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Stop Online Spying!

September 20, 2011

Stop Online Spying

Flash! September 20: from

Under the intense pressure of a 70,000+ signature petition, the government has omitted “Lawful Access” (Online Spying) bills from the larger omnibus crime legislation announced today.

Stop Online Spying is a campaign to stop Canadian ‘lawful access’ legislation that is due to be re-introduced into the Fall 2011 Parliament. Prime Minister Harper has pledged to pass through this legislation as part of an omnibus bill within 100 days of taking office – legislation that would allow for unprecedented online spying without a warrant. Bill C-51, Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act would

…modernize certain offences in the Criminal Code (the Code) and the Competition Act to take into account new communications technol­ogies and to equip law enforcement agencies with new investigative tools that are adapted to computer crimes. To facilitate collaboration with foreign law enforcement agencies, the bill also amends the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act. According to the Department of Justice, the new investigative powers within the proposed legislation give law enforcement agencies the ability to address organized crime and terrorism activities online by:

  • enabling police to identify all the network nodes and jurisdictions involved in the transmission of data and trace the communications back to a suspect. Judicial authorizations would be required to obtain transmission data, which provides information on the routing but does not include the content of a private communication;
  • requiring a telecommunications service provider to temporarily keep data so that it is not lost or deleted in the time it takes law enforcement agencies to return with a search warrant or production order to obtain it;
  • making it illegal to possess a computer virus for the purposes of committing an offence of mischief; and
  • enhancing international cooperation to help in investigating and prosecuting crime that goes beyond Canada’s borders.

Kate Milberry reports on the activism surrounding the proposed legislation here

Critics of the proposed legislation are many:


The bill would make it mandatory for telecom providers, ISPs and search engines to monitor, store, retain and not disclose e-mail, Internet and telephone communications at the request of law and security officials. No warrant necessary……Seen in the context of the copyright wars, usage-based billing and vertical integration, the Investigative Powers has the potential of posing a great threat to personal privacy in the name of security. Each measure on its own chips away at the ideals of an open Internet. If left to stand, the combined force of all four measures could transform the Internet into one of the most regulated media spaces ever known.


The bill “will compel Internet service providers to disclose customer information to authorities without a court order. In other words—blunter words—law enforcement agencies will have a freer hand in spying on the private lives of Canadians.”

A coalition of academics and activists and privacy rights groups wrote a letter to Harper

Vincent Gogolek and Reilly Yeo’s op-ed in the Vancouver – Victoria Times-Colonist

Micheal Vonn of the BC Civil Liberties Union at Search Engine here’s petition can be found here at  along with more resources

And, check out these videos:

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