Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Conservatives: Warrantless Internet Wiretaps "Necessary"

Vic Towes, Conservative MP for Provencher, and the Minister of Public Safety, says that we need a law allowing the police to track our internet usage without a warrant, saying that, without this legislation "child pornographers and organized crime will be allowed to flourish".

As the CBC points out, the only mention of children or child predators is in the title. They also point out some of the effects of the bill (copy-pasted here for clarity/minimal distortion):
  • Require telecommunications and internet providers to give subscriber data to police, national security agencies and the Competition Bureau without a warrant, including names, phone numbers and IP addresses.
  • Force internet providers and other makers of technology to provide a "back door" to make communications accessible to police.
  • Allow police to get warrants to obtain information transmitted over the internet and data related to its transmission, including locations of individuals and transactions.
  • Allow courts to compel other parties to preserve electronic evidence.

Child Pornography is a heinous crime, sure, and organized crime has been a problem since there were laws to break. Ignoring the clear invasion of privacy this bill represents (the Competition Bureau? really?), this bill demonstrates a clear misunderstanding of how internet traffic works. Services like Tor would make it so that a user's browsing habits are revealed only if all of the proxies are on the same ISP, and I happen to know that Tor uses servers in multiple countries to do their proxy-hopping.

No need for this bill has been clearly demonstrated, nor do I think the Conservatives are ever likely to do so. I'm going to let this sink in for my readers for a few hours, while I work on my analysis of the NDP leadership candidates. For those of you playing the home game from abroad, don't be tempted to think that your fiscal conservativism will ally you with the Conservative Party. They aren't. Nor are they socially conservative. They're plain, militant reactionary.

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