Gov't Moves to Access Personal Info With Minimal Public Input (Updated)

With everyone busy talking about 'veiled intentions' the federal government playmakers are hoping the crowd is distracted enough for them to try a sneaky wraparound play from behind the net and slip one past the goalie.

I think we've all seen this movie. Part of a bigger story. Now it appears we have a Canadian adaptation

Government agencies are moving to gain access to telephone and internet customers' personal information without first getting a court order, according to a document obtained by that is raising privacy issues.

Mmmnnnn, OK. Which government agencies are we talking about? Oh, that would be these ones.

Public Safety Canada and Industry Canada have begun a consultation on how law enforcement and national securitiy agencies can gain lawful access to customers' information. The information would include names, addresses, land and cellphone numbers, as well as additional mobile phone identification, such as a device serial number and a subscriber identity module (SIM) card number.

The consultation also seeks input on access to e-mail addresses and IP addresses. An IP address is a number that can be used to identify a computer's location.

The Wetsuit Dino Rider and Steve's new Quebec best boy (Maxime Bernier). Yeah, I really, and I mean triple please really with whipped cream and a strawberry on top, trust these two.

Because, of course, pesky things like privacy rights and the Charter of Rights are just so inconvenient.

It says enforcement agencies may need the information for matters other than probes, such as informing next-of-kin of emergency situations, or because they are at the early stages of an investigation.

There, aren't you feeling better already?

Not so fast.

Michael Geist, chair of internet and e-commerce law at the University of Ottawa, said the process is not being conducted publicly as two previous consultations have been, in 2002 and in 2005.

The consultation has not been published in the Canada Gazette, where such documents are normally publicized, or on the agencies' websites.

Interested parties have been given until Sept. 27 to submit their comments, which is a short consultation time, Geist said. Several organizations and individuals contacted by only received their documents this week.

(Remember Luongo only took his eye off that puck for a blink)

Worse yet.

More pointedly, a number of parties that took part in the previous consultations, including privacy and civil liberty advocates — and even some telecommunication service providers — have not been made aware of the discussion, he said.

"It's really disturbing particularly in light of the fact that they've had two prior consultations on lawful access in the past, so it's not as if they don't know the parties that are engaged on this issue," Geist said.

Officials with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association were not aware of the consultation.

Holy f****ng shit! I don't think for a moment that any of that is accidental or has anything to do with parliament's recess.

Geist said the other problem with the consultation is that it appears as if the government agencies have already made up their minds on how to proceed and are simply conducting it for appearances' sake.

"The fear is that law enforcement knows what it would like to do — it would like to be able to obtain this information without court oversight — and so it has pulled together this consultation in the hope that they can use that to say they have consulted, and here are the safeguards that the consultation thought was appropriate."

So, my American friends, still thinking of Canada as a 'sane' alternative? Hmmm.. so Gonzales resigns down there and it's really because he's taken a job up here - 'free' health care ya' know? Well, no. Sure seems that way.

Now, you would think that Canada's Gnu Goobermints would already be aware that part of the USA P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act dealing with these sorts of privacy abuses was recently overturned by a US federal judge?

Michael Geist wrote on the issue in his blog yesterday.

this is an important issue and I believe that the government should hear from all interested stakeholders, not a hand-picked, secret group.  In the consultation, Public Safety claims that "law enforcement agencies have been experiencing difficulties in consistently obtaining basic CNA information from telecommunications service providers.  In the absence of explicit legislation, a variety of practices exists among TSPs with respect to the release of basic customer information, e.g. name, address, telephone number, or their Internet equivalents."  After identifying what it considers CNA data (including cell phone identifiers, email addresses, and IP addresses), the departments propose a series of safeguards including limits on who would have access to the information, limited uses of the information, and internal audits on the use of these powers.

And as with many things enacted and attempted by the Harper Preservatives (hello, unsubstantiated tax leakage and electoral fraud by veiled women) this has a similar stench.

the claim that law enforcement has faced "difficulties" in obtaining CNA data remains completely unsubstantiated (to the extent that some ISPs ask for a court order, this reflects an appropriate balance that Parliament established when it enacted PIPEDA). 

PIPEDA? That's Canada's Privacy Legislation.

We've done this before, we can do it again. Time to make some noise.

Crossposted south of the border at Daily Kos.

UPDATE [September 13, 2007 10:20am PT]: Writing in his blog this morning, Michael Geist notes that Canada's trad media outlets have picked up on the story and that all indications from the Ministry of Public Safety point toward opening up the process and extending the comment submission (aka 'intervention') time limit. Seems that Public Safety will also now post the consultation document on the applicable standard government web sites.

Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day was not available for an interview. However, after CTV News made inquiries about the consultation, his office said the document would be posted online and Canadians would have the chance to weigh in on the process.

The CTV network has obtained a copy of the 'Customer Name and Address (CNA) Information Consultation Document'. Read it here. (pdf)


Figured it was summin like that

They have been waaaaaaay too quiet.

This came up in 2005, like you say.

Shhhhhh. I can't HEAR yooooooouuuu. Retro rant. More shit to worry about.

It hit me this evening as to why the new privacy legislation is bothering me so very badly. I finally clarified in my mind as to why Im so creeped out here.
Not only will the Government be granting itself the right to listen in on your phone conversations, it will enable ease for the user….(you aren’t supposing that the bad guys will be better enabled to use it as well.?)
The next thing that is bugging me, is that they will also be able to capture all traffic through the Internet to Canadians. It will give the government the ability to read chat, instant messengers, emails, web browser information and traffic, and financial information.
Passwords will probably be captured.
I chat in instant messenger, I have friends and family I talk to all over the world. Through various time zones I see people off an on all day when I check my emails and things. In my living room I talk to friends online about personal stuff, kids, gossip. Its in my living room where we share good news, bad news, OH MY GOD! News. And my fave, MY PC JUST BECAME POSSESSED! HELP! news. I choose whom I speak to online. I choose who I invite into my home to share all of the above with.
This is where I really am having issues. That someone could indiscriminately order a tap on my Internet connection, where I'm chatting to people in my living room, who I have invited into my home. By my choice.
I'm wondering if this legislation goes through that there will soon be someone listening to me discuss politics face to face with my husband, have sex on the couch, and argue about who left the friggin cheese and crackers out?
When will the Government be issuing those so very hotly debated and much loathed Identity cards with a chip that keeps track of every citizen?
When will there be a tracking device somewhere on my person?
This is beginning to sound on the ludicrous side, but increment-by-increment we are losing our privacy, and by no means improving it. We are increment by increment allowing the government to close all the gaps. In a few years, who knows? We may simply have shrugged all privacy away due to apathy and a non-willingness to voice any concerns.
My next question after all that is who else is going to be listening? Who else may be taking my passwords, and maybe stealing my online identity through financial and personal information?
I'm trying to figure out if Canada is that uninterested in general? Or do we really understand the implications here? I’m scared. It’s a question I have been wrestling with and looking for more information on. But the news isn’t reporting it all that often. It was mentioned very briefly on CTV newsnet. I have only seen one column on any of this, and the author was asking himself the same questions I have!
HELLO? IS THIS THING ON? IS ANYONE LISTENING? Or is that what you really want?
Your Government wants to hear you. Not FROM you. We have effectively become passive and docile creatures, we have become sheep who do as they are told. And we really don’t seem to mind all that much.
What’s it going to take to wake you up Canada?
One “expert “ on the news said that she really didn’t care if someone was listening to her phone calls. She never said anything that interesting anyway. How nice for her. I however have higher standards for my government and law enforcement. The RCMP is pushing for this legislation. they say they cant do their job without being able to listen to all Canadians. Life is rough eh?
This catch all legislation that will also allow EASIER access to anyone who wants to use it for nefarious purposes. I’m worried that the government is creating a brand new industry in Canada. Online identity theft, and I know that it’s not all that far away.
This legislation will also force the phone companies and Internet service providers to implement new technology to enable quick taps, with no notice to the victim. AND! they are also considering that we the consumer pay for this, through new surcharges on our bills.
Thanks Paul. We needed one more thing to worry about.
Yours in Paranoia,

Powers that be, powers of three, keep me strong during this insanity......

Identity cards

With built in 'three part harmony' with Mexico and the United States. It's coming. Voter fraud and all that, ya' know.

Everything's cheaper than it looks.

What can we do?

Sorry - I'm feeling completely powerless. Outrage fatigue.

Too many people don't care

It's amazing how many people say "well, if you don't have nuthin' to hide, what's the big deal?" How easily people will trade liberty for the illusion of security.

Incidentally, if they need my name, address or phone number, what's wrong with the goddamn Yellow Pages, it's free, available everywhere and doesn't require another government program.


... as T. Jefferson said, the cost of freedom is eternal vigilance, why do some advocate the relaxing of that vigilance in allowing various athorities to operate without severe over-sight?  And why do some not see that this vital awareness on the part of the public is not complete if it is anything less than 360 degrees, non stop, inward and outward looking with absolutely  no exceptions?

Including, and in fact especially, military, law enforcement and security.

Let's try this

True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt

I guess jellybeans were not

the only crap they discussed at their SPP meet up in Quebec...christ on a cracker! Call being placed to MP's office
The belief that we do not have choices is a fantasy, an unfortunate indulgence in abdication--John Ralston Saul

We must keep asking these important questions ...

I’ve been asking questions about potential illegal domestic/electronic spying in Canada (and sharing the info with the U.S. security agencies) since early July. I’m glad that the truth is beginning to come out and that more fellow Canadian bloggers are jumping on this.

We must draw the line here and now and prevent this travesty in the making …