Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act

An Act to enact the Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act and to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2013.


Vic Toews  Conservative


Second reading (House), as of Feb. 14, 2012
(This bill did not become law.)


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

Part 1 enacts the Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act, which 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.

Part 2 amends the Criminal Code in respect of authorizations to intercept private communications, warrants and orders and adds to that Act new investigative powers in relation to computer crime and the use of new technologies in the commission of crimes. Among other things, it

(a) provides that if an authorization is given under certain provisions of Part VI, the judge may at the same time issue a warrant or make an order that relates to the investigation in respect of which the authorization is given;

(b) provides that the rules respecting confidentiality that apply in respect of a request for an authorization to intercept private communications also apply in respect of a request for a related warrant or order;

(c) requires the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to report on the interceptions of private communications made without authorizations;

(d) provides that a person who has been the object of an interception made without an authorization must be notified of the interception within a specified period;

(e) permits a peace officer or a public officer, in certain circumstances, to install and make use of a number recorder without a warrant;

(f) extends to one year the maximum period of validity of a warrant for a tracking device and a number recorder if the warrant is issued in respect of a terrorism offence or an offence relating to a criminal organization;

(g) provides the power to make preservation demands and orders to compel the preservation of electronic evidence;

(h) provides new production orders to compel the production of data relating to the transmission of communications and the location of transactions, individuals or things;

(i) provides a warrant to obtain transmission data that will extend to all means of telecommunication the investigative powers that are currently restricted to data associated with telephones; and

(j) provides warrants that will enable the tracking of transactions, individuals and things and that are subject to legal thresholds appropriate to the interests at stake.

It also amends offences in the Criminal Code relating to hate propaganda and its communication over the Internet, false information, indecent communications, harassing communications, devices used to obtain telecommunication services without payment and devices used to obtain the unauthorized use of computer systems or to commit mischief.

Part 2 also amends the Competition Act to make applicable, for the purpose of enforcing certain provisions of that Act, the new provisions being added to the Criminal Code respecting demands and orders for the preservation of computer data and orders for the production of documents relating to the transmission of communications or financial data. It also modernizes the provisions of the Act relating to electronic evidence and provides for more effective enforcement in a technologically advanced environment.

Lastly, it amends the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act to make some of the new investigative powers being added to the Criminal Code available to Canadian authorities executing incoming requests for assistance and to allow the Commissioner of Competition to execute search warrants under the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act.

Part 3 contains coordinating amendments and coming-into-force provisions.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

June 3rd, 2014 / 11:40 a.m.
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Nominee for the position of Privacy Commissioner of Canada, As an Individual

Daniel Therrien

Bill C-30 had some flaws and, just as Bill C-13, needed to be examined more thoroughly, in my opinion.

June 3rd, 2014 / 11:40 a.m.
See context


Mathieu Ravignat Pontiac, QC

Do you feel that Bill C-30 was balanced?

June 3rd, 2014 / 11:40 a.m.
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Mathieu Ravignat Pontiac, QC

Thank you very much. You answered my question.

You were the Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Public Safety, Defence and Immigration Portfolio. Those three departments are trying to obtain personal data and information on Canadians.

In your capacity as Assistant Deputy Attorney General, were you asked to provide your opinion and advice regarding Bill C-30 introduced by Minister Toews?

June 3rd, 2014 / 11:25 a.m.
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Stephen Anderson Executive Director,

Thanks for having me, and thank you for this opportunity to speak before the committee regarding Bill C-13.

I'm Steve Anderson, the executive director of We're a community-based organization working to safeguard the open Internet.

As you may know, works with many other groups to lead the Stop Online Spying campaign, which successfully convinced the government to shelve the lawful access legislation, Bill C-30. Nearly 150,000 Canadians took part in that campaign.

Last year we started the Protect Our Privacy coalition, which is the largest pro-privacy coalition in Canadian history, with over 50 organizations from across Canada.

You know you've hit on a common Canadian value when you have groups ranging from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the Council of Canadians, to small businesses, to labour unions, all joining forces on this issue of privacy. As it stands, we have a privacy deficit in Canada, and I'm afraid that Bill C-13 will only deepen that deficit.

I believe this privacy deficit is the result of a democratic deficit. If the government, including members of this committee, were listening to the concerns of Canadians, there is no way you would be paving the way for a range of authorities to have increased warrantless access to our sensitive private information.

To help bring the concerns of Canadians to this committee, I have crowd-sourced this presentation for you today. I asked Canadians online what they thought I should say, and I have done my best to incorporate their input into my presentation. I'll reference them from time to time.

I'll confine my presentation to the lawful access portion, as that is where Canadians have expressed the most concern and I think where I personally also have the most concern.

The Canadians I spoke to had three main concerns: first, immunity for activities that victimize innocent Canadians; second, accountability and oversight; and third, data security.

On immunity, which I'll talk about first, Bill C-13 in its current form provides communications companies that hand over sensitive information about innocent Canadians with absolute immunity from criminal and civil liability.

Recent revelations show that the government agencies made 1.2 million requests for customer data from telecom companies in only one year and that companies apparently complied with those voluntary requests most of the time. After learning of this, Canadians have been looking for more safeguards rather than weakening privacy safeguards.

At the moment, an unlimited swath of information can be accessed by a simple phone call to an Internet service provider. Government agencies don't even need to provide a written request, and we are told that some agencies even refuse to put their requests in writing to avoid a paper trail. This extrajudicial practice works, because there is a loophole that allows authorities to obtain voluntary warrantless access to law-abiding Canadians' sensitive information.

The disclosure immunity provided in Bill C-13 will make the privacy loophole even bigger by removing one of the few incentives for telecom companies to safeguard our data from warrantless disclosures.

Canadian citizen, Gord Tomlin, had this to say on the matter via Facebook:

If 'authorities' need information, they can get a warrant. It's not onerous, it's one of the checks and balances that is supposed to protect our system from abuse.

Danielle had this to say on the website:

If accessing an individual's private information is not arbitrary but is justifiable, then a warrant can be obtained. Otherwise, it is expected that the law [will] protect us from privacy violations...

There were many more like that.

Providing telecom companies who engage in extrajudicial disclosure of Canadians' sensitive information is encouraging moral hazard. It's encouraging reckless and irresponsible behaviour.

I'll now move on to accountability and oversight.

Canadians find it troubling that Bill C-13 makes little effort to keep government agencies transparent and accountable. Most shockingly, there is no requirement that officials notify those innocent Canadians who have had their data stored in government databases. The lack of knowledge and consent by those victimized through surveillance and warrantless disclosure is frustrating to many Canadians.

As one Canadian put it:

I would like to see a requirement that persons whose data has been accessed, be informed of this fact and that there be a major penalty...if there is a failure to comply with this requirement.

The proposed lowering of the “reason to suspect” threshold for transition data warrants is also of concern to Canadians. We're talking about the collection of data—and let's be clear about this—that can reveal political and religious affiliations, medical conditions, the types of activities we engage in online and offline, and whom we socialize with. This is incredibly invasive stuff.

On the topic of accountability, several people also highlighted the costs associated with these data transfers and that they would have to pay for them, and that it would limit our digital economy.

On data security concerns, many Canadians are concerned with how secure data will be once authorities expand their collection through the measures in Bill C-13.

Given recent breaches at federal offices—the CRA and student loans, for example—many Canadians question if we can trust government authorities to properly protect their data from cybercriminals and identity thieves.

One person online said: The federal government, and indeed the vague category of 'public officials,' has a poor track record of protecting private information already. It's common occurrence in the Canadian news environment to hear about some government agency or officials losing the confidential information of Canadians such as last March's revelation the government had lost the student loan information of nearly 600,000 Canadians. Broadening the powers of officials to access this information only increases the danger that confidential information will end up in the wrong hands.

Bill C-13 also problematically expands the bureaucrats and agencies that can access our private information, including CSEC and CSIS, which are currently facing their own crisis of accountability, given the recent Snowden disclosures. I fail to see how that is connected to cyberbullying at all.

Bill C-13 does not, in its current form, provide effective measures to increase transparency, accountability, or reporting on warrantless access to private data.

In sum, I recommend that this committee remove the telecom immunity and weakening warrant standards, while adding new reporting and accountability measures to this bill.

I also want to join the growing numbers calling for you to split the bill up so that we can move on the cyberbullying portion, which I think there is growing consensus around, minus some reforms, and have a proper debate on lawful access.

As one person put it, “Any expansion of government powers needs to be linked to a compelling societal need.”

The lawful access section is not connected to cyberbullying. I don't think that connection has been made for Canadians in nearly enough detail.

I also think it's worth repeating what Carol Todd, the mother of cyberbullying victim Amanda Todd, told this committee. She said:

I don't want to see our children victimized again by losing privacy rights. I am troubled by some of these provisions condoning the sharing of the privacy information of Canadians without proper legal process.

I think both those on the front lines of law enforcement and Canadians want authorities to have the tools tailored to bringing a variety of criminals to justice. What this bill does at the moment is unnecessarily combine some of those tools with unpopular mechanisms that encourage mass disclosure of sensitive information.

I implore the committee to consider that just one database, the RCMP's Canadian Police Information Centre, has sensitive data on more than 420,000 Canadians. These people have no criminal record of any kind. Many have their information stored due to simply having suffered a mental health issue.

I'd also consider that a Canadian named Diane is one of more than 200 Canadians who recently came forward to say that their personal or professional lives have been ruined despite never having broken the law. Why? Because information about them has been wrongfully disclosed to third parties—in Diane's case, her employer.

Now consider the fact that in recent years federal government agencies alone have seen over 3,000 breaches of highly sensitive private information of Canadians. Consider also that this has affected an estimated 750,000 people.

In Diane's case, she was the victim of a false accusation, which was withdrawn years ago, yet it continues to affect her career. Diane's response after being victimized by this privacy intrusion and having her professional life unfairly curtailed was, unsurprisingly, disbelief, shock, and anger.

Now imagine that Diane was your family member or someone you know. You don't need to put them at risk like this. You can choose to split up the bill and make the necessary reforms whilst dealing with cyberbullying.

Why should Canadian victims be re-victimized by violations to their privacy? Why should those with mental health issues need to live in fear? They don't.

Canadians, including some of the government's biggest supporters, whom I'm working with closely on this matter, are wondering why the government is deepening our privacy deficit when other countries are beginning to rein in surveillance. They're wondering why you're mismanaging our data security.

In closing, as Jesse Kline wrote in the National Post last week, “When the Canadian public, parents of victims of cyberbullying, privacy commissioners and former cabinet ministers all voice serious concerns about a bill, it is a sure sign that something is wrong, and the government should listen.”

Thank you.

May 27th, 2014 / 11:25 a.m.
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Marian K. Brown Executive Member, Criminal Justice Section, Canadian Bar Association

Thank you, Ms. Schellenberg.

We hope that our input today will assist you in understanding how the draft provisions would function, if they're implemented, and of course in understanding what constitutional or charter issues may arise.

We are proposing numerous amendments that all have one of two main goals. Our first goal is to ensure that only truly intentional cyberbullying is prosecuted, and our second is to ensure that privacy interests are protected when data is seized.

Our written submission provides many details that we will not be able to cover today. What I will do now is give highlights of our recommendations on cyberbullying, on lawful access, and on the Competition Act.

First with respect to cyberbullying, as you know, the bill criminalizes a particular form of cyberbullying, which is the non-consensual distribution of intimate images. Distribution of sexual images of children is already prohibited by the child pornography provisions by the code, but the new section 162.1 proposed in Bill C-13 criminalizes non-consensual distribution of anyone's intimate images, not just young people's. In the CBA's view, this new offence is better suited to dealing with youth cyberbullying than using the child pornography provisions for youth conduct.

We're recommending some amendments that would more closely restrict the new offence to situations of truly intentional bullying. We echo Mr. Spratt's concern about the current wording of proposed section 162.1, which includes the alternative of recklessness. That could, in our view, criminalize conduct that is merely careless, and carelessness is an aspect of youth behaviour. Prosecuting someone who does not have the knowledge or intent required for a criminal offence would be a violation of section 7 of the charter.

In our written submission, at page 5 of the English version, we give an example of an adult distribution of images that would constitute reckless or careless conduct, but which is probably not the aim of this legislation. Because there are scenarios in which carelessness or reckless distribution under the current wording could incur criminal liability, we're recommending two specific changes to the wording.

Our recommendation 2, which appears at page 6 of the English version, is that the following phrase should be added to the offence section: “with intent to annoy, embarrass, intimidate or harass that person”. It's a much more specific formulation of intent. Our recommendation 4, at page 7 of the English version, is that the offence section be amended to remove the words “being reckless as to whether or not that person gave their consent”.

So we would take out the alternative of recklessness. In our view, those two amendments would ensure that only the distribution of images with a malicious intent would be prosecuted and would ensure that young people are not prosecuted for their merely careless or thoughtless distribution of images.

I'll turn now to our key submissions regarding lawful access. Seven of the eight main lawful access powers in this bill rest with the judiciary; that is to say that seven of those eight powers consist of judicial orders or warrants. The one exception is the preservation demand by an officer, whereby data is not seized without judicial authorization but is simply ordered to be held, so that it cannot be deleted, for a period of time.

So there is no warrantless seizure provision under this proposed regime, but the CBA recognizes that the issue of privacy in data is much broader than these particular Criminal Code seizure provisions. As we've heard from other presenters, perhaps the greatest concern is about law enforcement's obtaining data through the cooperation of service providers without the use of any of the eight powers that are covered in Bill C-13. Obtaining data outside of the Criminal Code purports to be authorized under PIPEDA, the electronic documents act, and other privacy statutes.

We feel it's important to comment that even if the lawful access provisions in Bill C-13 are made perfect, this will not eliminate arguments that PIPEDA and the other privacy acts perhaps should be more strictly applied. Even the very best drafted Criminal Code provisions will not diminish the arguments that voluntary cooperation between service providers and law enforcement should be more closely monitored.

Because of that bigger picture, two of the CBA's recommendations are quite broad. Our recommendation 8, at page 12 of our written submission, is that a single entity be created to monitor the impact of the seizure, retention, and use of personal information by Canadian law enforcement agencies.

Our recommendation 17, at page 24 of the English version of our written submission, is that the federal government conduct an independent comprehensive review of privacy interests in the context of electronic investigations.

Those sound very broad, but we're in a new world here. We're at a perfect storm of legal change and technological change, and it's no wonder that we're having difficulty with it.

Given the bill that you have to work with today, in our written submission we make several specific recommendations for amendments. We believe that three amendments in particular are key to avoiding violations of privacy interests under section 8 of the charter.

Our recommendation 9, at page 14 of the English version of our written submission, is that the officers' preservation demand, which is section 487.012—the only power without judicial authorization—should be limited to exigent circumstances, where data would otherwise be lost or destroyed before a judicial authorization can be obtained.

Our recommendation 14, at page 19 of the English version, is that the threshold for a transmission data production order—and that's section 487.017—should be raised from “reasonable grounds to suspect” to “reasonable grounds to believe” because transmission data may reveal private conduct.

Similarly, our recommendation 15, at page 20 of the English version, is that the threshold for a transmission data recorder warrant, section 492.2, also should be raised from “reasonable grounds to suspect” to “reasonable grounds to believe”, again because transmission data may reveal private conduct.

I'm going to say a few more words about transmission data. Our understanding is that it's not the same thing as metadata, which we understand to be data left by web browsing that can be located on a personal computer that is seized under a search warrant. We understand transmission data, as defined in this bill, to include not the contents of the communication, but only its origin and destination, direction, duration, time and date, size, and the protocol and type of the communication. That limited definition is very important because intercepting the contents of a private communication actually is a criminal offence under section 184 of the Criminal Code, unless a wiretap authorization is in place.

Bill C-13 cannot entail monitoring of the content of private communications.

I don't want to overlook the so-called immunity section, but unfortunately our working group did not discuss it in detail or make written recommendations about it. You've heard from other speakers about the terms of that section. All we can recommend is that you look closely and comparatively at the proposed section 487.0195, the existing section, which is old number 487.0114, combined with section 25 of the code, and you may wish for comparative purposes to also look at the immunity provision that exists for people who voluntarily assist with wiretap orders, which is section 188.2 of the Criminal Code. You'll see in that section that there is full civil immunity only for people who assist where there is either a judicial authorization or an interception in exigent circumstances. It's a more limited option for immunity.

Justice and Human Rights
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

May 26th, 2014 / 4:05 p.m.
See context


Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleagues for allowing me the time to do this. I also want to thank my colleague, the Liberal member of Parliament for Charlottetown, who did an extensive amount of work on this, as well as the member of Parliament for Malpeque and the member of Parliament for Mount Royal.

The enactment would amend the Criminal Code to provide most notably for a new offence of non-consensual distribution of intimate images. As well, there would complementary amendments to authorize the removal of such images from the Internet and the recovery of the expenses incurred to obtain the removal of images, the forfeiture of property used in the commission of the offence, a recognizance order to be issued to prevent the distribution of such images, and restriction of the use of a computer or the Internet by a convicted offender.

We are talking about the power to make preservation demands and orders to compel the preservation of electronic evidence, new production orders to compel the production of data relating to the transmission of communications and the location of transactions, individuals or things.

A warrant that would extend the current investigative power for data associated with telephones to transmission data relating to all means of telecommunications, or warrants that would be associated with telephones and the like, as I mentioned, a streamlined process of obtaining warrants and orders related to an authorization to intercept private communications by ensuring that those warrants and orders could be issued by a judge who would issue the authorization and by specifying that all documents relating to a request for a related warrant or order would be automatically subject to the same rules respecting confidentiality as the request for authorization.

Last, it would also amend the Competition Act to make applicable for the purpose of enforcing certain provisions of the act the new provisions being added to the Criminal Code respecting demands and orders for the preservation of computer data and orders for the production of documents related to the transmission or communications of financial data.

It would also amend the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act to make some of the new investigative powers being added to the Criminal Code available to Canadian authorities executing incoming requests for assistance and to allow the Commissioner of Competition to execute search warrants under the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act that I spoke of earlier.

There are some messages that we would like to put out there regarding this. This has been a long time coming. It was first introduced in the House on November 20, 2013. Cyberbullying is a scourge upon our society, as we all know, and has been evidenced certainly in the last two or three years. This is a problem not just in Canada but around the world. The party is supportive, in principle, of legislative measures that would provide law enforcement with additional tools to combat cyberbullying.

This is an area where the Criminal Code urgently needs to be updated to reflect the realities of modern technologies.

We believe, however, that legislative measures alone are insufficient to combat cyberbullying and we urge the government to commit to a broader, more holistic strategy to deal with cyberbullying that would also include public awareness resources for both parents and kids to allow them to see the signs of cyberbullying which they probably would not recognize under normal circumstances.

We introduced cyberbullying legislation last session that would have modified some Criminal Code offences to cover modern technology, as is done in C-13, which the Conservatives and the NDP voted down. The Liberals introduced legislation that would have addressed new technologies back in 2005.

The Conservative government is only figuring out now that police forces need these tools to keep up with technologies that are increasingly a part of today's crime.

We believe that a balance must be struck between civil liberties and public safety, particularly when it comes to warrants that may be intrusive and overboard. We do not support the measures that were in Bill C-30, which even the government had to withdraw because of the outrage some time ago.

Some of the bill would duplicate the rejected Bill C-30, such as word for word reproductions of the changes, subsection 487.3(1) of the Criminal Code and all but one word changes to subsection 492.1 and subsection 492 regarding warrants.

We are very concerned about efforts to reintroduce lawful access, which the Conservatives promised was dead at the time. That is not necessarily the case now.

Though the title is the protecting Canadians from online crime act, nobody is actually protected under this act. In typical fashion, this is all about punishment rather than prevention. Complex problems like cyberbullying require more than blunt editions to the Criminal Code. This omnibus bill touches everything from terrorism to telemarketing, cable stealing to hate speech, and is an affront to both democracy and the legislative process in the omnibus form that has been in going on in for quite some time.

We have seen that through the budget bills and a lot of the legislation that has passed through the House, so we can only assume that this type of pattern will continue with this legislation. Therefore, we support the motion to have the bill split and the provisions relating to cyberbullying be contained in a stand-alone bill at committee.

We are proposing two amendments.

The first is an amendment that would provide for a statutory review of elements of the bill, including the voluntary disclosure provisions. The sunset clause is a part of a law statute and we can repeal the law part over a specified time period.

The second is an amendment that would require an actual basis a report by telecoms detailing the volume of information being disclosed without a warrant.

As we mentioned earlier, we talked about the splitting of this bill, and we certainly feel this is a way to go. This would be the most responsible thing to do in light of the omnibus nature of this legislation. I believe that by doing this, we would be taking a principled and responsible approach.

Again, I go back to our original message of cyberbullying, which is a scourge on our society. What we can do in the House is reflect by looking at stand-alone legislation dealing with that. Basically, by making this a stand-alone provision, it would go a long way in enhancing the debate. Given the fact that we have had so much debate in the past, so much opposition and that there has been so much talk in the public realm about this legislation, this is something we can support.

Justice and Human Rights
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

May 26th, 2014 / 3:10 p.m.
See context


Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC


That it be an instruction to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights that, during its consideration of Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, the Committee be granted the power to divide the Bill into two bills: the first consisting of clauses 2 to 7 and 27, related to cyberbullying; and the second bill containing all the other provisions of Bill C-13.

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Châteauguay—Saint-Constant for seconding the motion.

As the saying goes, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

After second reading stage of Bill C-13, it seemed clear to me that it would be best to divide the bill because the bill had strayed from what it was meant to address, which is cyberbullying. It does much more than that. This bill has some 50 clauses, but barely seven or eight clauses on cyberbullying. The issues it addresses vary.

Members must understand why it is important to remove clauses 2 to 7 and 27 from the bill so that we can finish studying them right away. The rest of the clauses need to be studied much more carefully, as many people are telling us.

I made the request subsequent to a motion that did not receive the required unanimous consent of the House. I am trying again because we are now studying different parts in committee and have additional information.

Unfortunately, it is unlikely that we will be able to keep working much longer because the government has indicated that it wants the bill passed before the end of this session. That concerns me because there are not many meetings left. There are still many, many people who want to testify. I would hate to hear that the process is going to be fast-tracked for the most contentious clauses on terrorist activities, telemarketing and theft of a communication service. That is what I suspect will happen so that clauses 2 to 7 and 27 get passed. The bill also includes some of the provisions from Bill C-30.

There is also the issue of privacy and the fact that Canadians have already overwhelmingly rejected the provisions contained in Bill C-30. There is also a series of concerns about which of the provisions where included in Bill C-13, which ones were set aside, which ones were put back in with slight changes, and what kinds of changes are needed.

These are very specialized provisions. They are so specialized that it is rather odd in committee. Parents of victims are there on certain days. At those times we are truly reminded of why Bill C-13 was supposedly introduced. It completely changes how the committee works. The next day, the witnesses might be cyber experts or police representatives.

I do not think this request is crazy or illogical. It makes sense. I have a hard time understanding the government's insistence on passing a bill that contains provisions that are not necessarily widely accepted or that have not been approved by even a small segment of the Canadian public.

The mother of one victim, Amanda Todd, made statements to the committee that some found incredible. If anyone could have been expected to support Bill C-13 100%, it would have been one of the victims in this huge file, but this mother herself recognized that we should not have to choose between security and privacy. These two concepts are extremely important.

I am not saying that we should reject the provisions in Bill C-13 that deal with access to the private data of some individuals in this context.

We have to recognize just how important this is and give it the thorough study it merits, the way it should be done. We have not done that kind of analysis in a long time.

The committee received a letter, and I would like to read parts of it that I find particularly persuasive. I am not the only one calling for the bill to be divided in two, as we have asked in the motion. The letter was addressed to the committee chair, the very competent member for Burlington, and came from Ontario's Information and Privacy Commissioner, whose stance is echoed by many of her counterparts. I would like to read parts of the letter because she puts a fine point on why we are making this request:

As the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, I am writing you to assist the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in fulfilling its duty to ensure that Canadians have both effective law enforcement and rigorous privacy protections. To find the most compelling testimony on this point, you need look no further than to the statement made before your committee on May 13, 2014:

“We should not have to choose between our privacy and our safety. We should not have to sacrifice our children's privacy rights to make them safe from cyberbullying, 'sextortion' and revenge pornography”.

As you know, these are the words of Carol Todd, whose daughter Amanda took her own life after being shamelessly bullied and abused by a person yet to be brought to justice. The federal government, this Committee, and Parliament as a whole each owe families like the Todd's, as well as all Canadians, their best thinking about both privacy and safety. The fact that over the last decade, the government has repeatedly failed to pass legislation updating police surveillance powers is a sad testimony to the government's failure to honour Canadians' reasonable expectation that they deserve and can have both.

The time for dressing up overreaching surveillance powers in the sheep-like clothing of sanctimony about the serious harms caused by child pornography and cyberbullying is long past. In my view, the government should immediately split Bill C-13 and move ahead quickly to deal with those provisions of the bill that directly address the proposed new offence of non-consensual distribution of intimate images...In the future, further consideration may need to be given to how best to respond to other forms of cyberbullying, for example, of the most unfortunate kind, recently seen on an Instagram account called “IF_U_ON_THIS_KILL_URSELF” (as reported on by Global News). In the meantime, the remaining surveillance-oriented provisions of Bill C-13—some 46 of its 53 pages—should be withdrawn and redrafted.

This work should be approached with reasoned thought and without imposing a time constraint—as this government so often does with everything it introduces in the House—so that we can arrive at and draft good provisions. This is not a trivial matter. We are dealing with people's privacy.

The goal here is to stop crimes, but that does not mean giving carte blanche to the government and police forces to do whatever they want, however they want, whenever they want. There are rules. However, in Bill C-13, those rules are not very clear, and experts do not seem to agree on them. The rules need to be studied and possibly amended, and that will not happen with Bill C-13 as presented in the House and in committee, or with the deadlines imposed on us, or with the commitments by the minister and his government to have this bill passed before the summer break.

It is absolutely cruel, when I see the list of all those who asked to be heard, including experts from across the country. They wanted to be heard on the issue so that we can give our law enforcement agencies the best tools to do their work properly, while respecting Canadians's right to privacy.

Canadians also have the right to be protected by the government. They are already protected by the charter. It has already been noted that Bill C-13 does not include anything on wiretapping. Under the Criminal Code, a person must be notified that they were wiretapped. What is more, there is absolutely nothing in Bill C-13 to indicate that the person concerned has to be notified that some of their information and data has been shared. There needs to be some sort of mechanism to inform a person that their data has been shared. There is the issue of immunity that was given to the telecommunications companies.

The real goal of Bill C-13 was to penalize behaviours that have to do with the distribution of intimate images. That is all. Clauses 2 to 7 and 27 have to do with crime related to the distribution of intimate images. That is not the only form of cyberbullying. It is the rest that shows what is really behind Bill C-13.

Our motion calls for an instruction to be given to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights that, during its consideration of Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, the Committee be granted the power to divide the bill into two bills: the first consisting of clauses 2 to 7 and 27, related to cyberbullying; and the second bill containing all the other provisions of Bill C-13. It is not only experts who are calling for this action to be taken, but also the mother of one of the victims, a woman whom the government likes to quote regularly.

I think that she was very wise in making this recommendation. The government would not be showing weakness by supporting this motion. Rather, it would be showing that, for once, it is listening to people's recommendations. Our intention is not to reject everything in the second part of the bill, and I would not want to hear the members opposite saying that we do not want to give the police the tools they need. That is not at all the case.

What we want to do is to make sure that the tools that we give them are legal and that the application of Bill C-13, if it is passed without amendment, will not eventually lead to a case before the Supreme Court where another bill has to be rejected. Such an approach will just keep bringing us back to square one. That is not a good way to show serious concern for smart justice in Canada.

Give us some time. That does not mean giving us time to stall for nothing. It means giving us time to hear what experts have to say on the subject. Give us the time to analyze each clause without feeling like we have a gun to our heads because the work needs to be done in the next few hours, the bill needs to come back before the House by June 10 or the bill needs to be passed before the House breaks for the summer. That is not an intelligent way to pass a bill that is so important and that will have such a great impact. Many people are still not sure what the consequences of this bill will be.

We are not rejecting the bill. It simply needs to be examined more intelligently.

May 6th, 2014 / 11:50 a.m.
See context

Partner, McInnes Cooper, As an Individual

David Fraser

I tend to disagree with the interpretation of the statute that says lawful authority is anybody with a badge. Let me tell you what is routinely disclosed without a warrant in these sorts of cases. Many of these are reported in court cases. You just have to go the legal databases and search for PIPEDA requests.

The investigating officers have an IP address. They're able to obtain an Internet protocol address related to somebody of interest, and that can be because that person is believed to be sharing child pornography. Most of your activities that take place online expose your IP address to any computer that you connect to. So they have that IP address. They don't know who it is. They can determine, through public databases, what is the Internet service provider. They can go to that Internet service provider and say, “We have an IP address. We want to know who it is. We don't have enough information to convince a judge, but we're going to tell you that it relates to a child exploitation investigation or otherwise.”

Some Canadian telcos, if that request is in writing, will hand over that information. Other Canadian telcos will say to come back with a warrant because they're not comfortable that they're allowed to under PIPEDA. That's essentially the nub of it. None of them, to my knowledge, will hand over content. If you say “I want the content of the e-mail inbox of Joe Blow at”, they're not going to get that without a warrant. We've heard in the debates over Bill C-30 that this is not private information. In fact it is. I believe you have a privacy interest in your activities online, and I think most Canadians would agree. Most of the debate, I think, turns on that particular question.

May 6th, 2014 / 11:45 a.m.
See context


Sean Casey Charlottetown, PE

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thanks to all the witnesses.

Mr. Alhattab and Madam Guthrie, I particularly appreciated your comments with respect to restorative justice. I do think that's something that should appear much more on the agenda.

I share Mr. Fraser's view that the major problems with this legislation relate to the reincarnation of Bill C-30. Ms. Guthrie spoke to that at some length as well.

Mr. Fraser, I want to focus in on the section that you referenced, proposed section 487.0195, and on the warrantless, secret, non-consensual, voluntary disclosure of information. You spent some time talking about the types of information that are available on a reduced legal standard. I know that when you listed that information you weren't talking about the stuff that can be obtained without a warrant.

Just for the benefit of everyone here, what is available without a warrant? What can be lawfully voluntarily disclosed by telephone companies under the protection of PIPEDA?

May 6th, 2014 / 11:20 a.m.
See context

Feminist Advocate, As an Individual

Steph Guthrie

Thank you for having me here today.

I'd like to thank my fellow witnesses, who both had really eloquent and valuable things to say.

My name is Steph Guthrie. I am a freelance feminist and digital strategist. For the last year I have been speaking and writing at length about the issue that Bill C-13 claims to tackle.

While the bill's name in the press is the “cyberbullying” bill, the more specific problem that I think is addressed by components of Bill C-13 is actually known as “revenge porn” more specifically, a term that I hate for both its inaccuracy and its sexualized sensationalism. Whatever you call it, though, we're talking about sharing sexually explicit images without the consent of the person or persons depicted. While some such cases might involve hacking, in many cases the subject actually consented to share the images with one person for private use, such as a sexual partner, and that person then violates their trust and shares the image with others, despite the subject's in most cases obviously implied expectation of discretion.

The crux of the harm that is inflicted here is the violation of informed consent. If I share an image with another person privately, that consent is not transferable. Had I known that the other person might later share the image with others, I would be unlikely to consent to letting that person access the image in the first place. So any consent I provide to a person accessing that image is pretty clearly contingent on them keeping it to themselves.

For me, informed consent is an integral part of privacy. Indeed, in her influential privacy by design framework, Ontario Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian cites freely given and specific consent as a vital element of digital privacy. Cavoukian's principle can be applied to non-consensual intimate image sharing, which—let's be honest—is a really clunky and cumbersome way of describing what is ultimately cybersexual assault. A survivor of cybersexual assault did not provide specific consent for their image to be shared with others. The perpetrator simply treated their consent as transferable to any other use, any other disclosure.

As I'm sure some other speakers over the course of considering this bill will share with you, the results of this are devastating. It does mostly happen to women, although men are not immune, and it destroys their lives. The images follow them into their job interviews, on their first dates, and to the laundromat. In some cases the perpetrator of the cybersexual assault incites violence or stalking against the survivor, publishing their personal information and the dates and times of their professional engagements, encouraging their “fans” to make an appearance.

In any case, the assault constricts the survivor's ability to live life normally and comfortably because they are constantly living with the idea that the people they encounter in their day-to-day lives may know intimate things about them that they didn't consent to share. Even if the survivor knows they did nothing wrong, they still must deal with the judgments, misperceptions, and intrusions of others. For many survivors, their ability to move freely, safely, and happily in this world is limited.

I am fortunate to not yet have been attacked and tormented in this way, but I could be. It's common for authorities and the media to malign people who send so-called sexts as teenagers with poor judgment and poor impulse control. But that doesn't line up with reality. According to a Harris Poll in 2012, a full 40%—that's not a majority, but it was the largest percentage—of people who send these images are in the 18 to 34 age range; and 20% of all adults sext. In fact, a McAfee survey puts that number closer to 50%. I'm willing to bet that a lot more than 50% of us have trusted a romantic or sexual partner only to learn later that our trust was misplaced.

Cybersexual assaults can and do happen to a lot of us. When Rehtaeh Parsons died by suicide after months and months of torment from her peers and indifference from authorities following her own sexual assault, first in the flesh, then online, I heard Prime Minister Stephen Harper say: “...we've got to stop using just the term bullying to describe some of these things....What we are dealing with in some of these circumstances is simply criminal activity.”

While I join my fellow witness in favouring a restorative justice approach, at the time I was already a vocal advocate for legislation to tackle cybersexual assault, and was accustomed to hearing political and legal decision-makers blame the victim for it. So I was cautiously optimistic at Prime Minister Harper's remarks.

Then I realized, as many Canadians realized, that most of Bill C-13 is not really about what happened to Rehtaeh Parsons. Buried within Bill C-13 is a set of decent Criminal Code amendments to tackle cybersexual assault. Though I do see some minor issues with those amendments, which my fellow witnesses have already covered off quite well, and I can certainly refer to them in greater length during the Q and A, I do think that the base for good cybersexual assault legislation is there in Bill C-13. But you have to dig pretty hard to find it amid the many other sweeping amendments that more closely resemble the lawful access provisions found in Bill C-30 back in 2012. That was the time when Canadians were told that opposition to the bill was tantamount to supporting child pornographers.

While some of the more egregious elements of the former Bill C-30 have been removed from this latest incarnation—and I'm glad to see that—it still significantly expands the state's capacity for surveilling Canadians without the pesky oversight of our court system.

One of the most troubling provisions in Bill C-30 was that it mandated the disclosure of user information to police without a search warrant. The newly designed provision in Bill C-13 very cleverly softens this, instead stating that police can request information, and the person or organization to whom they direct their request can voluntarily comply. However, the very next provision in Bill C-13 removes all civil liability for anyone who discloses another person's information to police upon request. This granting of immunity removes much of the incentive for an Internet service provider, or anyone else, to deny the request.

As law enforcement officers and prominent figures of power and authority in our lives, it is also debatable the extent to which a person might feel compelled to provide the information to a police officer, even if technically they are volunteering to do so.

In the last week, a steady stream of damning media reports have indicated that the practice of voluntarily disclosing user information to police is already in full swing among Canadian telecommunications companies, with the state making over a million requests for user information in the course of a year—and that was back in 2011—all without warrants, i.e., without due process. All were quite obviously without users' consent.

Perhaps most of Bill C-13 isn't really about cybersexual assault, but I find it interesting that it violates some of the same privacy principles, such as freely given and specific consent. Most of us do not and would not give free and specific consent for the state to access any, and potentially all, of our data by way of our Internet service providers if we had any meaningful choice in the matter.

The consent we give is to our Internet service providers. If the police want our information because they suspect we are engaged in criminal activity, well, most of us would assume that is what search warrants are for.

Bill C-13 enshrines the idea of transferable consent in law, immunizing anyone who shares our information and violates our privacy without adequate legal justification for doing so.

While obviously different in many ways, the limitations on personal freedom imposed by Bill C-13 bear some striking similarities to those imposed by cybersexual assault. The state could be following us into our job interviews, on our first dates, or to the laundromat. The bill's provisions will restrict Canadians' ability to live life normally and comfortably because they are constantly living with the idea that the state, when they encounter it, may know intimate things about them that they didn't consent to share. Even if they know they have done nothing wrong, they must still deal with the judgments, misperceptions, and intrusions of the state.

For many Canadians, if Bill C-13 passes as written, our ability to move freely, safely, and happily in this world will be limited. That's why it pains me to say that after a year of arguing for legislation that criminalizes cybersexual assault, I cannot support this legislation as written. We should separate the components of Bill C-13 that deal directly with cybersexual assault from those that do not and debate them as different pieces of legislation. They are different issues.

Not only would this be in the best interest of Canadians, but I believe it would do greater justice to survivors of cybersexual assault than amalgamating their cause with another one that serves the state's pursuit of power more than it serves Canadians.

Thank you.

Safeguarding of Personal Information
Business of Supply
Routine Proceedings

May 5th, 2014 / 6 p.m.
See context


Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to conclude the debate on the opposition motion.

I will read the motion, because after hearing such garbage today, I was beginning to think that I was not talking about the right one. This is what the motion, moved by the hon. member for Terrebonne—Blainville, is asking of the House:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should follow the advice of the Privacy Commissioner and make public the number of warrantless disclosures made by telecommunications companies at the request of federal departments and agencies; and immediately close the loophole that has allowed the indiscriminate disclosure of the personal information of law-abiding Canadians without a warrant.

I cannot believe that today, May 5, 2014, the Conservatives are going to vote against this motion. It is absolutely incredible. We heard all sorts of drama from the Conservatives about extremely important security issues. They shifted the debate from the opposition motion, which simply calls on the government to grant the Privacy Commissioner's request and make certain information public. It seems quite reasonable to me.

Today is the best possible day to be in the House. This morning, we debated Bill C-567, which was introduced by my colleague from Winnipeg Centre and is all about access to information. This motion is completely justified in light of the context, but they are saying all kinds of things.

I would like to comment on a question that my colleague from Timmins—James Bay asked the last Conservative member who spoke. That member laughed in his face even though the question was completely relevant. It was about peace officers, not as the local paper defines them, but as the Criminal Code defines them.

I would like to give my colleagues opposite a little lesson about the Criminal Code. It is important to define the notion of “peace officer” accurately, because Bill C-13, the government's supposed cyberbullying bill, refers to that notion. That bill is about much more than cyberbullying and the distribution of intimate images.

According to section 2 of the Criminal Code, a peace officer includes:

(a) a mayor, warden, reeve, sheriff, deputy sheriff, sheriff’s officer and justice of the peace,

(b) a member of the Correctional Service of Canada who is designated as a peace officer pursuant to Part I of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, and a warden, deputy warden, instructor, keeper, jailer, guard and any other officer or permanent employee of a prison other than a penitentiary as defined in Part I of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act,

(c) a police officer, police constable, bailiff, constable, or other person employed for the preservation and maintenance of the public peace or for the service or execution of civil process,

(c.1) a designated officer as defined in section 2 of the Integrated Cross-border Law Enforcement Operations Act, when

(i) participating in an integrated cross-border operation, as defined in section 2 of that Act, or

(ii) engaging in an activity incidental to such an operation, including travel for the purpose of participating in the operation and appearances in court arising from the operation,

(d) an officer within the meaning of the Customs Act [or] the Excise Act...or a person having the powers of such an officer...

I could keep reading this definition until 6:15 p.m. It is not so far-fetched for my colleague from Timmins—James Bay to suggest that Mayor Ford could request certain information.

What is more, the NDP has been heavily criticized today for some of its requests. However, in La Presse this morning, there was an article by Joël-Denis Bellavance on the information we are looking for with the official opposition motion moved by my colleague from Terrebonne—Blainville. Mr. Bellavance reported that the Privy Council Office also made a request of all its departments. The PCO wanted to know who these people were who made 1.2 million requests for information about Canadians. There are 1.2 million Canadians who are allegedly affected by these requests.

All day, the Conservatives have been telling us that this is terrible, that what we are asking for is scary and that the NDP does not know what it is talking about.

I even heard one of the ministers of state, a junior minister over there, say the times have changed.

I think we all know that. Information circulates quickly, I agree. Regardless of the fact that times have changed, there are still laws that apply in this country.

We all know that this Conservative government likes to intrude on Canadian taxpayers' privacy and could not care less about almost every law around. When this government gets caught, it takes a holier than thou stance or it suddenly takes a few strategic steps backward and comes back with what I like to call the Trojan Horse tactic. In other words, it disguises its approach in another way.

Everyone in the House remembers Bill C-30, introduced by my favourite minister, the former minister of public safety. I was going to say something unkind, but I will be careful. Thank God the public woke up and made a concerted effort to ensure that the government backed down. This goes to show that ridicule never killed anyone. However, sometimes it kills political careers, even though politicians will often end up becoming a judge somewhere. Everyone kept telling the former public safety minister what he was in the process of doing. They ridiculed his bill. Sometimes that is what it takes with this government.

Their concerns were heard. The Conservatives withdrew the bill and suddenly we had Bill S-4 and Bill C-13, which deals with cyberbullying. Who in the House would not want to protect victims? Who would not want to say at some point that we passed legislation after a number of young people committed suicide as a result of bullying? That is rather disgusting, although there are other unparliamentary words that could be used. It is problematic to rise in the House and say that, on the contrary, we are in favour of cyberbullying. However, once again, the Conservatives introduced five or six pages of text that were more or less accurate and then combined them with tons of provisions that amend all sorts of legislation.

Fortunately, the Minister of Justice told me that he would give the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights the time needed to examine those provisions. Perhaps we, the members of that committee, are not the best people to examine those provisions. Fortunately, we will be hearing from many experts.

I still believe that the motion that I moved at the beginning of the debate on Bill C-13 made complete sense. I proposed dividing the bill in two so that that we could do what we do best: examine the provisions of the Criminal Code and make sure that the new provisions regarding the distribution of intimate images fall within the parameters and meet the test of the Criminal Code.

Instead, we are going to be spending a lot of our time looking at the aspects of the bill dealing with privacy and how certain telecommunications providers will be able to disclose information without a warrant, or with a warrant but with a lighter burden of proof, and so on.

Unfortunately, since the beginning, this government has shown us that it has no credibility. Every week, there is a new drama featuring one of the people sitting in the front benches. At the end of last week—and it has continued into this week—it was the Prime Minister and his serious insinuations. Sometimes, not saying enough is the same as saying too much. He attacked the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Members on the Conservative benches are wondering why we do not trust them. Why are we suspicious when we get bills like Bill S-4 or Bill C-13? We are wondering what is behind those bills.

People have been debating this motion all day in the House. I repeat that it does not get any simpler than this motion, which calls on the government to follow the advice of the Privacy Commissioner. Who does not want to follow that advice? Who is against making public the number of disclosures, when even the Prime Minister's Office is quietly checking into this matter? The Conservatives are simply afraid of doing things. They want public information on our constituents, on Canadian taxpayers, but they do not want anyone other than themselves to have access to that information.

That is why the government does so much behind closed doors. The representatives of the people, here in the House, certainly have a right to know. We are getting questions as well. I hear from people, and I am sure that my colleagues in the House, even on the Conservative side, are hearing from people. I am shocked to see that many of these people, from the Reform Party of Canada and the Canadian Alliance, who made a point of calling themselves the voice of the people, are now the biggest puppets, sitting in their seats, terrified to rise and say that this makes absolutely no sense.

At some point we need to wake up and go back to our ridings to talk to our constituents, who are asking what is going on with their information, who has access to this information, when and why. Are there 1.2 million criminals somewhere in Canada? Is it because we have relaxed our rules so much that everyone—ISPs, telecommunications companies and others—feels justified in passing on information? The companies know that they will go unpunished if they freely share information on anything. That is dangerous.

Some people here in the House say that times have changed. That is true. I can do research. In fact, I do not claim to know all the sections of the Criminal Code, and I was able to find the section on the concept of peace officer right away, in two seconds. It was actually quicker than that as I think it took me one-tenth of a second to find the definition in the Criminal Code. Sometimes I tell young people or future lawyers that they are lucky because, in my day—I do not like to say this because it dates me, but it is a fact—when I did my research, I had to go to the law faculty library and open maybe 18 books before formulating an idea. Now, we just click on a button.

However, just because information travels at astronomical speeds, it does not mean that the privacy guarantees and protections granted to all Canadians under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms must be trampled by a government that does not care about protecting its citizens.

Opposition Motion—Safeguarding of Personal Information
Business of Supply
Government Orders

May 5th, 2014 / 1:40 p.m.
See context


Ryan Cleary St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, I stand in support of the motion by the hon. member for Terrebonne—Blainville.

The motion calls on government to make public the number, and just the number, of warrantless disclosures made by telecom companies at the request of federal departments and agencies. The motion also calls on government to close the loophole that has allowed the indiscriminate disclosure of personal information of law-abiding Canadians without a warrant.

To simplify, how many times have telecom companies handed out personal information about Canadians without a warrant to government? The government must find an immediate way to shut down the loophole that allows such personal information to be released.

We live in an incredibly connected world. Earlier this year I travelled to Tanzania, Africa, to tour Canadian development projects with a group called Results Canada. Its mission is all about ending extreme poverty, and I did see some extreme poverty. One of the images that will always stick with me is walking into a maternity ward at a rural hospital, or what they called a hospital. The maternity ward was crammed with nine or 10 beds, but there were two women in labour to a single bed.

The Tanzanians I met were the finest and best kind of people, a lovely people, but they were living with basically nothing. Still, almost every adult I came across, who could have absolutely nothing but the second-hand clothes on their back and be sleeping under a tree, still had a cellphone, and they looked at the screens as often as we do.

My point is that from Tanzania to Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador, my neck of the woods, the dependency on the Internet and on cellphones is universal.

Just this weekend I read an article by Stephen Hawking, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, on how artificial intelligence—and we are almost to that point—could be the worst thing to happen to humanity. It would be more or less the rise of the machines. I cannot even imagine a country being led by a robot.

Oh, wait; yes, I can.

Another article I read this weekend outlined how U.S. intelligence whistle-blower Edward Snowden has warned that entire populations, rather than just individuals, now live under constant surveillance. I do not know if it is to that point in Canada, but we do have some serious cause for concern.

Let us look at the numbers first.

In late April, we learned that government departments and agencies—the RCMP, Canada Border Services Agency, and CSIS, the Canadian spy agency—requested personal information from telecom companies almost 1.2 million times in 2011 alone. That is staggering. It is a jaw-dropping rate. As the previous speaker said, it is one request every 27 seconds.

However, the number of requests for personal information is most likely greater than 1.2 million, because three of nine telecom companies told the Privacy Commissioner how many times they granted the government's requests for customer data, not how many times the government asked for the data. It was how many times they gave the data.

It is reported that wireless telecom companies complied with the government's requests for customer data at least 785,000 times. The 2010 data from the RCMP show that 94% of requests involving customer name and address information was provided voluntarily without a warrant.

Here is another indicator or how often warrants were used or not used. Canada Border Services Agency obtained customer data from telecom companies 19,000 times in one year, but it obtained a warrant in fewer than 200 of those cases.

Do Canadians have a problem with telecom companies handing out their personal information left, right, and centre? Yes, we do. This is not 1984 or Brave New World. The idea of a Conservative Big Brother does not sit well with Canadians.

That said, it is generally understood across the board that police need information to catch criminals and to protect Canadian society. There is no time to get a warrant when a life is in danger, when a life is in jeopardy.

However, this is beyond that. At least 1.2 million requests for personal information, most times without a hint of a warrant, is a staggering statistic. The current Conservative government is paying to access our personal information, to the tune of between $1 and $3 for each request.

More than two years ago in this House, the former minister of public safety, Vic Toews, introduced Bill C-30, a bill to expand police surveillance of the web. At the time, he said “[You're either] with us or with the child pornographers”. That statement got the attention of all of Canada, and the immediate and appropriate backlash forced the Conservatives to back down, to walk away from the bill.

Since that outrageous bill was dropped and Toews was appointed to the Manitoba bench—but that is another story—the current government has introduced other legislation to this House that it says will protect the privacy of Canadians. In fact, the legislation may actually increase spying on Canadians without a warrant. The first example, Bill C-13, is a bill that is aimed at tackling cyberbullying and is expected to expand warrantless disclosure of Internet and cellular subscriber information to law enforcement agencies. Another example is Bill S-4, the digital privacy act, which would extend the authority to disclose subscriber information without a warrant to private organizations, not just law enforcement agencies.

The government has a bad habit of doing through the back door what it cannot do through the front door. The current government also has some hypocritical tendencies. On the one hand, the Minister of Industry argued that the long form census was intrusive, so the Conservatives eliminated it. On the other hand, this administration has no qualms and sees nothing wrong with invading the private information of Canadians and not telling them about what it is doing. It has repeatedly introduced legislation that would make it easier for Conservatives to snoop on Canadians.

Here is another example of hypocrisy. This country's information watchdog has said that it has been flooded with complaints that the current Conservative government is too often citing security in order to withhold documents requested under the Access to Information Act. The Conservatives are using the security excuse to withhold public information at the same time that the floodgates are open on the personal information and security of Canadians.

We live in an age where technology is advancing at an incredible pace and rate. Yet, the Privacy Act that is meant to protect the privacy of Canadians and keep government accountable has not been updated since 1983. That was before the Internet, Google, email, Facebook, and Twitter. Another act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, has not been updated since 2000, also before social media was born.

New Democrats believe that privacy laws should be modernized. We also believe they should be strengthened, not weakened, to better protect the personal information of Canadians. We also believe we can pursue bad guys and throw the book at them without treating law-abiding Canadians like criminals and violating their rights.

I will end with words from Edward Snowden, the former U.S. intelligence contractor, who said last week that state surveillance today is a euphemism for mass surveillance. He said:

It's no longer based on the traditional practice of targeted taps based on some individual suspicion of wrongdoing. It covers phone calls, emails, texts, search history, what you buy, who your friends are, where you go, who you love.

In so many ways, the Internet and social media are the new frontier. They are still the new frontier. It is our duty to ensure that laws and security do not fall to Big Conservative Brother.

Opposition Motion—Safeguarding of Personal Information
Business of Supply
Government Orders

May 5th, 2014 / 1:25 p.m.
See context


Mathieu Ravignat Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of rising in the House on behalf of the people of Pontiac to support the opposition motion moved by my hon. colleague, who does an excellent job when it comes to protecting the privacy of Canadians in the digital age.

I will be sharing my time with the wonderful member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl, who tells me that his riding is the most beautiful in the country. However, I have to disagree with him because surely Pontiac is the most beautiful.

The subject of this motion could not be more important: the privacy of Canadians. The good people of the Pontiac are as concerned as other citizens that the increasingly technological world we live in should respect the privacy of individuals. This privacy may be breached in all sorts of ways today, but governments, as well as companies, have a fundamental responsibility to ensure that they protect the private lives of Canadians.

To me, the privacy of Canadians is sacrosanct. We are a G7 country where democracy has been stable, and we have a duty to our fellow citizens in this regard. However, we must remain constantly vigilant when the government begins to creep into the lives of Canadians. This is a slippery slope in any democracy, and certain inherent dangers exist in the sharing of private information with the government. This begs the question: what limits are imposed on governments today when they request information that is not voluntarily given by Canadians?

We have learned recently that Canadian law enforcement agencies have begun to request massive amounts of information on Canadians from telecommunications companies. Due to advances in technology, it is the telecommunications sector, and providers in particular, who collect massive amounts of data about their subscribers.

What is worrying is that this is not the first time we have heard this. In 2011, according to the Privacy Commissioner, telecommunications providers responded to 1,193,630 requests for the personal information of Canadians. That is an average of one request every 27 seconds. This does not even cover it, since only three of the nine major telecom companies actually informed the commissioner's office of how many times they granted the government's request for consumer data.

Of this staggering number of requests, figures provided to the office in late 2011 show that wireless telecom companies complied with the government's request for customer data, and the vast majority of these requests were done without a warrant or even information sent to the individuals concerned. No consent was sought, and no consent was given.

The situation is so bad, and so many requests have been made, that one major company actually had to install a mirror of their data on a network so that it could send this raw data traffic directly to the federal authorities requesting it.

A concerted government response is clearly required and urgently needed to protect the privacy of Canadians. Instead, seemingly to have an increased amount of information on Canadians, the government has actually eroded the protection of the privacy of Canadians since it formed government. Whether this has been on purpose or by accident, we can judge the consequences.

For example, it has consistently refused to update any of the laws that keep the government accountable with regard to the privacy information of Canadians. The privacy laws have not been updated since the 1980s. That was before Facebook. In fact, the Internet was in its infancy back then. We have to do better.

By allowing thousands of breaches of personal information, the government has also consistently shown itself to be incapable of adequately protecting Canadians' privacy within its own departments, as we have seen with the recent Heartbleed situation or as one can recall from the letter debacle at the CRA. Contradictions abound, because under the pretext of protecting the privacy of Canadians and while decrying heavy-handed government, the industry minister argued that the long form census was intrusive and eliminated it, yet the government sees nothing wrong with invading Canadians' private information without a warrant and without even telling them.

It has repeatedly introduced legislation that makes it easier for Conservatives and the government to snoop on Canadians. For example, we can remember the public safety minister's introduction of the infamous Bill C-30, known as the online snooping bill. Fortunately, Canadians were paying attention. They were outraged, and the government was forced to back down. Since then, though, Bill C-13, the government's cyberbullying law, though well-intentioned, includes lawful access provisions that would expand warrantless disclosure of information to law enforcement by giving immunity from any liability to companies holding Canadians' information if they disclose it without a warrant. This makes it more likely that companies would have to hand over information without a warrant, as there are no risks they would face or any criminal or civil penalties if they do so.

We can also mention Bill S-4, the new so-called digital privacy act, which would go even further and allow private sector organizations to hand over Canadians' private information. This again could be done without consent and without a court order to any organization investigating a breach of contract or potential violation of any law. This could also be done in secret, without the knowledge of the affected person.

We may, quite reasonably, ask why the government is not taking the privacy of Canadians more seriously. Where is the libertarian zeal that motivated so many of my colleagues on the other side of the House, the idea that government was too big and too intrusive in the lives of Canadians? The reality is that government has crept more into the lives of Canadians under the watch of this government than at perhaps any other time in Canadian history.

Many questions remain unanswered. The citizens of my riding would like to understand why breaches to their privacy are happening more and more frequently. The onus is on the government to prove there is enough crime or potential terrorism or other matters of national security to justify 1.2 million requests for personal information in a single year.

However, what concerns me the most is the lack of due process. It seems to me that when law enforcement agencies decide they want private information on citizens, at the very least there should be a good cause for them to seek it. In our current situation, that determination is assured by the warrant process. If a request does not meet the requirements of a warrant, then it should simply not be made.

Since I am short on time, I will skip ahead. Essentially, Canadians have a right to know who is snooping on them and how they are doing it. I just do not understand why the Conservative government does not simply come clean with Canadians and give them the whole picture of what is really going on. On our side of the House, we want this information to be provided to Canadians as rapidly as possible.

Canadians understand that law enforcement agencies need information to track down criminals.

However, the fact that the government is requesting Canadians' personal information from telecommunications companies without a warrant 1.2 million times a year is completely unacceptable. The problem with warrantless disclosure is that it is uncontrolled and results in information being disclosed much more frequently than is justified.

In conclusion, it is clear that our privacy laws need to be updated in order to better protect Canadians' personal information. These laws must not be weakened. We need to be able to take effective legal action against criminals without infringing on the rights of law-abiding Canadians and treating them like criminals.

Opposition Motion—Safeguarding of Personal Information
Business of Supply
Government Orders

May 5th, 2014 / 1 p.m.
See context


Anne-Marie Day Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are unable to protect people's personal information. They are responsible for thousands of their own violations and violations committed by various departments. How did the Conservative government have the nerve to introduce a bill such as Bill C-30 on online spying without a warrant?

Public pressure was required for the government to reverse that decision.

Opposition Motion—Safeguarding of Personal Information
Business of Supply
Government Orders

May 5th, 2014 / 12:15 p.m.
See context


Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today on this very important issue. The New Democratic Party calls for accountability and an explanation on behalf of Canadians into the widespread spying and interference of Canadians' Internet use and their cellphone use under the current government.

What we are asking for today is eminently reasonable. We are asking simply to ensure the powers of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the member who represents us as a parliamentary officer, who represents the Canadian people, and that she have the authority to ensure that the laws of this land are being followed.

Now, we have a government, of course, that will do anything it can to obstruct the work of the offices of Parliament because right now the offices of Parliament are about the only bulwark standing in the way of the numerous underminings of Canadians' legal rights, and even the illegal activities that are being undertaken by the Conservative Party.

It has been said that one of the foundations of a democracy is to ensure maximum transparency for government and maximum privacy for citizens. However, the current paranoid and secretive government has flipped it. The Conservatives have maximum privacy for their black holes of administration where they refuse to answer the simplest questions, and they are getting maximum transparency on the lives of Canadian citizens to the tune of 1.2 million requests of telecoms last year.

Now that is a conservative number, and I say “conservative” in the way the Conservatives have begun to use this, because not all the telecoms bothered to even respond to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. That is a very disturbing trend.

What does the 1.2 million requests mean? It means that every 27 seconds someone from a government agency, who, we do not know; for what reason, we do not know; for what possible motive, we do not know; picks up a telecom and asks for information about the private lives of Canadian citizens, and gets it without warrant.

Let us debunk the excuses we have heard from the Conservatives on this.

First is the bogeyman excuse. Conservatives use the bogeyman all the time. The bogeyman is out there roaming the streets. The member for Oak Ridges—Markham the other day made it sound like his neighbourhood was a case of Shaun of the Dead. There are these violent criminals and terrorists all over the place and so the Conservatives have to be able to call up a telecom immediately to gather any information they need whenever they want it.

Those laws already exist and it is fairly straightforward to get information if a violent crime is occurring. However, we are being led to believe that the bogeyman is out there and the current government has to stop it.

How does the government define terrorists?

I think we should say that, in this whole piece on spying, we are dealing with the revenge of Vic Toews. I refer members back to February 2012 when Vic Toews branded the new anti-terrorism strategy, “building resilience against terrorism: Canada’s counter-terrorism strategy”.

The government was going to go after terrorists, which included domestic extremism that is “based on grievances--real or perceived--revolving around the promotion of various causes such as animal rights...environmentalism and anti-capitalism”.

If a person is against the Northern Gateway Pipeline, under the current government's framework, he or she is a potential terrorist. Therefore, the government can decide to follow his or her movements, as he or she is one of the bogeymen.

A concern about animal rights is not that of concern for animal rights such as our Prime Minister's wife who tells us that 1,000 murdered or missing women may be a great cause, but they are here for abandoned cats. The government is probably not spying on the Prime Minister's wife. However, someone else who might have concerns about animal rights, and it is in there, is a potential terrorist and worthy of picking up the phone.

One of the other excuses is that the Conservatives are not asking for anything that is not already the norm. It is just like picking up a phone book and looking up a number. Calling a telecom and demanding private information on Canadians is just like using a phone book.

The Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Ann Cavoukian, says that is a load of bunk. She said the following about getting even basic subscriber information such as ISP numbers:

...customer name and address information ties us to our entire digital life, unlike a stationary street address. Therefore, “subscriber information” is far from the modern day equivalent of a publicly available “phone book”. Rather, it is the key to a much wider subset of information.

Then the Conservatives say, “Don't you trust our police?” We certainly would trust the police. However, we also see that Ann Cavoukian has said that at no time have Canadian authorities provided the public with any evidence or reasoning that Canadian law enforcement agencies have been frustrated in the performance of their duties as a result of shortcomings in the current law. The privacy commissioners in their joint letter, also write to the Prime Minister saying, “The capacity of the state to conduct surveillance and access private information while reducing the frequency and vigour of judicial scrutiny” is the heart of the issue.

We all remember when Vic Toews stood up in the House and told Canadian citizens who were concerned about the fact that they were being spied on, that they were basically in league with child pornographers if they had the nerve to stand up for them. That was such a boneheaded move and it caused such a blowback on the government that they had to retract the legislation. Why would the Conservatives show intent on pushing that through? We now know, they were trying to legalize what has become the common practice. Their shadow world of spying on Canadians is not legal. Gathering this information without warrants is not legal. This is why they put forward Bill C-30, to attempt to deal with it. We all remember Vic Toews had one of those pieces, “The Minister may provide the telecommunications service provider with any equipment or other thing that the Minister considers the service provider needs to comply with” their ability to spy on Canadians.

That seemed like such a bizarre request at the time, but we have seen with the NSA and the widespread spying on American citizens and citizens around the world is exactly what Vic Toews was getting at, which is the ability to create mirror sites. The fact that we just learned in Der Spiegel that the NSA tapped the underwater cable network between Europe and U.S.A. to listen in on what ordinary citizens were doing on the Internet. The Conservatives have the same vision. They wanted to legalize that ability, and they were frustrated.

We are hearing the biggest excuse from the Conservatives. They realize the Vic Toews approach of accusing ordinary Canadians of being like child pornographers really did not work, but now they would reassure Canadians that they would fix it. They will fix it all right. They will fix it so that not only they will get to spy on Canadians, but anybody who wants to will be able to spy on Canadians: corporations can spy on Canadians, and all manner of very dubiously named authorities now will be able to spy.

Let us go through some of the issues on Bill S-4 and Bill C-13. According to Michael Geist, Bill S-4 will “massively expand warrantless disclosure of personal information”, because under Bill S-4, “an organization may disclose the personal information without the knowledge and consent of the individual...if the disclosure is made to another organization”. Not the laws of the land, not the RCMP, not anti-terrorism units, but if an individual is in dispute with a corporation over some contractual obligation, it can call their telecom, have their information handed over and they will not be told.

The Conservatives will certainly fix it. They will fix it to make widespread snooping of everything we do all the time perfectly legitimate for any corporation that just phones up and says it wants to know what they are doing on the Internet.

That is not all. Let us look at Bill C-13, which will give a public officer or a peace officer the ability to call telecom, demand information, and the telecoms will receive legal immunity for passing over this private information.

An interesting article in the National Post points out that Rob Ford will now be able to make these requests, because, oh, yes, he is a public officer, and under the act, if Rob Ford wants to find out what his neighbours are doing, interfering with the drug gangs in Rexdale with whom he might be friends, he would actually be able to make the calls.

The Criminal Code describes these peace officers, public officers, as including reeves of small towns, county wardens, who would be able to get information, and even people designated under the Fisheries Act. However, there is another element that is really important. Under the present laws, even with all this snooping that is going on, it has to be part of an investigation. The government would remove the caveat that says this snooping, this spying on the rights of Canadians does not have to have anything to do with an investigation. If the Conservatives want a fishing trip, if they want to keep tabs on them, they will be able to do so.

This needs to be dealt with. This is a government that is spying on law-abiding citizens and treating them as criminals, and it needs to be held accountable for this abuse of Canadians' rights.