Canada Seeks Drastic Measures to Deter Terrorism

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Canada Seeks Drastic Measures to Deter Terrorism

The government of Canada has issued a 21-page discussion blueprint that is apparently in its final proposal stages, which will vastly broaden the authority of law enforcement and government agencies to conduct electronic surveillance. Sponsored and authored by both the Canadian Department of Justice and Industry Canada, one disturbing provision in the blueprint provides for “the establishment of a national database” containing the personal information of every Canadian with an Internet account. The blueprint also includes a provision that would require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and telecommunications companies to reconfigure their networks for easier electronic wiretapping access by police and national security/government spying agencies. These privacy invasive measures are being introduced and justified as a tool to intercept terrorism in electronic communications, and as a terrorism deterrent. If enacted, ISPs and telephone companies would be required to absorb the costs of these equipment modifications, with no reimbursement from the Canadian government.

When queried about the blueprint, Canada’s privacy commissioner, George Radwanski, offered no comment on the blueprint, except to note that his office is reviewing the blueprint provisions. The measure is expected to be introduced in Parliament by late 2002 or early 2003. Comments on this proposal can be submitted to la-al@justice.gc.ca until November 14, 2002.

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