themselves fear!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 18, 2009 @06:13PM (#28381607)

    Which is just the argument everybody brought up against anybody opposing the new consorship law in Germany.
    Especially the biggest newspaper in Europe (which mostly publishes bullshit) which politicians are afraid of.
    Sad, really.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 18, 2009 @06:44PM (#28382041)

    Ummm... where's this fantasy version of the US you speak of? Everything you've said doesn't even remotely describe the United States.

    The US is very divided and there's a strong right-wing group but by no means in the entire US conservative. Usually people in rural areas tend to be right wing while people in urban areas tend to be liberal. Liberal is really only used as a swear word on Fox News which exists solely to be a right-wing news network.

    I've never thought of Canada as violent but you sure make it sound like it is. You make it seem like everybody and their grandma has a gun in Canada with the number of people you listed with a gun. I grew up in the US and I have never known a single person who owned a gun. Gun owners are most definitely a small minority in the US. Americans would generally take for granted that a house does NOT have a gun. And most people that do own a gun claim to do so for protection.

    Extremely nationalistic? Sounds to me like you've been watching too many TV stereotypes. Do you think that every American wears a cowboy hat and shouts "Yee-haw!" too? Being extremely nationalistic and ignorant of the rest of world is a stereotypical trait of rural red necks.

    Funnily enough, you have shown that you are quite ignorant of even your neighbouring country. You shouldn't base your assumptions on what you see on TV. Even if the content is from the US, it's full of over blown or outdated stereotypes. You should actually try visiting a country before making a bunch of absurd assumptions. Even if those assumptions are in part based on Americans you have met you do have to remember that most Americans don't have a passport and hence don't travel abroad thus the people you do meet outside of the US aren't exactly representative of the country.

    After all, if I based my assumptions on you, I'd think Canadians are quite ignorant and simple minded(for assuming that a country of 300 million people could be imbued with such over simplistic stereotypes) but I've actually been to Canada and know better.

  • by Chirs ( 87576 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @06:54PM (#28382173)

    The solution to judges not being up to speed on technical issues is not to drop privacy protections--it's to educate the judges.

    If the police suspect wrongdoing but don't have enough evidence to get a warrant, the proper course of action is to alert the ISP that there is suspicious traffic coming from an IP address owned by them.

    The ISP should then look into it, and if they determine that there is illicit activity (a compromised zombie machine, for instance), the correct solution is for them to contact the subscriber and let them know. If the subscriber doesn't do anything about it, the ISP can disconnect them for violating the terms of service. There is no need for the police to know who the subscriber is.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 18, 2009 @07:06PM (#28382345)
    George Bush? I don't see Obama too quick to repeal these laws.

    If anything he's got his dick firmly in the ass of every American. You bitches are getting fucked.

    But it's ok. Keep on the party line blinders.
  • by afxgrin ( 208686 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @07:38PM (#28382739)

    I can't agree with your statement. America seems to have much more visibility, and presence of government than Canada. Just look at the military you have - it dwarfs anything we're doing on a per capita basis. Operating a standing army of that size requires big government. The Food Stamp Program alone is a huge undertaking.

    Just a basic comparison of military expenditures []:

    United States - $ 651,163,000,000 USD
    Canada - $ 17,944,621,100 USD

    Considering the United States' population is about 10X that of Canada's, per capita, this is quite significant. To handle that kind of spending, you need a ridiculously sized government to accompany it. Someone needs to rubber stamp forms all day...

  • Re:Despicable. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nakor BlueRider ( 1504491 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @08:06PM (#28383213)

    I'd personally recommend avoiding more extreme terms like "police state" in such emails or letters, as you might be more likely to be disregarded or passed off as an outlier.

    That said, I agree that all Canadian /.ers should be sending letters or emails such as this to their MPs. The points you make in your email are well described.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @09:07PM (#28383869)

    You mean, like, rioting when your government steals elections and is generally acting like they're above the law?

    Yeah, I think we could use a good dose of that soon...

  • by Halborr ( 1373599 ) <Halborr@gmail.CHEETAHcom minus cat> on Thursday June 18, 2009 @09:10PM (#28383913)
    Hmm... How is the internet a public domain if the information lies on [disks in] privately-owned servers?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 18, 2009 @10:24PM (#28384541)

    Turn about is fair play...I think we should also require that emails, logfiles of all police officers, etc. be placed online for the purvue of the public. I mean, if they haven't done anything wrong, then they've got nothing to hide, right?

    Just like there should be cameras and videotapes of all police activities, etc., available to the public. I mean, after all, if they aren't doing anything wrong, they have nothing to hide, right? :-)

  • My letter to my MP (Score:3, Insightful)

    by davecb ( 6526 ) * <> on Friday June 19, 2009 @10:06AM (#28389371) Homepage Journal

    The Conservatives, of course, are now pushing their spin on the need for internet service providers like Rogers to record and disclose personal identifying information without a warrant.

    As a former postmaster for <a canadian university>, I had a legal duty to protect this sort of information unless the University received a court order, or, in the specific and limited case of a student, if they were brought before an academic tribunal to answer for an action.

    In the entire time I was there, over five year in all, only one academic investigation took place, and no legal ones, despite this being the era in which some blatantly unsuitable material was broadcast via the "" newsgroup.

    I would not enjoy knowing that the University or an ISP was going to hand my name, address and billing information to a police officer without a warrant, especially as the web is now a much more civilized place.

    Nor would I like to have them reading through logs of who I spoke to or what I read.

    The librarians of the Canada had the best thought-out set of rules: only a strictly limited amount of information was kept about who had borrowed a particular book, it was available only with a warrant, and it was destroyed as soon as the book was returned undamaged.

    That is the kind of behavior we aimed for at the university, and is the least I expect out of an ISP. Neither they nor the state has any compelling interest in my activities unless they can go before a judge and make a real case that a crime may have occurred.


Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp