Civil liberties advocate responds to cyber-crime bill
A new cyber-crime bill could allow police and C-SIS access to spy on Internet subscriber information including names and addresses without a warrant.
The Harper Conservative government tabled the legislation called the "Protecting Children from Internet Preditors Act" in parliament today. Public safety minister Vic Toews drew heavy criticism after telling a Liberal MP that he was either with the government on the bill or he was on the side of child pornographers.
Abby Deshman with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association joined News Talk Radio’s Richard Brown to talk about the issue. She explained that the bill actually reaches much further than protecting children on the internet. She stressed the need to balance the basic right to privacy with the need to track down cyber criminals, especially those invovled with child pornography.
“We are concerned about the privacy rights of every Canadian out there. This bill is not limited to child pornography, this is for any law that the police feel they want to enforce and it really takes away a lot of the safeguards that we have come to expect,” Deshman explained.
Deshman added that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms ensures that Canadians have a right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure by police. She noted that the charter usually requires police to have a search warrant to access personal information but this bill would take away the right to privacy for regular citizens.
“There are a lot of concerns about whether this is actually constitutional,” Deshman said.
NDP opposition MP Charlie Angus was the first to say the legislation could turn Canada into a surveillance society.
“This government has declared open season on average Canadians and he needs to come clean with Canadians on why he needs to snoop and spy on them,” Angus shouted at the public safety minister in the House of Commons on Tuesday.
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson fired back that Angus should read the bill first before making accusations. He insisted that the bill includes safeguards to protect your privacy.
Nicholson said the bill will give police and C-SIS the tools they need to deal with sophisticated cyber-criminals who are experts in hiding themselves on the Internet.
Edited by News Talk Radio’s Adriana Christianson