Online surveillance bill strikes balance, MP McLeod insists

Kamloops Daily News
February 14, 2012 01:00 AM

The privacy of Canadians won't be jeopardized by legislation aimed at catching cyber criminals, says MP Cathy McLeod.

Bill C30, the Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act, was tabled in the House of Commons Tuesday.

"I would argue, first of all, our bill hits a good balance between privacy rights and giving modern investigative tools for the police," McLeod said. "Police will still need a warrant for any monitoring of communications."

The NDP has sharply criticized the bill for opening the door to police snooping and fishing expeditions.

"This is a government that has played fast and loose with people's basic civil rights in terms of their proposals being very intrusive," said Michael Crawford, a local New Democrat. Though the need for cyber enforcement is clear, the approach should not be above question, he said.

"I hope they don't invoke a time limit on debate; we need a full debate and committee hearings on this."

Many Internet providers already co-operate with police investigators, providing "phone-book" types of information, she noted. That includes names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. That's currently the case with about 75 per cent, but not all, IPs.

"The only thing this does is make it mandatory. It's almost common practice now," McLeod said.

For any information beyond the basic, police must still obtain a warrant from a judge.

Attorneys-general from all provinces have asked for the legislation, McLeod added.

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