Canada Proposes Internet Spy Bill

OTTAWA — Canadian legislation that would allow the government sweeping access to Internet subscriber information without a warrant — including IP addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and other information — is being introduced today.

According to reports, the proposed measure was created to protect children against Internet predators, but the only mention of the target is in Bill C-30’s title.

The new law would force ISPs and mobile phone companies to install technology for real-time surveillance and give information to police, national security agencies and the country’s Competition Bureau.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews cited child porn as a justification for the bill. He said, "I believe that unless this legislation is adopted, this will in fact allow child pornographers and organized crime to flourish."

But more than 80,000 people have signed an online petition against the measure and opponents insist that the government has not demonstrated any need for the proposed new powers, including access to subscriber information without a warrant.

Toews argued that the six subscriber identifiers that would be obtained without a warrant would be needed in order to apply for a warrant in the first place.

The Public Safety Minister said that the opponents "can either stand with us or with the child pornographers.”

But Green Party leader Elizabeth May fired back, "Apparently if you care about civil liberties in this country you obviously side with child pornographers, murderers. You're the worst form of scum if you believe the Charter’s an important instrument for the rule of law in this country. I'm horrified by this kind of rhetoric. It demeans us all."

Similar legislation has been introduced in the past by both Conservative and Liberal governments in the House of Commons.