The BCCLA has issued a timely and comprehensive report on soon-to-be introduced “lawful access” bills to expand police surveillance powers. The federal government has announced that it will soon be introducing legislation to increase the ability of police to intercept private communications and access more personal information stored electronically. The BCCLA’s new report explains each of the proposals and looks at how the courts are likely to view the balancing of law enforcement and citizens’ rights.
“Canadians are hugely concerned about online surveillance,” said Micheal Vonn, Policy Director of the BCCLA. “Over 75,000 people have signed Open Media’s “Stop Online Spying” petition opposing increased surveillance powers for police. New technologies are already a huge boon to police conducting surveillance and a huge threat to privacy rights. Now the government wants to lower the legal standards for access to this giant storehouse of citizens’ private information. Other countries have gone down this road, and we have seen that this is not a recipe for better law enforcement, it’s a recipe for pervasive surveillance and abuse.”
The report also finds that the proposal to require all telecommunications service providers to provide “back doors” into their systems that the police can use for surveillance jeopardizes the security of telecommunications systems and heightens the risk of exploitation by hackers.
Vonn: “The ghastly irony is that we keep being told these new laws are for our security, but in fact, they compromise the security of our communications.”
The Lawful Access Report was written by Phillipa Lawson and made possible by a research grant from the Law Foundation of British Columbia.
Micheal Vonn, Policy Director: 604-630-9753