Canada preps Internet snoopers charter

Join the crowd

The Canadian Government has published proposals to increase law enforcement powers to monitor the country's citizens online.

A consultation document published last weekend by the Canadian Department of Justice contains proposals that would compel ISPs to hand over the names and addresses of customers to the police on request, curtailing rights to remain anonymous online.

Changes in Canada's Criminal Code widen police search powers, require ISPs to retain customer Web logs for up to six months and (less controversially) to outlaw possession of computer viruses are also proposed.

There's also a blueprint for how ISPs should make their networks wiretap friendly, paving the way for legislation along the lines of Britain's much criticised Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act or Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act in the US. Under the proposals, ISPs and mobile operators would be forced to shoulder the bill of having black box interception equipment installed on their networks.

Ostensibly the changes bring Canada's laws into line with provisions adopted by The Council of Europe Convention on Cyber-Crime, which (due to Canada's status as a permanent observer) it feels obliged to adopt. Critics doubt the necessity of this or whether it would bring any benefits in fighting crime.

On the face of it the proposals look like the standard law enforcement Internet powers wish list, which is been re-packaged throughout the Western world as a way of fighting terrorism post-September 11.

Comments on the Canadian DoJ's Lawful Access consultation document can be sent
to la-al@justice.gc.ca by November 15. Laws based on the proposals are expected to follow by early next year, so now might be the best time to put in your two cents worth.

Aloutte, je te plumerai

So will Canadians fight back? Yesterday's sensational story about Kerry the Goose, reveals heartening evidence that some people from this fine country are prepared to take pot-shots at Big Brother surveillance.

Kerry, a Brent goose, was fitted with a £3,000 electronic transmitter to chart her migration across the Atlantic via satellite.

After travelling 4,500 miles from a Wildlife Trust in Gloucestershire, England she turned up not at mating grounds - but in an Inuit's hunter's freezer on Canada's remote Cornwallis Island. (OK, so it's summer, but do the residents of northern Canada need freezers?)

The BBC has more details of this wild goose chase. ®

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