Bill C-416 (Historical)
Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act
An Act regulating telecommunications facilities to facilitate the lawful interception of information transmitted by means of those facilities and respecting the provision of telecommunications subscriber information
This bill was last introduced in the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in September 2008.
This bill was previously introduced in the 39th Parliament, 1st Session.
Marlene Jennings Liberal
Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)
Introduction and First Reading
(This bill did not become law.)
Opposition Motion—Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Business of Supply
February 28th, 2012 / 1:55 p.m.
Paul Calandra Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage
Mr. Speaker, we had two Liberal bills, Bill C-416 and Bill C-74. Clause 6 and clause 24 of the Liberal bills went further than this government's bill does. Lo and behold, between those two bills, there were no changes whatsoever.
The previous member said that the Liberals like to listen and make changes and yet in the 38th and 39th Parliaments there were no changes whatsoever. In the two bills that they introduced, they went further than the bill we have introduced.
Do the Liberals not see that the reason they continue to go further and further away in this chamber is that they flip and flop and, unlike the NDP perhaps and unlike this party for sure, they do not have the best interests of Canadians at hand? They only have the best interests of the Liberal Party and how they can score some cheap political points on the backs of all Canadians who want to be safe and secure.
Opposition Motion—Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Business of Supply
February 28th, 2012 / 1:40 p.m.
Paul Calandra Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage
Mr. Speaker, I want to read the summary of a bill. It states:
This enactment requires telecommunications service providers to put in place and maintain certain capabilities that facilitate the lawful interception of information transmitted by telecommunications and to provide basic information about their subscribers to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Commissioner of Competition and any police service constituted under the laws of a province.
Does the hon. member not understand that the problem people have with the Liberal Party is that it continues to flip and flop? It has no interest in public safety. Its only interest is scoring cheap political points on the backs of Canadians' safety. I wonder if he could comment on the differences between the two bills when they were introduced and whether the party at that time sent the bill directly to committee so that all parties in the House could have input. Is he instead doing the same Liberal thing, flipping and flopping to try to score some stupid political points on the backs of Canadians' safety?
January 29th, 2008 / 5:10 p.m.
Alan Tonks York South—Weston, ON
Mr. Speaker, when I listen to the discussion which has gone on with respect to this bill, one thing occurs to me. We have all had experiences. My colleague from the Bloc talked about his experience with the truck and the tires. He found that he was totally accountable and, beyond belief, had a blot on his credit rating and a number of other implications.
If were about that, in terms of protecting Canadians against that kind of impingement on their rights, it would be serious enough. However, I draw the attention of members to something that is far more serious than that.
In the last number of years, we have become profoundly aware of how criminal intent preys upon the vulnerable, such as the elderly in our societies. No more is it made graphically clear that criminal intent is accelerated by the complexities of establishing identities. In particular, if it is a stolen identity, it can even go so far as taking a person's residence, having it transferred into another name and selling that residence from beneath the feet of the persons who have lived in that home for probably 20 or 30 years.
Very recently there was a court case. An elderly citizen's spouse had passed away. He had lived in his home for over 50 years. He woke up one day to find the home was no longer his. All the history associated with his home, his relationship with his neighbours, his long-time commitment to the community meant nothing.
The court case drew out the deviousness of those who had victimized that elderly man. They were so skilful in intercepting his mail and occupying his being. They knew the bank he dealt with and his bank account numbers. They knew the assessment office to which he paid his property taxes. They knew every single aspect of his life, which allowed them to walk into a bank and transfer title to this property. They were able to satisfy the manager and those who handled the account, a bank that he had done business for tens of years, that he had transferred the property to them.
This is an effort on my part, not to be overly dramatic about what we are involved in here, to give a very small indication of how clever and devious those who wish to victimize can be if they apply themselves and what harm they can do, given the complexities of the way that business is done today.
I had not seen how the bill implicated to this case until I listened to some of the members talk in the House. I started to wonder if we really were totally aware of those machinations of a criminal mind and how they could victimize Canadians.
The point has been made that the bill is reactive in the sense it deals with crimes that relate to the kind of circumstances I have given in my example, the obtaining and possessing identity information, the intent to commit certain crimes, as in stealing identity so one could take over the ownership of a person's home without them even knowing.
Incidentally in this case, the people who did that left the country and it was difficult for the court to bring them back to establish the facts of the case.
The intent to commit a crime is enumerated in the bill with respect to one of those three new offences, which would be subject to a five year maximum sentence. I do not think anyone in the House should disagree with that.
The intent to traffic in identity information and to use that knowledge recklessly in the commission of a crime will now be one of those three new offences as will possessing unlawfully government-issued identity documents. In the case I referred to the information used was municipal, but by the same token, the result of using that information caused irreparable harm.
To finish on the example, as I understand it, the court declared that the bank, which was the holder of the mortgage and had benefited from many decades of business with that elderly citizen, had certain responsibilities, in a business sense, to do due diligence with respect to entitlement under ownership and so on.
That also brings us to the questions with respect to not just a responsive and reactive Criminal Code adjustment, but also to the tools that are required in today's very complex society. I point out that we have private member's Bill C-416, the modernization of investigative techniques act. The bill would give direction with respect to providing law enforcement agencies with the tools necessary to combat and prevent identity theft.
I do not know whether it has been cited before, but the reaction with respect to society's repugnance with what has happened has reflected very well by Nancy Hughes Anthony of the Canadian Bankers' Association. She said, “The fact that millions of Canadians must use and rely on personal identity information daily represents a gold mine for criminals”. That is why it is so imperative we try to support our investigative agencies through the criminal justice system. Therefore, we will support the bill.
We also have made it clear, and I hope the government will take it as a serious notice of intent, that the subject of the private member's bill is equally deserving support.
As I indicated in my example of the elderly citizen who lost his home, it is not only the law enforcement agencies that need the support. It is a systemic problem that needs an institutional response to empower the municipal agencies, the post office, those involved in court proceedings in an attempt to protect those who have been violated by this kind of criminal activity. We need to put a very clear message out that we, as representatives of our public, know the extent to which people can have their identities violated and the implications of that. We need to let them know we will not stand idly by and allow this to happen, that we will implement the countermeasures that are equally up to the task.
The illustration I used is one of several that have happened across the country. They happen to Canadians who may not be as fluent in the letter of the law or the language. They happen to people who are elderly, as in the case that I related. However, the end result is always the same. We shake our heads and wonder how those things could happen. We ask if they would have happened 30 years ago when the community was much tighter, when we had a lower population and when we had a knowledge of each other. As many have said, we used to leave our doors unlocked and we knew exactly who was in our community. If someone looked suspicious for any reason, our neighbourhood vigilance was equal to assisting our neighbours and so on. Unfortunately, that is not the way in many communities today. We need to be very proactive.
I am very pleased to see this legislation. The government has acted in a responsible and responsive way. However, I only hope, when the private member's bill comes up, we give an equal degree of treatment, either through committee or through the bill itself when it is presented, to the kind of example I have used. The implications are so serious and the lives of so many people are affected at a time when they should be able to look with confidence to their retirement and to the equity they have in their homes. The example I have used is one where an elderly man was completely and inhumanely treated, with no compassion or empathy for his needs. He had his identity stolen and lost everything for which he, his wife and his family had worked for their whole lives. We must not let that kind of thing happen. The bill is a good step toward meeting that kind of challenge.
January 29th, 2008 / 3:50 p.m.
Judy Sgro York West, ON
Mr. Speaker, I am glad to have the opportunity to comment on this important piece of legislation.
It seems that as fast as we lawmakers create laws and rules and all the rest of it, the folks out there who have criminal minds are able to find ways around everything we try to do. Introducing Bill C-27 is a step in the right direction. I would expect that after it has some time at committee it will come back as a much stronger, more effective piece of legislation after all of us have had chance to comment, to try to beef it up and to stay one step ahead of the bad guys who are clearly out there trying to cause problems.
The proposed legislation would create three new offences. All of them will be subject to five year maximum sentences, including the following: to obtain or possess identity information with intent to use it to commit certain crimes; trafficking in identity information with knowledge of or recklessness as to its intended use in the commission of a certain crime; and unlawfully possessing and trafficking in government-issued identity documents.
In discussions with local police departments and others, they tell us that it is one of the fastest growing crimes around the world and that no one is safe from it. It is so easy to have our documentation copied and returned back into our wallet. We do not even know that someone has stolen it. By the time we find out, who knows if we have a mortgage on our house that we did not have before? A variety of other things can happen too.
However, we need additional Criminal Code amendments that would help to create new offences of fraudulently redirecting or causing redirection of a person's mail, possessing a counterfeit Canada Post mail key, and possessing instruments for copying credit card information. We need these in addition to the existing offence of possessing instruments for forging credit cards. It is so easy to copy any of those keys and get into someone else's mailbox and clean out that mail, including cheques or any other documentation that would give credibility to whatever the thieves have in mind.
While our party supports the efforts to combat identity theft, we feel this legislation could be stronger. At the end of the day, it comes up short, which is why I welcome the fact that this is going to committee. Each and every one of us will have an opportunity to strengthen this and to work together on something that all parliamentarians clearly care about.
The key problem I have with the legislation is that it does not do anything to prevent identity theft. As I said earlier, it is very easy for people to copy documents. The question is, though, how do we prevent it? New technology on our driver's licences and on a variety of other documents means that they are getting harder to copy. The legislation does not talk about prevention, but I would hope that by the time it comes back from committee it would cover off the issue of prevention and make the bill a better bill.
Law enforcement agencies all across Canada have been very clear on this issue for some time. They need modern tools to deal with what is a growing concern for Canadians. They need the tools of the 21st century. Unfortunately, we are always slower at doing that than the criminal minds are.
However, to respond to some of these concerns, my Liberal colleague from Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine has introduced a private member's bill, Bill C-416, Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act, which would actually provide law enforcement with the tools necessary to combat and prevent identity theft. My colleague across the way has also introduced a private member's bill. I hope that with all of these things combined we will be able to give the law enforcement officers the tools they need. They clearly will know how important the issue is for all of us.
As important an initiative it is to catch the criminals, we need modern new laws, especially to protect the most vulnerable in our society, children and seniors. A week does not go by that we do not read or hear a very sad story about a senior who found out that he or she now has a $400,000 mortgage on a home because someone was able to steal his or her identity. We can just imagine the stress that individual would be under. He or she would be feeling very vulnerable and needing help. We are just catching up to try to do that.
To do that, a Liberal government would make the following changes to the Criminal Code, which again would strengthen our tools.
To protect Canadian children, we will strengthen the laws that prevent Internet luring, something that is of concern to all of us in this House and which we are all working on in a variety of ways. The previous Liberal government passed laws that helped protect children from Internet-based predators, but more needs to be done. New laws are needed to address explicit online conversations initiated by adults with the intention of gaining the trust of a child and luring him or her into being abused.
To protect our precious Canadian seniors, we need to act on the recommendations of the Privacy Commissioner to address the problem of identity theft. There were almost 8,000 reports of identity theft in the past year, resulting in more than $16 million being lost, much of it taken from vulnerable seniors.
Let us think for just a moment about seniors who get statements in the mail telling them they owe $70,000 to some company they do not even recognize. Let us just imagine the panic that would set in for those individuals. We can imagine what it is like when someone suddenly finds out there is a $400,000 mortgage registered against his or her house but has never seen any of that money and knows nothing about it.
All of us should think for a few minutes about how we would feel upon being notified of that and finding out that someone has stolen our identity. All of these things are carried on in ways that have created huge problems. People have to get a lawyer. Their children are upset. All of these problems are caused by what has happened and a lifetime of hard work and savings can vanish in an instant when someone's identity is stolen.
We need tougher laws to prevent this kind of crime. That is where I believe we are all heading in the House with this bill and the others that we are all concerned about.
However, we also need to change some of the private sector privacy laws so that companies are forced to notify customers whose personal information gets leaked. We continually hear about how easy it is to have a credit check done on someone. Once people are doing that, they have our social insurance numbers and our driver's licence numbers and it is very easy to make a phone call and find out more information about us and to build a case to move into stealing our identities.
If our personal information gets into the wrong hands, we deserve to find out about it so that we can avoid becoming victims of identity theft. When a credit agent gets a phone call, he or she should call back and confirm the identity of the person calling for the information and probably should get some photo ID from the caller. The information should not just be given out over the phone. That is extremely unsafe. This kind of change would finally cause businesses to take the security of their customers more seriously.
Often when giving a Visa card in a store, customers are very sloppy about it. They will sign the invoice and leave it sitting on the counter. Someone easily can take that Visa or Mastercard number and go about building themselves that identity to use for their own purposes. Businesses also have a responsibility here.
We also need to look at implementing recommendations of the federal task force on spam, recommendations that so far have been ignored. Spam is clearly the weapon of choice for identity thieves, who use phony emails to trick people into revealing personal information.
We heard one of our colleagues make mention of his office receiving an email confirming a purchase that he had made online and confirming his credit card information. He did not have a credit card with that particular company. Clearly it was just a trap. An innocent senior or someone who is vulnerable could call in to say that the card number was not real and then could give out the correct number. There are all kinds of ways of tricking people into giving out information. It certainly is the weapon of choice.
Canada is the only G-8 country without anti-spam legislation. A Liberal government clearly would change that. Unfortunately, this should have been done already, and we all recognize that, but it is hard to make changes as fast as is necessary in order to stay one step ahead.
We all know that the Conservatives' crime policies are more about scoring political headlines than making our streets safer.
That being said, I am very happy to support this bill to go to committee so that the opposition and all of us in the House can have the opportunity to strengthen and to work at improving this legislation.
We can only build a strong Canada if Canadians feel safe in their communities. It is not just about street safety. It is a about a multitude of areas that many people within our country feel vulnerable and are looking to us as parliamentarians to do a better job.
The Liberal goals of prosperity, social justice and sustainability are not achievable if people cannot be confident that they and their children are protected.
January 29th, 2008 / 12:05 p.m.
Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT
Mr. Speaker, I have three questions, but I will ask one at a time in case other people have questions.
I do not disagree with anything the minister said. To strengthen our ability to achieve this objective, the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine has a private member's Bill C-416 which provides for the modernization of investigative techniques for the police to be able to investigate crimes that could be prosecuted under this act. Would the minister support that bill as well?
Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act
March 23rd, 2007 / 12:05 p.m.
Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-416, An Act regulating telecommunications facilities to facilitate the lawful interception of information transmitted by means of those facilities and respecting the provision of telecommunications subscriber information.
Mr. Speaker, it is quite an honour for me to table this bill, an act regulating telecommunications facilities to facilitate the lawful interception of information transmitted by means of those facilities and respecting the provision of telecommunications subscriber information.
The bill, called modernization of investigative techniques act, or MITA, is intended to ensure that telecommunication service providers build and maintain an interception capability on their networks that allows for the lawful interception of communications by our law enforcement agencies, like the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, but also our national police force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, our provincial and municipal police.
Similar legislation is already in place in many countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom—