CA - Minister of public safety ignorant of bill's content

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CA - Minister of public safety ignorant of bill's content

Postby Jessica » Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:53 am UTC

So, yeah. Fucking hell.

Spoiler:
Toews surprised by content of online surveillance bill

Toews surprised by content of online surveillance bill
Minister finds humour in #TellVicEverything Twitter campaign

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews says he is surprised to learn that a section of the government's online surveillance bill provides for "exceptional circumstances" under which "any police officer" can request customer information from a telecommunications service provider.

In an interview airing Saturday on CBC Radio's The 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."

Toews confirmed the bill will be sent to committee before second reading, which he said will allow for the opportunity to amend the bill beyond its original scope.

Normally, bills would go to committee after a vote at second reading, but that vote sets the scope of amendments that can be made.

This way, sending the bill to committee before the second reading vote will allow MPs to make broader changes to the legislation.

According to Toews, the opposition will be able to "bring in as many amendments as they wish to bring forward."

"If the opposition is actually really concerned about substantive issues about the bill, and if they bring those forward, I think there will be a very healthy debate," the minister said.

Social media pushback
Twitter users showed their discontent with Bill C-30 by sending Toews messages via a stream called #TellVicEverything.

Using the hashtag, Twitter users detailed every aspect of their personal lives, often with sarcasm, to make a statement about the dangers of government intruding on their privacy.

When asked for his reaction to the Twitter push back, Toews laughed saying it was "actually very amusing, and very pleasant that this many people would be that concerned about what I think, and secondly, that they want to tell me."

"Actually some of these things are very, very funny. They're very humorous," he said.

"You know, CBC should consider doing a show on it. It's really great stuff."

'Vikileaks' probe goes to Speaker
Not so amusing to the minister was an anonymous campaign against him via a Twitter account used to post his personal information including details of his divorce.

"Now what bothers me, is not so much the content of the attacks against me, but that there may be members of Parliament or a caucus that is hiding behind the anonymity of government resources to attack me personally," said Toews.

On Thursday, the results of an investigation by The Ottawa Citizen found the anonymous Twitter account was linked to an IP address originating inside the House of Commons, which Toews said could constitute a breach of his parliamentary privileges.

During question period on Friday, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird accused the NDP of having "been caught in a nasty, dirty internet trick" — an allegation the NDP has denied.

Toews confirmed he would be sending a letter to House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer requesting an investigation into the matter.

And in an open letter to constituents obtained by the Winnipeg Free Press on Saturday, Toews wrote that the attacks against him "included criminal acts and threats of criminal acts against me and my family," and have been referred to the police for investigation.

Controversial remarks
Toews stepped back from controversial remarks he made last Monday inside the House of Commons after Liberal public safety critic Francis Scarpaleggia asked about the privacy concerns arising from the proposed internet surveillance bill.

Toews responded by saying Scarpaleggia could "either stand with us or with the child pornographers."

When asked by Solomon if he would apologize for those remarks, Toews said "I've thought about this very carefully, and if fair minded Canadians have come to the conclusion that my comments, that I made in the heat of Parliamentary debate, were not appropriate, I'm prepared to accept their judgment."

Federal and provincial privacy watchdogs have also expressed their concerns with the proposed legislation.

Government's case 'weak,' says privacy watchdog
Ann Cavoukian, Ontario's Privacy Commissioner, has taken issue not only with the remarks made by Toews last Monday but with the name of the bill itself, characterising it as "disingenuous."

In an interview airing Saturday on The House, Cavoukian told Solomon "it's unfortunate because it shows how weak the government's case is."

"My guess is the reason they are doing this is because they don't have a strong case and in order to engage the public and their support, they have to make it about the protection of our children.

"It's nonsense."

According to Cavoukian, the proposed bill would create "a mandatory surveillance regime."

Cavoukian says that by accessing customer information such as the client's name, phone number, IP address and subscriber data, one can find out "what web sites an individual has gone to, someone's surfing habits online, what videos they're viewing, what content they read."

"You can infer, by connecting the dots of the surfing habit online, a great deal of very personal information about an individual. And I object to that kind of information being accessible without a warrant," said Cavoukian.

She also pointed out that in addition to forcing ISPs to turn over client information without a warrant, the proposed bill would also demand that telecommunication service providers install surveillance capability on their networks.

That's "creating a very costly venture."

"That means, ultimately, the public will bear the cost," said Cavoukian.

Cavoukian's federal counterpart Jennifer Stoddart also sounded the alarm over Bill C-30. According to Stoddart, the new bill contains "serious privacy concerns."

"Since this broad power is not limited to reasonable grounds to suspect criminal activity or to a criminal investigation, it could affect any law-abiding citizen," said Stoddart in a statement issued Wednesday.

Stoddart said her office would be undertaking a thorough review of the bill and presenting the findings to Parliament.


Yes, I know that not everyone has time to read everything that comes across their desk. But, it would make sense to actually do a little read through of the law you are passing, before you say things like "either stand with us or with the child pornographers." Maybe, you could at least be decent enough to know what you're shoving down our throats, before you tell us to open wide.

I really am so... angry.
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Re: CA - Minister of public safety ignorant of bill's conten

Postby Woopate » Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:02 am UTC

In my head after reading that:
"Alright, so what are we doing today?"

"Shooting down opposition to that surveillance bill."

"Oh, right. That thing. Okay. What was it about again? Child porn, wasn't it?"

"yes sir"

"Why are people against it? Oh, doesn't matter. I'm sure they don't understand how much it'll help the fight against child porn. I got this."

*five hours later*

"You know that shoot we did earlier today? The surveillance thing?"

"C-30, yes sir."

"Well I took a look through it, y'know, just in case I need to defend it again. And you know what?"

"What, sir?"

"It sucks, there any chance we can call the T.V. Station and get them to stop airing it?"

"No sir, that went out with the six o'clock news."

"Damn. Get the crew back here."

(Some events and/or names have been fictionalized)

It annoys me when things as important as this are defended by someone ignorant of it's content. Not only from the standpoint of being a citizen who has to deal with the consequences, but from the sanctity of the debate. When defending an idea, I try to arm myself as much as possible.

This is a systemic problem. We hear about this sort of crap often. How the hell do we get our politicians to read this shit before they call everyone who enjoys privacy a child pornographer?
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Re: CA - Minister of public safety ignorant of bill's conten

Postby stevey_frac » Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:11 am UTC

Straight up:

I think he's backtracking like crazy after seeing the public backlash. Which is a good thing. Democracy at work IMHO.
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Re: CA - Minister of public safety ignorant of bill's conten

Postby kiklion » Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:25 pm UTC

It is one thing to sign something that your 'advisors' said to sign that you did not have the time to read. It is another to defend it against opposition. The first I understand, but if you haven't read it, admit that and say you took the word of an advisor and don't defend it until you have read it.
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Re: CA - Minister of public safety ignorant of bill's conten

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:40 pm UTC

What bothers me is that the more I hear about this legislation, the stupider it seems to get.

The legislation requires ISPs to build in surveillance technology that will allow them to track/store things like emails, browsing habits, etc. of their users. In order to force the ISPs to give up this information, the police need a warrant. However, there is a loophole, where if a police officer just asks an ISP to give them this information, the ISP can voluntarily disclose it anyway, and the legislation both provides legal/civil immunity to the ISP for doing so, and prevents the ISP from letting their customers know that they've disclosed said information. The ISPs could refuse and force the police to get a warrant, but there's not much incentive for them to do so.
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Re: CA - Minister of public safety ignorant of bill's conten

Postby Chen » Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:13 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:What bothers me is that the more I hear about this legislation, the stupider it seems to get.

The legislation requires ISPs to build in surveillance technology that will allow them to track/store things like emails, browsing habits, etc. of their users. In order to force the ISPs to give up this information, the police need a warrant. However, there is a loophole, where if a police officer just asks an ISP to give them this information, the ISP can voluntarily disclose it anyway, and the legislation both provides legal/civil immunity to the ISP for doing so, and prevents the ISP from letting their customers know that they've disclosed said information. The ISPs could refuse and force the police to get a warrant, but there's not much incentive for them to do so.


That's not really a loophole. I'm fairly sure that's how the law currently works. One aspect the bill is changing is that the have to give up 6 pieces of information without warrant if the police ask: Name, Address, Phone number, IP address, Email address and service provider (this last one confuses me since I figured they'd need to know who the service provider was to ask for any of the information). Right now, the police can ask the ISP to give up information and they can give them whatever they want to, which would presumably be in accordance with their own privacy policy.
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Re: CA - Minister of public safety ignorant of bill's conten

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:48 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:What bothers me is that the more I hear about this legislation, the stupider it seems to get.

The legislation requires ISPs to build in surveillance technology that will allow them to track/store things like emails, browsing habits, etc. of their users. In order to force the ISPs to give up this information, the police need a warrant. However, there is a loophole, where if a police officer just asks an ISP to give them this information, the ISP can voluntarily disclose it anyway, and the legislation both provides legal/civil immunity to the ISP for doing so, and prevents the ISP from letting their customers know that they've disclosed said information. The ISPs could refuse and force the police to get a warrant, but there's not much incentive for them to do so.


That's not really a loophole. I'm fairly sure that's how the law currently works. One aspect the bill is changing is that the have to give up 6 pieces of information without warrant if the police ask: Name, Address, Phone number, IP address, Email address and service provider (this last one confuses me since I figured they'd need to know who the service provider was to ask for any of the information). Right now, the police can ask the ISP to give up information and they can give them whatever they want to, which would presumably be in accordance with their own privacy policy.


No, I'm talking about higher order information that ISPs don't currently keep track of. Here's the relevant sections I'm referring to:

“communication” means a communication effected by a means of telecommunication and includes any related telecommunications data or other ancillary information.
"intercept” includes listen to, record or acquire a communication or acquire the substance, meaning or purport of the communication.

[...]

6. (1) For the purpose of enabling authorized persons to exercise their authority to intercept communications, every telecommunications service provider must have the capa-bility to do the following:
(a) provide intercepted communications to authorized persons; and
(b) provide authorized persons with the prescribed information that is in the possession or control of the service provider respecting the location of equipment used in the transmission of communications.


Combine this with:

487.012
(1) A peace officer or public offi-cer may make a demand to a person in Form5.001 requiring them to preserve computer datathat is in their possession or control when thedemand is made.

(5) The peace officer or public officer who makes the demand may impose any conditionsin the demand that they consider appropriate —including conditions prohibiting the disclosureof its existence or some or all of its contents —and may revoke a condition at any time by no-tice given to the person

487.0195
(1) For greater certainty, nopreservation demand, preservation order or pro-duction order is necessary for a peace officer or public officer to ask a person to voluntarily pre-serve data that the person is not prohibited by law from preserving or to voluntarily provide adocument to the officer that the person is notprohibited by law from disclosing

(2) A person who preserves data or providesa document in those circumstances does not in-cur any criminal or civil liability for doing so.


Gives you the following:

Telcos are legally required to have the capacity to store and track all customer traffic, including cellular communications and Internet traffic, such that the substance of the communication can be determined. In other words, if you send an email, your ISP will be legally required to have the technology to capture and store the information in that email. A police officer may then ask for the ISP to give up this data voluntary as part of an investigation--without a warrant or court order--and to hide this information from the customer. The Telco is allowed to refuse and demand that a warrant be produced, but can give up this information without one. Moreover, in doing so, the Telco has no legal liability insofar as the information may compromise the customer. This isn't about the six pieces of information, this is about all of your information.

[edit]This is all from the Bill itself, of course.
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Re: CA - Minister of public safety ignorant of bill's conten

Postby omgryebread » Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:57 pm UTC

kiklion wrote:It is one thing to sign something that your 'advisors' said to sign that you did not have the time to read. It is another to defend it against opposition. The first I understand, but if you haven't read it, admit that and say you took the word of an advisor and don't defend it until you have read it.
Blaming your staff really hard is pretty close to last resort. For one, it still looks bad, since it implies you're an idiot who relies on staff, and you're an idiot who can't hire good staff. Secondly, you frequently have to fire someone, possibly someone who didn't fuck up, or who fucked up less than you did. That sucks because good help is hard to find in politics (and good help in politics will still screw things up sometimes), and you don't engender the positivity you want in your staff. Any good politician absolutely needs a good staff that really likes them. You don't want them to think they're going to take hits for you when you get under fire. And of course, that would be in essence a "I'm wrong. Full Stop." Never, ever, admit you messed up fully in politics unless it's a huge thing. If you messed up bad enough for a full on admission you messed up, it should be big enough that you can hold a nice big press conference, get some sitdown time with a nice neutral softball news host, and then head some pointless initiative that seems to address whatever you did.

I think he's handling the fallout okay. The initial thing seems really really stupid, but it looks like this guy is part of the Harper government, so he's really shooting on par, right? The only thing I like about Harper is smugly remembering Canadians making fun of us for Bush.
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Re: CA - Minister of public safety ignorant of bill's conten

Postby lucrezaborgia » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:14 pm UTC

What is the proper name for the logical fallacy commonly known as "think of the children"? Because I think that applies somewhat here...
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Re: CA - Minister of public safety ignorant of bill's conten

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:43 pm UTC

I think it is an appeal to emotion.
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Re: CA - Minister of public safety ignorant of bill's conten

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:39 am UTC

I get that politicians and officials don't have time to read everything. And so I don't think they shouldn't read what they don't have time to read. However, if they don't read it, they also shouldn't express an opinion on it or vote on it.
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Re: CA - Minister of public safety ignorant of bill's conten

Postby Rysto » Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:16 am UTC

kiklion wrote:It is one thing to sign something that your 'advisors' said to sign that you did not have the time to read. It is another to defend it against opposition.

And it is yet another thing entirely to accuse that opposition of supporting child pornography.
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Re: CA - Minister of public safety ignorant of bill's conten

Postby Proginoskes » Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:32 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:I get that politicians and officials don't have time to read everything. And so I don't think they shouldn't read what they don't have time to read. However, if they don't read it, they also shouldn't express an opinion on it or vote on it.


If that were the case, there would be no PATRIOT ACT ... Literally no one read that completely before it was approved.
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