With everyone busy talking about 'veiled intentions' the federal government playmakers are hoping the crowd is distracted enough for them to try a sneaky wraparound play from behind the net and slip one past the goalie.
I think we've all seen this movie. Part of a bigger story. Now it appears we have a Canadian adaptation.
Government agencies are moving to gain access to telephone and internet customers' personal information without first getting a court order, according to a document obtained by CBCNews.ca that is raising privacy issues.
Mmmnnnn, OK. Which government agencies are we talking about? Oh, that would be these ones.
Public Safety Canada and Industry Canada have begun a consultation on how law enforcement and national securitiy agencies can gain lawful access to customers' information. The information would include names, addresses, land and cellphone numbers, as well as additional mobile phone identification, such as a device serial number and a subscriber identity module (SIM) card number.
The consultation also seeks input on access to e-mail addresses and IP addresses. An IP address is a number that can be used to identify a computer's location.
The Wetsuit Dino Rider and Steve's new Quebec best boy (Maxime Bernier). Yeah, I really, and I mean triple please really with whipped cream and a strawberry on top, trust these two.
Because, of course, pesky things like privacy rights and the Charter of Rights are just so inconvenient.
It says enforcement agencies may need the information for matters other than probes, such as informing next-of-kin of emergency situations, or because they are at the early stages of an investigation.
There, aren't you feeling better already?
Not so fast.
Michael Geist, chair of internet and e-commerce law at the University of Ottawa, said the process is not being conducted publicly as two previous consultations have been, in 2002 and in 2005.
The consultation has not been published in the Canada Gazette, where such documents are normally publicized, or on the agencies' websites.
Interested parties have been given until Sept. 27 to submit their comments, which is a short consultation time, Geist said. Several organizations and individuals contacted by CBCNews.ca only received their documents this week.
(Remember Luongo only took his eye off that puck for a blink)
More pointedly, a number of parties that took part in the previous consultations, including privacy and civil liberty advocates — and even some telecommunication service providers — have not been made aware of the discussion, he said.
"It's really disturbing particularly in light of the fact that they've had two prior consultations on lawful access in the past, so it's not as if they don't know the parties that are engaged on this issue," Geist said.
Officials with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association were not aware of the consultation.
Holy f****ng shit! I don't think for a moment that any of that is accidental or has anything to do with parliament's recess.
Geist said the other problem with the consultation is that it appears as if the government agencies have already made up their minds on how to proceed and are simply conducting it for appearances' sake.
"The fear is that law enforcement knows what it would like to do — it would like to be able to obtain this information without court oversight — and so it has pulled together this consultation in the hope that they can use that to say they have consulted, and here are the safeguards that the consultation thought was appropriate."
So, my American friends, still thinking of Canada as a 'sane' alternative? Hmmm.. so Gonzales resigns down there and it's really because he's taken a job up here - 'free' health care ya' know? Well, no. Sure seems that way.
Now, you would think that Canada's Gnu Goobermints would already be aware that part of the USA P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act dealing with these sorts of privacy abuses was recently overturned by a US federal judge?
Michael Geist wrote on the issue in his blog yesterday.
this is an important issue and I believe that the government should hear from all interested stakeholders, not a hand-picked, secret group. In the consultation, Public Safety claims that "law enforcement agencies have been experiencing difficulties in consistently obtaining basic CNA information from telecommunications service providers. In the absence of explicit legislation, a variety of practices exists among TSPs with respect to the release of basic customer information, e.g. name, address, telephone number, or their Internet equivalents." After identifying what it considers CNA data (including cell phone identifiers, email addresses, and IP addresses), the departments propose a series of safeguards including limits on who would have access to the information, limited uses of the information, and internal audits on the use of these powers.
And as with many things enacted and attempted by the Harper Preservatives (hello, unsubstantiated tax leakage and electoral fraud by veiled women) this has a similar stench.
the claim that law enforcement has faced "difficulties" in obtaining CNA data remains completely unsubstantiated (to the extent that some ISPs ask for a court order, this reflects an appropriate balance that Parliament established when it enacted PIPEDA).
PIPEDA? That's Canada's Privacy Legislation.
We've done this before, we can do it again. Time to make some noise.
Crossposted south of the border at Daily Kos.
UPDATE [September 13, 2007 10:20am PT]: Writing in his blog this morning, Michael Geist notes that Canada's trad media outlets have picked up on the story and that all indications from the Ministry of Public Safety point toward opening up the process and extending the comment submission (aka 'intervention') time limit. Seems that Public Safety will also now post the consultation document on the applicable standard government web sites.
Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day was not available for an interview. However, after CTV News made inquiries about the consultation, his office said the document would be posted online and Canadians would have the chance to weigh in on the process.
The CTV network has obtained a copy of the 'Customer Name and Address (CNA) Information Consultation Document'. Read it here. (pdf)