While much of attention of security minded tech bloggers has been focused around ACTA which is basically the entertainment business’ latest attempt to control the Web it seems that three has been a move by the Canadian government to change how the Internet will work in our country.
According to a post by Professor Michael Geist,Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, there is a concerted push for new Canadian Internet surveillance laws.
The new bills are a part of a three prong attack that focus on information disclosure, mandated surveillance technologies, and new police powers.
While the information disclosure part is bothersome it is the remaining two items that are insidious and would change how the Internet is managed in Canada. As Prof. Geist writes:
The second prong requires Internet providers to dramatically re-work their networks to allow for real-time surveillance. The bill sets out detailed capability requirements that will eventually apply to all Canadian Internet providers. These include the power to intercept communications, to isolate the communications to a particular individual, and to engage in multiple simultaneous interceptions.
Moreover, the bill establishes a comprehensive regulatory structure for Internet providers that would mandate their assistance with testing their surveillance capabilities and disclosing the names of all employees who may be involved in interceptions (and who may then be subject to RCMP background checks).
The bill also establishes numerous reporting requirements including mandating that all Internet providers disclose their technical surveillance capabilities within six months of the law taking effect. Follow-up reports are also required when providers acquire new technical capabilities.
Add to that the data warrants that would allow law enforcement real-time access to all information generated during the creation, transmission or reception of a communication. This would include the type of communication, time, duration, origin and destination.
If these new laws do pass the Internet in Canada will never be the same.