What we’re really talking about when we talk about lawful access


Terry Milewski reviews sections 33 and 34 of the government’s online surveillance legislation.

First, Section 33 tells us that, “The Minister may designate persons or classes of persons as inspectors for the purposes of the administration and enforcement of this Act.” So we’re not talking about police officers necessarily. We’re talking about anyone the minister chooses — or any class of persons. (Musicians? Left-handed hockey players? Members of the Conservative Party? Sure, that’s absurd — but the bill allows it…) Next, Section 34 spells out the sweeping powers of these “inspectors.” And, if they sound Orwellian, welcome to the world of Section 34. The inspectors may “enter any place owned by, or under the control of, any telecommunications service provider in which the inspector has reasonable grounds to believe there is any document, information, transmission apparatus, telecommunications facility or any other thing to which this Act applies.”

… The inspector, says the bill, may “examine any document, information or thing found in the place and open or cause to be opened any container or other thing.” He or she may also “use, or cause to be used, any computer system in the place to search and examine any information contained in or available to the system.” You read that right. The inspector gets to see “any” information that’s in or “available to the system.” Yours, mine, and everyone else’s emails, phone calls, web surfing, shopping, you name it.

David Fraser points to the hidden gag order contained in Section 23.


What we’re really talking about when we talk about lawful access

  1. This is just plain creepy.

  2. In short, the “Inspector” may post a twitter feed of any information they find.

  3. So they can investigate, in secret what you’ve been saying, or at any rate, what comes from your IP address.  They don’t have to tell you, and your ISP is prohibited from telling you.

    Then using anti-terrorism laws, they can have a trial against you, in secret, where they don’t have to disclose the evidence being used against you.

    Seig Heil indeed.

    • Stasi man, Stasi. Watch your neighbours!

  4. Terry Milewski, seriously!—-why not ask for an objective viewpoint from one of the NDP leadership candidates?

    • Why not read the relevant portions of the bill and decide for yourself?

    • You were expecting Mike Duffy?

    • They don’t seem to be going for it over on Sun News either. 

    • He’s quoting the damn bill. If you don’t like what he’s saying, you don’t like the bill.

  5. Franz Kafka couldn’t have envisioned a creepier scenario. 

  6. Worth catching The House tomorrow – Toews is interviewed and when certain passages were read to him he was unfamiliar with them. I can’t wait for his appearance before the committee.  Maybe by then he’ll have had a chance to familiarize himself with the bill.

    • Won’t the conservatives just shut down the committee? They are expert at it.

      • They’re latest trick is to go in camera, so there’s no public record.  Always something…

    • I share your hope that Conservative Ministers will actually understand the contents of the legislation they are defending, but I’m afraid we’re both being naive.

  7. They’ve taken the provisions of the Firearms Act and applied it to the Internet.  That’s hypocrisy.

    •  If this government would be truly conservative they would repeal section 102-105 of Firearms Act.

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