Electronic surveillance laws go too far

OTTAWA - The Green Party of Canada strongly supports
OpenMedia.ca’s citizen-driven national public education campaign, raising
awareness of legislation that would see serious changes to Canadians’ online
privacy rights.  OpenMedia.ca launched the campaign today as part of the
Stop Online Spying coalition and more information about the campaign can be
found at: http://openmedia.ca/education

Former Bill C-50, C-51 and C-52 will be brought
forward as part of an omnibus crime bill, though they deal with internet
surveillance laws. “This proposed legislation has critical implications for
data security and deserves proper Parliamentary hearings,” said May.  “Folding
these issues into a larger bill with no hearings is unacceptable.”

The proposed legislation would force every phone
and Internet provider to provide access to subscriber data without a warrant,
even when that information is not part of any investigation. A recent survey
conducted by the office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada found eight in
ten of those polled "opposed giving police and intelligence agencies the
power to access e-mail records and other Internet usage data without a warrant
from the courts." 

“"It's like having a CCTV camera in
your home, and at your office watching every email you send, every phone call
you make and every web site you click on. It's creepy, it violates personal
security and is inappropriate. The police should not be reading your email
without a warrant first,” said
Emma Jane Hogbin, Green Party Science and Technology Critic.

Privacy Commissioner of Canada Jennifer Stoddart,
and her provincial and territorial counterparts, have objected to the proposed
legislations because of privacy risks, stating in a letter that they have
concerns over “the absence of limits on the access powers, the wide scope
of information required to be collected and provided by telecommunications
companies without a warrant and the inadequacy of internal controls and the
legislative gaps in the oversight model.”

“I’ve been hearing from other Canadians that they
share the concerns of the privacy Commissioner.  Canadian law enforcement
obviously needs access to a certain amount of data in order to properly
investigate crimes.  But these bills push that access way over the top to
a point where it becomes an infringement on civil liberties. I encourage
Citizens to work with OpenMedia.ca to educate their fellow Canadians about this
plan for invasive surveillance,” said May.