O Canada! Oh, Canada

Our neighbors to the north are headed down a slippery slope on privacy issues with Ottawa’s latest attempt to keep up with us Joneses. The government last week introduced two bills that would give law enforcement agencies broad access to ISP files, including users names and any personal information the ISP has managed to collect; ISPs also would have to track users Internet activities. The second bill allows police to turn on cell phone and automobile tracking devices.

The Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act and the Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century Act—proposed by Conservative MPs--already are drawing fire for being excessive, and are facing an uphill battle when the House of Commons returns in the fall. Nonetheless, observers are worried about the government’s latest attempt to expand surveillance powers.

“I think it raises real concern where there is potential for abuse,” said Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa who holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and e-commerce law. “That's why you have court oversight.”

Canada already allows some police surveillance of Internet activities, but only when approved by a court.

For more
- see this Globe and Mail article

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