My mother sent me an e-mail today telling me to read the editorial section of the Vancouver Sun. In it is an open letter to Canadians entitled "What's what with Ottawa's lawful access proposal" from Minister of Justice Irwin Colter. Clearly, there's been a lot of feedback from people (I hope you guys have been polite) regarding the government's upcoming "lawful access proposal". I won't quote the entire article, but here's what I consider the most important points:
So overall this legislation, if passed, would permit monitoring of internet user's traffic, but only with judicial oversight. It would allow officials, with appropriate cause, to obtain the identity of an internet user. What does this to? It takes away absolute anonymity from the average internet user where law enforcement officials are concerned. It's not really anything new: the police can get your identity from your license plate number, from a firearm registered to you, etcetera.
All in all, once clarified, I have to say I'd support this legislation. Stalkers on the internet are a problem because of absolute anonymity: it's very hard to proceed with an investigation against an IP address. Lack of judicial oversight for information monitoring was an alarm bell for me, as it was implied by the article I initially read that none of proposed powers required any judicial consultation. That's really the big hitch, because judicial oversight of law enforcement powers creates accountability, and that's the system of check and balance that keeps us safe from misuse of power.
I'm glad the justice minister took the time to clear the air with Canadians directly. For that I applaud him. I'll rest a lot easier now.
Posted on August 31, 2005 12:00 AM