Canadian Bill Would Force ISPs to Hand Over User Data

Jun 19, 2009 2:15 PM PST
OTTAWA — Canada is weighing a bold move that would force Internet service providers to reveal subscriber data without a warrant.

“Twenty-first century technology calls for 21st-century tools," Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said in announcing two new bills at a press conference on Thursday.

The Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century Act and the Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act would require ISPs to install "intercept-capable" equipment on networks and provide authorities with "timely access" to subscriber personal data.

The new law wouldn’t provide authorities with additional intercept powers. Police would still require warrants for communication interception, the government said.

Specifically, the law would:

  • Allow authorities to get access to information on any Internet subscriber, including name, home address or email, all without a warrant.

  • Force ISPs to keep a copy of the data generated by people under investigation on their company hard drives to prevent suspects from deleting anything incriminating or of evidence.

  • Make all telecom companies invest in technology that allows for the interception of Internet communications.

  • Let authorities remotely activate tracking devices that may already be embedded in your cellphone or car without your knowledge.

  • Allow law enforcement to get data on where your communications over the web are coming from and who they're going to.

  • Make it against the law to arrange the sexual exploitation of a child with a second person over the web.

The government said it would subsidize some of the ISPs' costs for the program.

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