For cops and CSIS, not just protecting children
Harper\'s internet spying legislation
Stephen Harper should have stayed back in China this week.
He’d be in a lot less trouble. His government introduced online spying legislation. Police will get the right to snoop into internet service providers files without a search warrant.
Police have wanted that right for years. Harper has tried twice before to pass a law giving them that power. Twice he’s failed. Now he’s got a majority in Parliament.
So he changed the title, hoping people won’t read the fine print this time.
Bill C-30 is called now "An Act protetcing children from Internet predators."
That’s got a good ring to it. How can anybody be against protecting children?
Except that Harper’s law has nothing in particular to do with children.
The title is simply a ruse. The word 'children' does not appear even once in the entire bill.
Worse, the legislation lists the Canadian Security Intelligence Service alongside police. CSIS is our spy agency.
Since when is CSIS in the business of catching child predators? But they too would get the right to spy on information stored in internet providers’ files without a search warrant from a judge.
There’s no shame in CSIS wanting to get around search warrants. The CIA does it all the time. So does North Korea and China.
But why try to pass off internet snoop legislation as child protection.
Does Harper take us for suitcases? Did he think nobody would read the legislation?
No judge in Canada would ever refuse a search warrant to investigate a cyber-predator.
Imagine the outcry if a policeman asked a judge: "Your lordship, I need a warrant to search the internet communications of a suspected child-predator!"
Imagine the judge replying: "Oh no, let him go. He’s just having fun. "
It just wouldn’t happen. Ever!
Judges love children as much as we do.
Harper should be more honest with us. There would be more confidence in his government.
A survey last June showed that 82% of Canadians oppose giving police the right to access their files at their internet provider without a judicial warrant,.
Call it a “right to privacy” issue. It’s not, as Vic Toews said, because they are “standing with the child predators.”
But if Harper were to restore into his legislation that police and CSIS obtain a search warrant beforehand, and were he to spell out clearly that he wants permission for cops and spies to snoop on all sorts of people and not just child-predators, the poll results might be different.
Harper should trust us. We deserve as much. After all, we trusted him last May. Meanwhile he’s stuck with a problem of his own making.