NDP warns against Conservatives’ snooping law

JULY 13, 2011

TIMMINS, ON – If the Conservatives get their way, police will be soon be able to track every e-mail sent, every website visited and every comment left on Facebook - all without warrants or judicial review.

“Canadians do all manner of business and personal pursuits on their cell phones and online,” said New Democrat Privacy and Digital Affairs Critic Charlie Angus. “These provisions would force local phone and internet providers to spy on Canadians.”

Conservatives have indicated that "lawful access" provisions will be included in their omnibus crime legislation this fall. Experts warn this would legalize widespread snooping on average citizens – all without a warrant. Telecom providers would also be forced to install surveillance software giving police the ability to track internet and mobile phone activity.

“The Conservatives' ‘lawful access’ proposal essentially means it’s open season on the privacy rights of Canadian citizens,” said Angus. “The real question here is why are the Conservatives pushing for such widespread changes and starting such a full out attack on personal privacy and liberty in Canada?”

Angus said New Democrats support modernizing policing powers to deal with digital issues, but pointed out that removing the requirement for warrants altogether opens the door to all manner of abuse by security officials.

“Without oversight or limits, the question isn’t if abuse will occur, it’s how extreme will the abuse be,” said Angus.