July 2012 Archives

By: Virago

Screen shot 2021-07-06 at 2.48.40 PM.pngImage source Flickr

Back in February of this year, the Harper government boldly introduced a new bill entitled the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act , known officially as Bill C-30. It is a proposed amendment to the Canadian Criminal Code that would require telecommunication service providers to log all personal subscriber information such as their name, address, unlisted and cell phone numbers and IP address (one's online identity) for release to the authorities upon their potential request. More importantly, the bill would make backdoor functions mandatory, securing unannounced remote access to individuals' electronics and the information within them by bypassing the need for permission or passwords. And all of this, without a warrant! This bill would effectively grant the government the surveillance power to track and monitor the digital lives of all innocent and law-abiding Canadians - not just the very minute portion suspected of child-related crimes. The current government is not beyond meaningless bill name changes to sound more appealing, false justifications and childish proclamations, or even infringing on civil right in order to force through this privacy-invading bill under the guise of "protecting children".

The bill was presented by Conservative MP and Public Safety Minister Vic Toews as a necessary step to end child trafficking and pornography in Canada. He said, "This is legislation that civilized, democratic countries around the world recognize is important in order to deal with some very significant problems."1 (CBC News) The problem with that claim, however, is that beyond the mention of "protecting children from predators" in its title, the words "children" or "internet predator" oddly do not appear anywhere in the bill's actual content. Furthermore, Bill C-30 was originally labeled the Lawful Access Act - a name that mayhave rubbed citizens the wrong way, one that might confirm any uneasy feeling that the government would like access to more of our information. No wonder they decided to change it. Shortly after its appearance, the bill was quickly tabled. An hour or so later, an identical document reemerged carefully renamed the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act. Perhaps they thought this wording might better tug at people's heartstrings, yet Canadians still question its true intentions despite the latest unchanged incarnation.


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