Canada kills controversial internet surveillance bill

Reuters/Hyungwon Kang
Reuters/Hyungwon Kang
Reuters/Hyungwon Kang

The Conservative Canadian government is abandoning its much-criticized internet surveillance bill, which would have allowed the government to keep tabs on its citizens and was disguised under the cloak of fighting child pornographers.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announced that Bill C-30, which caused public ire over privacy, is dead.

“We’ve listened to the concerns of Canadians,” Nicholson told reporters. “We will not be proceeding with Bill C-30 … including the warrantless mandatory disclosure of basic subscriber information, or the requirement for telecommunications service providers to build intercept capabilities within their systems”.

Bill C-30 or otherwise known as the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act was introduced in Parliament less than a year ago, and it was presented as a choice that Canadians must make: to either support the bill or be on the side of child pornographers.

“He can either stand with us or stand with the child pornographers,” argued Public Safety Minister Vic Toews in Parliament while attacking the opposition last February.

This comment led to public outrage, raising privacy concerns across the nation.

What made the legislation dangerous was that it forced Internet service providers to have systems that allowed police to intercept and track online communications.

Also, it would have permitted authorities to have warrantless access to Internet subscriber information, including name, address, telephone number, email address and Internet protocol address.

But, activists viewed the proposed bill as a huge infringement on privacy.

“This is a great day,” critic of the bill, Ontario Privacy Commissioner Ann Couvukian told The Globe and Mail,  “This is a victory for privacy and for freedom.”

International hacktivist movement Anonymous also hailed the killing of the bill.