National Post: May 4, 2014
A wide-ranging new federal bill that will allow Internet and cellphone providers to hand over your personal data without a warrant has privacy advocates concerned about just how many officials will have access to that information, a list that could range from CSIS agents to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
When passed, Tory bill C-13 will mean that any “public officer” or “peace officer” can request, obtain and use data that has been voluntarily provided to them by telecommunication companies, and it spells out legal immunity for any company that co-operates.
The officers obtaining that data can be anything from tax agents to sheriffs, reeves, justices of the peace, CSIS agents, and even, yes, mayors.
That aspect of the bill was enough of a concern for then-Privacy Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, to raise the alarm. She released a statement in November noting “the potentially large number of ‘public officers’ who would be able to use these significant new powers.”
While the much-lauded bill is supposedly targeting cyberbullying by going after those who share intimate images without consent, so-called ‘revenge porn,’ a bevy of changes sewed onto the back — touching on everything from stealing cable to catching terrorists and regulating hate propaganda — have led it to being decried as omnibus legislation by some.
Ottawa is arguing that the changes will have no substantive effect, yet privacy advocates like David Christopher, a spokesperson with Open Media, says the legislation “opens up our information to a wide range of government authorities.
“It effectively encourages telecommunications companies to hand over information to the government without a warrant and without any judicial oversight,” he says.
(read the full article at National Post)
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