Vic Toews v. C-30 - Macleans.ca

Vic Toews v. C-30

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Also from the Public Safety Minister’s interview with The House, there seems to be some confusion as to what the Harper government’s online surveillance legislation actually entails.

In an interview airing Saturday on CBC Radio’sThe House, Toews said his understanding of the bill is that police can only request information from the ISPs where they are conducting “a specific criminal investigation.” But Section 17 of the ‘Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act’ outlines “exceptional circumstances” under which “any police officer” can ask an ISP to turn over personal client information.

“I’d certainly like to see an explanation of that,” Toews told host Evan Solomon after a week of public backlash against Bill C-30, which would require internet service providers to turn over client information without a warrant. “This is the first time that I’m hearing this somehow extends ordinary police emergency powers [to telecommunications]. In my opinion, it doesn’t. And it shouldn’t.”

iPolitics has a longer transcript of the exchange. Here is the text of Section 17.

17. (1) Any police officer may, orally or in writing, request a telecommunications service provider to provide the officer with the information referred to in subsection 16(1) in the following circumstances:

(a) the officer believes on reasonable grounds that the urgency of the situation is such that the request cannot, with reasonable diligence, be made under that subsection;

(b) the officer believes on reasonable grounds that the information requested is immediately necessary to prevent an unlawful act that would cause serious harm to any person or to property; and

(c) the information directly concerns either the person who would perform the act that is likely to cause the harm or is the victim, or intended victim, of the harm.

(2) The telecommunications service provider must provide the information to the police officer as if the request were made by a designated person under subsection 16(1).

(3) The police officer must, within 24 hours after making a request under subsection (1), communicate to a designated person employed in the same agency as the officer all of the information relating to the request that would be necessary if it had been made under subsection 16(1) and inform that person of the circumstances referred to in paragraphs (1)(a) to (c).

The police officer must inform the telecommunications service provider of his or her name, rank, badge number and the agency in which he or she is employed and state that the request is being made in exceptional circumstances and under the authority of this subsection.