Wednesday, February 15, 2012

平衡利害 / Check and Balance (UPDATED: Bill-30 is dead)

***** UPDATE: 2013-02-11 *****

I am glad to learn this evening that Bill-30 is dead (please see below my check-and-balance arguments written abt a year ago)

Conservatives kill controversial ‘child pornographers’ Internet surveillance bill (Source: )

OTTAWA — The Conservative government has abandoned its controversial and much-maligned Internet surveillance bill, legislation it once claimed was crucial to stopping child pornographers. Less than a year ago support for Bill C-30, the so-called Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act, was presented to Canadians by the government as a binary choice.

“He can either stand with us or stand with the child pornographers,” Public Safety Minister Vic Toews scolded a Liberal critic in the House of Commons last February.

The comment set off a public fire storm concerning the Internet and personal privacy — a nasty fight that resulted in unsavoury details of Toews’ divorce being splashed across the web by a Liberal party operative.

Toews, who introduced the legislation, did not attend Monday’s news conference where Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said Bill C-30 is dead. After announcing changes to emergency warrantless wiretap laws, Nicholson let drop that C-30 was gone, in response to a reporter’s question — an inquiry the minister was clearly expecting.



"... C-30, the bill introduced Tuesday, would force internet and telecommunications service providers to provide specific information about customers to police upon request and without a warrant. It's drawn criticism from privacy experts. Minister Vic Toews is the bill's sponsor..." 濫用權力,不是獨裁國家擁有的專利産品,自稱為保衛西方民主先驅的美利堅合众國,也有很多駭人聽聞、不甚光榮的歷史檔案。所以当加拿大執政保守黨動議擴大公安在網絡上搜索和彙編用戸資料的權力,我心中不感打了個冷戰。無錯,政府有關当局立法之前,当然会宣揚父母官語重心長的立場: We do this to protect our society, our country !!! If you have done nothing wrong, if you are not a criminal, you should have nothing to hide, nothing to fear !!!
奉公守法的加拿大公民,理所当然会支持政府公安應用適当的法律權力,去調查、偵緝、和起訴罪犯、恐怖份子、和其他/她不法之徒。可是,坐安思危,今天加拿大政治普遍安定,國泰民安,但如果明天政權易手,極端政客当道,政府公安会不会成為政客統戰反對者的工具呢? 例如美國的麥卡錫主義(McCarthyism)時代。 例如柬埔寨的紅色高棉(Khmer Rouge)赤柬時代。 例如南美南錐體(Southern Cone)國家軍警的禿鷹剿共行動(Operation Condor)。 例如世界各地上千萬政治失踪受害者(los desaparecidos) 的檔案。
我絶對樂觀加拿大不会轉眼之間成為獨裁國家,但正如我常説的一句: The road to hell is paved with good intentions。如果行政立法当局一意孤行,未有預先考慮而行事,擴大了的保護公安權力,小則施法無效,治標不治本,大則打開權力氾濫的水閘,一發不可收拾。
保護市民是制做良好法津政策的大前題,加拿大政府應遵照楓葉國傳統的 check and balance 原則 , 宜先三思、而後立法,平衡利害,以免後顧之憂。
Related links/references:
* 赤柬吐斯廉屠殺集中營
* 世界各地政治失踪受害者los desaparecidos
* 南美南錐體國家軍警的禿鷹剿共行動
* 美國的麥卡錫主義
* Globe and Mail: "Ottawa to contract out spying, but who cares? It's only the Internet"
By Tabatha Southey ; Published Friday, Jun. 24, 2011 6:21PM ED; Last updated Monday, Feb. 13, 2012 4:44PM EST " ........ The government is set to reintroduce Bill C-51, the deceptively progressive-sounding Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act, as part of its Dickensian pro-prison omnibus crime bill. Among other things (Bill C-51 also could make using a false name on the Internet a crime; likewise, potentially, linking to any website where hate material is posted), the legislation allows the police to demand that telecommunications service providers (TSPs) preserve data on specified users for 21 days, without a warrant. The logic behind this is that data can be deleted and therefore this holding period is needed while an order to disclose the data is obtained from a judge (they're also just free to hand it over).
This is pretty murky: Lots of other kinds of evidence can be destroyed. Drugs can be flushed. And yet there's no pre-warrant state in which the police are allowed to demand that your landlord stand around your house for 21 days, on his own dime, while the police get a warrant, in case you destroy potential evidence they have an inkling might be there. Telecom companies and Internet service providers (ISPs) already co-operate with law enforcement in the fight against serious Internet crimes, such as child pornography. They tend to focus on taking down illegal websites – to police what people are putting on the Internet more than what people are watching on the Internet. This approach offers a pretty good balance between our security and our privacy.
Bill C-51 seems to indicate a shift. It makes accessing our most private data easier by essentially conscripting telecom companies and ISPs into operating more sophisticated version of warrantless wiretaps. At the same time, it allows the private companies that have a virtual lock on the market – a situation that our supposedly pro-competition government seems to be remarkably at peace with, and one that does, coincidentally, make this monitoring relatively simple – to recoup those costs as they see fit. Perhaps as a result, there has been little opposition to Bill C-51 from the big six ISPs.
It feels a bit like a lighter version of the Stasi, only privatized. The spies send you a monthly bill, but they're endlessly happy to talk to you about bundling....."

Should police have access to ISP customer data without a warrant? (Bill C-30)

The Conservative government is expected to introduce a bill Tuesday to give police new powers to access Canadians' electronic communications. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said the lawful access bills will 'bring our laws into the 21st century and provide police with the lawful tools we need.' Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said the lawful access bills will 'bring our laws into the 21st century and provide police with the lawful tools we need.' (Canadian Press)The "lawful access" bill is expected to include provisions that were included in previous bills that died when last year's election was called. One of those provisions would require internet service providers to give subscriber data to police and national security agencies without a warrant, including names, unlisted phone numbers and IP addresses. Another is expected to allow police to get warrants to obtain information transmitted over the internet and data related to its transmission, including locations of individuals and transactions. In September, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said the government has no plans to allow police to intercept private internet communications without a warrant. On Monday, Liberal public safety critic Francis Scarpaleggia alleged during question period Monday that the government is "preparing to read Canadians' emails and track their movements through cellphone signals, in both cases without a warrant." Toews replied that Scarpaleggia "can either stand with us or with the child pornographers." Should police have access to ISP customer data without a warrant? Does this legislation go too far or do police need it to keep up with technology?


the inner space said...

麥卡錫橫行時有位 Edward R. Murrow 說出了一句擲地有聲的說話:
【We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty!】

如今 Harper 先生容許警察 give police new powers to access Canadians' electronic communications.

是要查不忠和要查恐怖份子,但也可以檢測政敵的私隱,to provide specific information about customers to police upon request and without a warrant. Check and Balance 是否足夠呢?

I think at least should get a warrant from the high court judges!

Anonymous said...


Canadians have always been concerned abt govt surveillance without a warrant and the lack of check-and-balance in the monitoring process.

After 9/11, the then Liberal government had given DND authourity to monitor electronic communications btwn Canadians and foreign parties as well as those within the country. There was a public outcry and the govt appointed a commissioner to oversee the operation as a check-and-balance measure.

While Bill C-30 was branded as a piece of anti-child pornography legislation, Canadians are still very concerned abt the privacy issue, and the Minister's over-the-top statement "you can either stand with us or with the child pornographers" definitely had not helped his cause.

It is my understanding PM Harper has now referred Bill-30 to a Parliamentary Committee for study. Hopefully, amendments can be made to the bill to make it more palatable to the public.


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