Friday, March 30, 2012

Bil C-30 – Looking Past Phil’s Political Spin

Phil McColeman recently wrote an interesting and misleading editorial in the Brant News on Bill C-30, the “online spying” bill that led to the infamous @vickileaks30 Twitter account. Of course, we here at Dump Phil also decry personal attacks of any kind, and we feel that criticism of any politician should be limited to his or her performance as a politician.

Phil is correct when he writes that “This proposed legislation will not allow police to read e-mails or browse web history without a warrant.” The police cannot just hack into your computer and go through your files.

But if you read the actual legislation, you will see that the Bill C-30 can and will constitute a grave intrusion on your online privacy.

The first part of Bill C-30 (sections 6 – 15) require all Internet service providers to record your IP address, and to have the capability to track your IP address to your name and address. What is an IP address? It’s like a digital fingerprint that you leave on any website that you visit. And anyone who runs any website you visit has access to those “fingerprints”. The police will also have access to those "fingerprints". So under Bill C-30, your Internet company is now obligated by law to keep a file that links that “fingerprint” to your name and address.

The second part of Bill C-30 (sections 15 – 21) lets the police demand that the Internet service provider give them the file connecting your IP address to your name and address, and the Internet service provider has to comply. In other words, all the police have to do is ask your Internet company, “Who does this digital fingerprint belong to?”, and your Internet company has to give the police your name and address. The most important part about these sections is that they DO NOT REQUIRE A WARRANT.

The final part of Bill C-30 (section 23) overrides another law designed to protect your privacy (the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, or "PIPEDA"). The PIPEDA requires a warrant if the police want to get your name and address based on your IP address, except in cases of emergency like matters of national security.

Phil didn’t mention any of this in his article, because he doesn’t want you to know. Phil doesn’t want you to know that experts have said that Bill C-30 will likely result in police “fishing expeditions” that will compromise your online privacy. The police will be able to track your IP address, and then ask your internet company for your name and address. In this way, the authorities will easily be able to figure out what you’ve been up to online. Most importantly, the authorities will be able to do this WITHOUT A WARRANT.

Been researching explosives for a school science project? You might get police knocking on your door. Been looking at adult pornography online? Busted. Been leaving anonymous comments on Dump Phil? You’re not so anonymous anymore.

The power that Bill C-30 gives the police is massive. For Phil to compare it to a phone book is misleading and insulting to the intelligent citizens of Brant. I encourage all of Dump Phil’s loyal fans (and loyal detractors) to do their own research on Bill C-30. Even a simple Google search will bring up lots of results agreeing with what I have argued here.

1 comment:

John said...

Of all the people I don't want spying on me Phil is at the top of that list

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