Anti-Surveillance Petition Strikes a Chord with Canadians

The Canadian government has gone through a 58 hour filibuster with regards to the Canada Post lockout. With this out of the way, some are fearing what the Canadian Conservative government will do next. One of the things that could be in the pipe-line is the much feared warrantless wiretapping legislation. It sparked one group to put together a petition that is already garnering huge success.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

Canadians have been down this road before. In 2008, the Liberals were proposing what is still known to this day as “Lawful Access”. The debate which was debated back in 2008 and even further back into 2005 when it took the iteration of Bill C-74 back then.

In both the 2005 and 2007-2008 instances, the Liberal party were the ones pushing the legislation. Now today, roughly 6 years later, very little has changed save for the possibility that the Conservative party is now pushing for Lawful Access legislation. The arguments against Lawful Access should be very familiar for those, like me, who sat through the debates over whether or not Lawful Access should be passed in the first place. It’s too expensive for various companies to implement, it uses resources that authorities don’t have, it’s too expensive for companies to maintain, it’ll never be 100% effective given the existence of technology such as VPN and TOR, it’s an infringement on people’s rights, there is no court oversight, it can easily be abused, it does little to nothing at solving crime in the first place and it could make tihngs worse for authorities as it would encourage anyone they could be after to adopt more effective ways of avoiding surveillance, making it harder for authorities to keep track of the very people they want to keep track of. One can already get that Groundhog Day feeling just listing off the reasons why Lawful Access is bad.

Regardless, Open Media has launched a petition website called Stop Online Spying ( to encourage users to get involved early in opposing any such legislation. The petition makes the following arguments:

The government is trying to ram through an anti-Internet set of electronic surveillance laws that will invade your privacy and cost you money. The plan is to force every phone and Internet provider to surrender our personal information to “authorities” without a warrant.

This bizarre legislation will create Internet surveillance that is:

* Warrantless: A range of “authorities” will have the ability to invade the private lives of law-abiding Canadians and our families using wired Internet and mobile devices, without a warrant or any justification.
* Invasive and Dangerous: The laws leave our personal and financial information less secure and more susceptible to cybercrime.
* Costly: Internet services providers may be forced to install millions of dollars worth of spying technology and the cost will be passed down to YOU.

Michael Geist notes that the online petition received thousands of signatures on it’s first day. As of this writing, the petition has collected a grand total of 36,677 signatures. It’s a number that only stands to grow given how Canadians reacted to previous iterations of Lawful Access.

The CBC adds:

The petition is backed by the Canadian and B.C. civil liberties associations, the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic at the University of Ottawa and the Tyee, a B.C.-based news and culture website. Several unions and independent media outlets are also supporting the campaign.

What will be interesting this time is seeing how opposition toward this legislation fares against a Conservative majority government.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

1 Trackback or Pingback

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: