Tag Archives: CBC News

Conservatives say security committee is a 'radical departure,' breaks election promises - CBC News 20160112

Conservatives say security committee is a 'radical departure,' breaks election promises - CBC News 20160112

David McGuinty-led intelligence committee formed without dialogue, Tories complain

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale is in the United Kingdom this week meeting with British parliamentarians and security officials to study how they've used a committee of parliamentarians as a watchdog for their national security agencies. But he didn't take any opposition MPs with him.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale is in the United Kingdom this week meeting with British parliamentarians and security officials to study how they've used a committee of parliamentarians as a watchdog for their national security agencies. But he didn't take any opposition MPs with him.

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Conservative critics are panning last Friday's announcement that veteran Liberal MP David McGuinty will have a "leadership role" on a new statutory committee of parliamentarians responsible for reviewing security-related issues.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale's announcement came without "any meaningful dialogue with the security and intelligence community in Canada and without any consultation with parliamentarians," said public safety critic Erin O'Toole and Conservative House Leader Andrew Scheer in a press release issued Tuesday.

"Minister Goodale's approach undermines the establishment of a committee that is supposed to be free from political agendas."

Goodale, who is in the U.K. this week consulting with parliamentarians and intelligence officials there who have experience with a similar oversight body, confirmed Tuesday that McGuinty was the government's choice to chair the committee.

"The prime minister has invited Mr. McGuinty to serve as chair and I'm very glad that David has been with me in these consultations, to have the benefit of that first hand reflection," he said.

McGuinty is travelling with Goodale but was not available for comment.

Forming the committee was an election promise and part of the mandate letter Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote to his new minister.

A press release sent out by the prime minister's office Friday said a more detailed proposal "will be brought forward in the coming months," in order to "meet its stated goal of strengthening national security oversight."

Goodale said it's time Canada added parliamentary oversight to its security agencies, something other members of the so-called Five Eyes intelligence alliance — the spy group comprising Canada, the U.S., Britain, Australia and New Zealand — already have.

"Canada is an anomaly here. The other four allies have had this mechanism for some considerable length of time. We have not," Goodale said.

"The important message is that the review processes, in terms of national security, need to be credible. They need to be seen in the eyes of Canadians as legitimate, that provide the kind of independent, solid, substantive review and oversight that the public can trust," Goodale said.

The public safety minister added that the previous Harper government squandered a moment, after the Oct. 22, 2014 attack in Ottawa, to work across partisan lines to address national security concerns.

'This is not a good sign'

The proposed review process would give all parliamentarians on the committee sufficient security clearance to be briefed confidentially on national security and intelligence matters, in order to serve as a check and balance against agencies overstepping legal bounds or violating human rights.

However, the Conservatives note, Goodale has not asked any opposition MPs to participate in this part of the process.

Veterans Affairs 20150414
Conservative public safety critic Erin O'Toole is accusing the Liberal government of acting unilaterally to overhaul national security oversight.

"For a government which pledged to work with all parliamentarians, this is not a good sign," O'Toole and Scheer's release said.

The previous Conservative government was criticized for weakening the oversight of Canada's spy agency, CSIS, when its internal watchdog office was shut down. The Security Intelligence Review Committee, which reports to Parliament, not the minister, has been criticized as insufficiently transparent and accountable. It also lacks sufficient power over the security agencies it supervises.

In addition, during former prime minister Stephen Harper's tenure, the politically-appointed members of SIRC were the subject of a number of controversies, most notably when former chair Arthur Porter wascharged with fraud in connection with Quebec's corruption scandal. (Porter died last July.)

"If the Liberal government wants to make such a radical departure from the way Canada has effectively conducted security oversight for over 30 years under the guise of having Parliament responsible for the process, they should at the very least engage Parliament in the process," the Conservative release said.

'Politicizing' new committee?

It's unclear whether this committee is meant to be a new standing committee of Parliament, or some other kind of committee of parliamentarians, which could allow the Liberals to wriggle free of the pledge to elect a chair by secret ballot.

The Conservatives noted that not only did the Liberals promise committee chairs would be elected by secret ballot in this Parliament, but that comparable security oversight committees in the U.K. and Australia form the committee first and then allow those members to pick a chair.

Announcing McGuinty as a pre-ordained chair "confirms the intention of the government to politicize a new committee that is supposed to be free from political agendas," the Conservatives charged in their statement.

McGuinty has served as the MP for Ottawa South since 2004 and is a lawyer with experience working abroad on human rights issues. He is the brother of former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty.

CBC adopts SecureDrop to allow for anonymous leaks - CBC News 20160129

​CBC adopts SecureDrop to allow for anonymous leaks - CBC News 20160129

Encrypted technology allows users to anonymously share files, messages online without being tracked

CBC's SecureDrop is a web-based system that allows whistleblowers to confidentially reach our journalists, including those who work in investigative units across Canada and on our leading programs.
CBC's SecureDrop is a web-based system that allows whistleblowers to confidentially reach our journalists, including those who work in investigative units across Canada and on our leading programs.

CBC News is launching a powerful new tool to help those with important information or sensitive documents contact our journalists using encryption and anonymous online messaging.

CBC's SecureDrop is a web-based system that allows whistleblowers to confidentially reach CBC journalists, including those who work in investigative units across Canada and on our leading programs the fifth estate, Go Public and Marketplace.

"In an age of pervasive government surveillance, it's an absolutely vital means to communicate safely with confidential sources and whistleblowers," said Ryan Gallagher, of the online publication The Intercept, which has been instrumental in reporting on the global surveillance programs revealed by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden.

"It can be used by whistleblowers inside the government, for example, to expose corruption, abuses of power, cover-ups," Gallagher said.

CBC/Radio-Canada is one of the first national broadcasters in the world to adopt SecureDrop, which is already used by The New Yorker, The Washington Post and The Guardian. (Norway's national broadcaster has also set up SecureDrop, while The Globe and Mail adopted the system 10 months ago.)

The Washington Post's Julie Tate says her newsroom regularly receives story-worthy information via SecureDrop.

"It has allowed whistleblowers to communicate with us in a safe environment and provide us with information that is of interest to various reporters in the newsroom," she told CBC.

Gallagher credits the tool for protecting sources on a number of news stories, including an exposé last year about the hack of millions of U.S. inmate's prison phone calls — a massive breach of attorney-client privilege.

"Unfortunately it is often the case that whistleblowers face reprisals if they speak out publicly," Gallagher said. "They can lose their jobs or even be thrown in jail. SecureDrop defends against that. It protects the identities of whistleblowers and at the same time helps journalists keep … the public informed."

Developed by the late Aaron Swartz, an American computer programmer and internet activist, SecureDrop was launched in 2013 by the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a public-interest journalism advocacy group based in California.

How it works

CBC has developed some some simple instructions on how to use SecureDrop.

Sources first need to download a piece of software that allows you to surf the internet anonymously; it prevents someone from watching your connection, what sites you visit or your physical location.

Using this more secure connection, we then provide you with an address to the CBC SecureDrop website, where you can upload documents and anonymously exchange messages. We can't tell who you are.

Once we receive your encrypted messages, we take them offline to read them.

We'll also send messages back to you via the CBC SecureDrop website, where you are the only one who can read those messages by inputting your own special code.

CBC takes the protection of sources very seriously. Anonymous sources play an important role in journalism and support our mission of exposing problems, corruption and abuses of power — be it within government, corporations or society at large.

Your decision to use SecureDrop is yours and yours alone. You do so at your own risk.

SecureDrop isn't for everyone; it requires a bit of technical know-how. But we're hoping people with information vital to the public interest will consider using it as a more anonymous alternative to email or telephone.

Of course there are other ways of reaching us anonymously. Many of our journalists are now using PGP encryption to help mask contents of emails exchanged with sources. And our mailbox is still open to receiving the classic, unmarked brown envelope. (Try me! c/o CBC News, Box 500 Station A, Toronto, ON, M5W 1E6).

Canada's electronic spy agency stops sharing some metadata with partners - CBC News 20160128

Canada's electronic spy agency stops sharing some metadata with partners - CBC News 20160128

Commissioner says certain information wasn't being properly protected in Canada before sharing took place.

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Goodale: government undertaking complete review of security intelligence framework.

The Communications Security Establishment, Canada's electronic spy agency, has stopped sharing certain metadata with international partners after discovering it had not been sufficiently protecting that information before passing it on.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says the sharing won't resume until he is satisfied that the proper protections are in place. Metadata is information that describes other data, such as an email address or telephone number, but not the content of a given email or recording of a phone call.

The issue is disclosed in the annual report of CSE commissioner Jean Pierre Plouffe, which was tabled in the House of Commons Thursday morning.

"While I was conducting this current comprehensive review, CSE discovered on its own that certain metadata was not being minimized properly," Plouffe explained in the report.

"Minimization is the process by which Canadian identity information contained in metadata is rendered unidentifiable prior to being shared …."

Question Period 20160125
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan answers a question during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

"The fact that CSE did not properly minimize Canadian identity information contained in certain metadata prior to being shared was contrary to the ministerial directive, and to CSE's operational policy."

Canada's Five Eyes partners, with which data is sometimes shared, are the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The report also noted that "the metadata ministerial directive lacks clarity regarding the sharing of certain types of metadata with Five Eyes partners, as well as other aspects of CSE's metadata activities."

Plouffe goes on to say that the ministerial directive is unclear about key aspects of how CSE collects,uses and discloses metadata, and does not provide clear guidance for how CSE's metadata activities are undertaken, recommending the agency ask for a new directive to provide better guidance.

In a statement, Sajjan says the "metadata in question … did not contain names or enough information on its own to identify individuals" and that "taken together with CSE's suite of privacy protection measures, the privacy impact was low."

He added: "I am reassured that the commissioner's findings confirm the metadata errors that CSE identified were unintentional, and am satisfied with CSE's proactive measures, including suspending the sharing of this information with its partners and informing the Minister of Defence."

Sajjan said CSE won't resume sharing this information with Canada's partners until he is fully satisfied the effective systems and measures are in place."

Speaking to reporters on Parliament Hill, Sajjan did not specify what sort of metadata had been shared and said officials could not review the data to determine how many people might have been impacted without violating privacy laws.

Appearing alongside Sajjan, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale noted that the federal government is in the process of reviewing its security intelligence operations and is committed to introducing new parliamentary oversight of intelligence agencies.

Edward Snowden promotes global treaty to curtail surveillance - CBC News 20150925

Edward Snowden promotes global treaty to curtail surveillance - CBC News 20150925

Accord would require countries to reduce domestic snooping and provide asylum to whistleblowers

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, seen speaking via video link in March, is backing a proposal for a global treaty to scale back government spying on ordinary citizens.

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, seen speaking via video link in March, is backing a proposal for a global treaty to scale back government spying on ordinary citizens. (CBC)

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Domestic digital spying on ordinary citizens is an international threat that will only be slowed with measures like a proposed international treaty declaring privacy a basic human right, Edward Snowden said Thursday in a video appearance at a New York City forum.

"This is not a problem exclusive to the United States.... This is a global problem that affects all of us," Snowden, the one-time National Security Agency systems analyst, said in his brief remarks from Moscow via video link.

"What's happening here happens in France, it happens in the U.K., it happens in every country, every place, to every person."

The key question, Snowden added, is: "How do we assert what our rights are, traditionally and digitally?"

Snowden gained worldwide renown in 2013 for leaking thousands of documents with details of extensive, secret U.S. surveillance programs, including a program by the NSA to capture and store data on every phone call made by Americans.

While fleeing, his passport was revoked and he ended up in Russia, where he was granted asylum despite demands by the United States that he return to face espionage and other charges.

The global advocacy group Avaaz organized the gathering to promote the so-called "Snowden Treaty." Countries who sign would be required to curtail surveillance of phone calls and online activity, and also agree to provide sanctuary for people who expose illegal domestic spying.

The forum was timed to coincide with the United Nations General Assembly. Organizers have said diplomats have shown interest in a draft of the treaty, but have declined to name what countries they represent.

Massive eavesdropping

Snowden's revelations of extensive U.S., Canadian and British snooping have been deeply controversial ever since his first disclosures to journalists.

Documents he provided exposed a wide array of secret practices, including that U.S. government agencies essentially were trying to collect every email, phone call, text message and other communication they could get their hands on, that they were eavesdropping on world leaders' cellphones and even tapping undersea internet cables in their efforts to be able to spy on anyone, anywhere.

U.S. President Barack Obama sought, and Congress passed, a law ending the bulk collection of Americans' phone records and instead allowing the NSA to request the data as needed in terrorism investigations. Weeks earlier, a U.S. appeals court had declared the program illegal.

A website promoting the proposed "Snowden Treaty" calls the NSA surveillance programs "a direct contravention of international human right law." It adds: "Protecting the right to privacy is vital not just in itself but because it is an essential requirement for the exercise of freedom of opinion and expression, the most fundamental pillars of democracy."

Chung, Emily - New privacy rules target data breaches, fraud - CBC News 20140409

Chung, Emily - New privacy rules target data breaches, fraud - CBC News 20140409

Privacy commissioner would get new enforcement powers under Digital Privacy Act by Emily Chung, CBC News

BuzzBuzzHome plans to enable shoppers to buy new construction homes with the click of a mouse and a credit card.

BuzzBuzzHome plans to enable shoppers to buy new construction homes with the click of a mouse and a credit card. (Shutterstock)

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(Note: CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links.)

Businesses will face steep fines for not reporting data breaches and Canada's privacy commissioner will get new enforcement powers under proposed updates to Canada's federal privacy laws.

"Canadians need to have confidence that their online transactions are secure, their privacy is protected and their families are safe from online threats," said Industry Minister James Moore in a statement as he introduced the Digital Privacy Act this week.

The bill proposes "important improvements" to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, the legislation governing how the private sector handles personal information.

The bill would:

  • Require businesses and organizations to track data breaches — events in which personal information might be lost or stolen — and report them to consumers and the privacy commissioner if they pose a "real risk of significant harm to an individual," for example, if they could lead to identity theft. Non-compliance would be punishable by fines of up to $100,000.
  • Give new powers to the privacy commissioner to help uphold privacy laws. Specifically, the commissioner will be able to negotiate voluntary but binding compliance agreements with organizations that commit to taking action on privacy violations. The commissioner and private complainants would also be able to ask the Federal Court of Canada to order compliance or award damages to someone harmed by a privacy violation up to a year after an investigation. And the commissioner will have more flexibility to release information about non-compliant organizations if it is in the public interest.
  • Require businesses and organizations to "communicate clearly" when obtaining consent for collecting and using their personal information; and to consider whether their target audience, such as children, can understand the consequences of sharing their information.
  • Allow for the sharing of personal information without explicit consent to help protect individuals from harm, such as seniors suspected of being financially abused or to detect and prevent fraud.
  • Make it easier for businesses to collect, use and share information to manage employees, conduct due diligence when buying another company, or process insurance claims.

'Good first steps': NDP

Charmaine Borg, digital issues critic for the NDP, said, "overall, these are good first steps."

Borg, MP for the Quebec riding of Terrebonne-Blainville, added, "We have been pushing for these measures and I'm happy to see them introduced."

However, she said she would have liked to see the legislation go a bit further.

In particular, she said, she was disappointed that consumers and the privacy commissioner only need to be notified of a data breach "if it is reasonable in the circumstances to believe that the breach creates a real risk of significant harm to an individual." Borg called that "a little bit of a high threshold."

She also doesn't like the fact that organizations have to evaluate the risk for themselves. While most large companies have a privacy officer, the evaluation "might be a little hard for mom-and-pop shops who are affected, but who might not have the privacy expertise to make that assessment themselves."

She had previously proposed in a private member's bill that data breaches be reported to the privacy commissioner if they posed a potential risk, and the commissioner's office would use their expertise to determine if consumers should be notified.

Borg thought the proposals regarding privacy agreements and new enforcement powers for the privacy commissioner were also good steps forward, although she would have liked them to have been "a little stronger."

The office of the privacy commissioner of Canada has longadvocated for updates to Canada's privacy laws, including some of those in the new bill.

Interim Privacy Commissioner Chantal Bernier said at first glance, the bill contains "some very positive developments," especially with regard to mandatory data breach notification, new penalties, and "provisions that will make it easier for my office to ensure that companies carry through on commitments they have made during investigations."

Mayer, Andre - New cyberbullying law has 'larger agenda,' expands police powers - CBC News 20131122

Mayer, Andre - New cyberbullying law has 'larger agenda,' expands police powers - CBC News 20131122

Law would make it easier for police to gather internet, cellphone metadata by Andre Mayer, CBC News

Justice Minister Peter MacKay announces the government's new cyberbullying act on Parliament Hill on Wednesday.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay announces the government's new cyberbullying act on Parliament Hill on Wednesday. (Sean Kilpatrick / Canadian Press)

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When Justice Minister Peter MacKay unveiled the federal government's proposed cyberbullying law on Wednesday, he touted it as a necessary tool to combat the often hurtful spread of intimate images. To emphasize the underlying point, he made the announcement during national Bullying Awareness Week.

But legal experts were left wondering why a piece of legislation that is meant to rein in online tormentors is also taking on terror suspects and people who steal cable TV signals.

"There is a much larger agenda at play here," says Rob Currie, director of the Law and Technology Institute at Dalhousie University.

Under the banner of anti-cyberbullying measures, the government is "trying to push through a number of things that have to do with law enforcement but nothing to do with cyberbullying."

Among other things, these new measures include giving police easier access to the metadata that internet service providers and phone companies keep on every call and email.

MacKay has acknowledged that law enforcement did not have the tools to prevent the deaths of Canadian teens such as Rehtaeh Parsons and Amanda Todd, who endured years of torment online. C-13 would give police a greater ability to investigate incidents of cyberbullying by giving courts the right to seize computers, phones and other devices used in an alleged offence.

5 years in prison

Under the proposed legislation, anyone who posts or transmits an "intimate image" of another individual without that person’s consent could face up to five years in prison.

MacKay Cyberbullying 20131018

Leah Parsons, mother of the late Rehtaeh Parsons, the Nova Scotia teen who died following a suicide attempt, is greeted by Justice Minister Peter MacKay as they attend a roundtable discussion on cybercrime in Halifax in October. (Andrew Vaughan / Canadian Press)

MacKay said C-13, also known as the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act, reflected the government’s commitment "to ensuring that our children are safe from online predators and from online exploitation."

Since introducing the bill, MacKay has said that C-13 is also meant to update the Criminal Code to reflect modern communications such as email and social media.

Toronto internet lawyer Gil Zvulony says that it is a necessary step, given that some aspects of the Criminal Code pertaining to communications still refer to outmoded technologies such as telegrams.

"I don’t know what the [government’s] motivation is, but there is a logical theme to all of this, in the sense that it’s trying to modernize [the code] for the digital age," he says.

Currie, however, raises concerns about the breadth of C-13, which not only addresses cyberbullying, but also gives police heightened powers of surveillance to track terror suspects as well as individuals who use computer programs to gain unpaid access to WiFi or cable TV service.

Currie likens the omnibus nature of C-13 to Bill C-30, also known as the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act, which was introduced in February 2012 by then-public safety minister Vic Toews.

"It was supposed to be all about [fighting] child porn, but it had all kinds of other stuff in it," Currie says.

The 'other stuff'

That other "stuff" included lawful access provisions, which would force internet service providers to hand over customer information to police without a warrant. This led to a public outcry and the government’s abandonment of the bill.

Although C-30 was ostensibly killed in 2012, Michael Geist, a cyber-law expert at the University of Ottawa, says that the government has been inconsistent about its position on some of the key issues surrounding lawful access to private communications.

Earlier this year, then justice minister Rob Nicholson pledged that the government "will not be proceeding with Bill C-30 and any attempts that we will continue to have to modernize the Criminal Code will not contain the measures contained in C-30."

Still, Andrea Slane, a law professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, says C-13 is in many ways "identical" to its failed predecessor — though one of the key differences is that C-13 emphasizes judicial oversight.

For the most part, the new bill still observes "the checks and balances around what judges are meant to do to make sure warrants are issued" where they are supposed to be.

That said, one thing the new bill does is allow ISPs to voluntarily give customer information to police without civil or criminal liability, Slane points out.

"That’s the one that’s most sticky for me," she says, because it was this kind of legislation that led to widespread surveillance in the U.S.

Geist says C-13 gives police greater access to metadata, which is the information that ISPs and phone companies keep on every call and email, and he adds that in some ways metadata can be more revealing than the substance of a phone call or email.

Metadata will enable police to pinpoint a suspect’s "geographic location. It will tell who they were talking to, it will tell what device they were using," Geist told CBC.

Currie says that, within C-13, there are proposed amendments to other acts, including the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, which allows Canadian police to gather evidence on individuals in Canada because a foreign state has requested it.

Jennifer Stoddart, Canada’s privacy commissioner, has not had a chance to examine the bill. But her office released a statement to CBC saying C-13 "appears to be a complex bill, and we will be examining all of its privacy implications and preparing to provide our full analysis and recommendations before the parliamentary committee that will be studying the legislation."

Currie acknowledges that the bill strengthens many of the law enforcement tools needed to stem cyberbullying. But he takes issue with the sheer size of the legislation.

"This government has a history of introducing large omnibus bills that have all kinds of stuff in them – unrelated things all under the banner of one legislation," he says.

"The problem with that is it inhibits democratic debate. There are lots of evidence-gathering tools here that we need to have a debate about."

Payton, Laura - Privacy concerns raised about new cyberbullying legislation- CBC News 20140501

Payton, Laura - Privacy concerns raised about new cyberbullying legislation- CBC News 20140501

Opposition MPs question wide-ranging measures in internet legislation by Laura Payton, CBC News

Justice Minister Peter MacKay was questioned Thursday by opposition MPs about wide-ranging changes included in C-13, his cyberbullying legislation.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay was questioned Thursday by opposition MPs about wide-ranging changes included in C-13, his cyberbullying legislation. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

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Opposition MPs questioned wide-ranging changes included in Justice Minister Peter MacKay's cyberbullying legislation Thursday as the House started its committee review of the bill.

Legal experts have already raised concerns about why a piece of legislation that is meant to rein in online tormentors is also taking on terror suspects and people who steal cable TV signals.

Among other things, the new measures in Bill C-13 include giving police easier access to the metadata that internet service providers and phone companies keep on every call and email.

MacKay's appearance came a day after MPs reacted to news thatfederal enforcement agencies make about 1.2 million requests for personal information from telecommunications providers every year. Those numbers are from the nine of 30 service providers in Canada that responded to questions from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner in 2011.

MacKay suggested to MPs on the justice committee that federal privacy rules — the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) — will continue to help safeguard Canadians' information.

He allowed that the legislation would formalize protection for telecoms that co-operate with law enforcement by giving information to them upon request.

"If it is lawful, then they should be immune from prosecution," MacKay said. "This bill does not create any new protection from any criminal or civil liability for anyone who would voluntarily assist law enforcement. It simply clarifies existing provisions."

Anyone can get information

But Liberal justice critic Sean Casey tied MacKay's cybercrime bill to a government bill before the Senate, S-4, that he says will let the government broaden that protection.

"S-4 will allow for anyone who’s investigating any breach of contract from any organization, whether it’s private, public, government or not, to avail themselves of that power," Casey said,

MacKay disagreed, citing the existing law that S-4, known as the digital privacy act, would change.

"There are repeated references to lawful authority," he said. "It has to be done in compliance with the criminal law."

Having two bills at the same time dealing with privacy and service providers, however, made the discuss complicated.

"I’m not here to discuss S-4 and even if I was, we don’t have that legislation in front of us here. I’m not going to get into the provisions of a bill that we’re not here to discuss," MacKay said.

Changing burden of proof

NDP justice critic Françoise Boivin questioned MacKay on changing the burden of proof needed by police by using the term "grounds to suspect" rather than "grounds to believe" in the legislation.

"Here we’re introducing new concepts. Have these concepts been tested before you proposed them in Bill C-13? Which is going to have a lot of ramifications outside of cyberbullying and beyond the distribution of images because your bill is quite wide-ranging," she said.

MacKay says the concept of reasonable grounds to suspect has been accepted by the courts.

"It has been tested by the court, its constitutionality has been accepted and for low-level privacy matters, I would suggest it has become the standard," he said.

MacKay told reporters on his way out that the government is "giving police the necessary tools to go out and investigate online crime."

"And so in order to effectively police the internet, which is what C-13 attempts to do, we believe these provisions are consistent with existing law, consistent with modernization efforts that have already occurred, and consistent with all of our G7 allies who have moved in this direction," he said.

Steve Anderson, the head of Open Media, which advocates for open internet policies, referred to news this week that the telecoms are already co-operating with federal agencies in handing over personal information.

The new bill, he told CBC News, "would give the telecom companies immunity for handing over our data without a warrant. So it wouldn’t mandate that they have to, but we already know that they are."

"It shields the telecom companies from getting sued. So if they are already handing it over, then there’s just going to be much more of that because they’re going to be shielded from legal recourse," Anderson said.

Mas, Susana - Cyberbullying victims' parents divided over privacy concerns in online bill - CBC News 20140513

Mas, Susana - Cyberbullying victims' parents divided over privacy concerns in online bill - CBC News 20140513

Parents of Rehtaeh Parsons, Amanda Todd, Jamie Hubley react to Bill C-13 by Susana Mas, CBC News

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Carol Todd asks government to split online crime bill

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The parents of three teenagers who took their own lives because they were bullied gave emotional pleas before a Commons committee today in favour of legislation to protect Canadians from online crime, but appeared divided on whether Bill C-13 violates the right to privacy.

Amanda Todd’s mother, Carol Todd, Jamie Hubley’s father, Allan Hubley, and Glenford Canning, the father of Rehtaeh Parsons, gave their views on a bill to protect Canadians from online crime during a meeting of a Commons committee in Ottawa on Tuesday.

Carol Todd said she applauded the government's efforts to address the problem of cyberbullying, but had reservations with some of the provisions in the bill.​

'I am troubled by some of these provisions condoning the sharing of Canadians' privacy information without proper legal process.'- Carol Todd, mother of Amanda Todd

Measures in Bill C-13 include giving police easier access to the metadata that internet service providers and phone companies keep on every call and email.

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

"A warrant should be required before any Canadians' personal information is turned over to anyone, including government authorities," Todd said.

By contrast, Canning said while he respects privacy "as much as any Canadian," Bill C-13 "is not about an invasion of privacy."

'It seems so out of place to complain about privacy while our children openly terrorize each other to death for 'likes' on Facebook.'- Glenford Canning, father of Rehtaeh Parsons

"It's about allowing police officers to effectively address the many challenges of instant mass communication and abuse.

"It seems so out of place to complain about privacy while our children openly terrorize each other to death for 'likes' on Facebook," Rehtaeh's father said.

Hubley did not raise any privacy concerns during his opening statement. Instead he urged MPs to pass the bill to give law enforcement the tools they need to do their job.

"C-13, in my view, is meant to help reduce cyberbullying and help police obtain the evidence needed to punish those among us who prey on our beautiful children," Jamie's father said.

Split Bill C-13

Todd called on the government to remove the more controversial measures from the bill so that it could pass with broad agreement.

"I have one request: if there is any way that we can separate these controversial provisions from the law ... this would allow this bill to be free of controversy and to permit a thoughtful and careful review of the privacy related provisions that have received broad opposition," Todd said.

Conservative MP Bob Dechert told reporters after the committee meeting was over that he disagreed with Todd's suggestion that MPs hive off some of the provisions in the bill.

'You have to get on one side of that line or another, you can't sit on the fence.'- Bob Dechert, parliamentary secretary to the justice minister

Dechert, who is the parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice, said the provisions are needed to update the Criminal Code and if that helps law enforcement officials combat terrorism that is all the more reason to pass the bill.

"Preventing terrorist acts is important too. And that's why I said we need this opportunity to update all the provisions in the Criminal Code in terms of the technology.

"Whether the person is cyberbullying a child or conspiring with other people to blow up a building or to detonate a bomb at a marathon, like the Boston marathon, we need to prevent that from happening too," Dechert said. "All of these provisions are related."

"You have to get on one side of that line or another, you can't sit on the fence," he added.

New Democrat MP Francoise Boivin sided with Todd, saying she's worried the entire law could be rendered useless if it faced a successful court challenge over privacy concerns.

She, too, urged the committee to hive off the more controversial portions of the bill so it could be passed more quickly, giving police greater powers to fight cybercrime.

Warrantless disclosure

Ottawa law professor Michael Geist has warned that C-13 — along with S-4, the Digital Privacy Act — would allow organizations to disclose subscriber or customer personal information without a court order.

The disclosures would also be kept secret from the people whose information is being shared.

The legislation would create a new offence of non-consensual distribution of intimate images, aimed at curbing cyberbullying.

It would also give police new tools to help investigate the distribution of such images, as well as to probe electronic evidence transmitted over the Internet.

Currently, companies are allowed under law to voluntarily disclose personal information as part of an investigation by police, but can also insist on a court order.

Geist said Bill C-13 makes it more likely that those companies will disclose information without a warrant because the legislation removes any legal risks associated with making such disclosures.

"The immunity provision is enormously problematic," Geist wrote in a blog post last month.

Bill S-4 goes even further by expanding the potential of warrantless disclosure to anyone, not just law enforcement, he added.

The Department of Justice says Bill C-13 "simply aims to provide police with the necessary means to fight crime in today's high-tech environment while maintaining the judicial checks and balances needed to protect Canadians' privacy."

The justice committee also heard on Tuesday from Alycha Reda and Kimberly Chiles​, two victims and survivors of cyberbullying.

Mas, Susana - Cyberbullying bill surveillance powers alarm Ontario privacy watchdog- CBC News 20140521

Mas, Susana - Cyberbullying bill surveillance powers alarm Ontario privacy watchdog- CBC News 20140521

Bill C-13 will entrench warrantless law enforcement practices, Ann Cavoukian warns by Susana Mas, CBC News

Ontario Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian is calling on the federal government to either withdraw or redraft most of the surveillance-related provisions contained in Bill C-13, legislation to protect Canadians from online crime.

Ontario Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian is calling on the federal government to either withdraw or redraft most of the surveillance-related provisions contained in Bill C-13, legislation to protect Canadians from online crime. (Colin Perkel/Canadian Press)

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Ann Cavoukian, Ontario's privacy watchdog, is sounding the alarm about "overreaching surveillance powers" contained in Bill C-13, the federal government's legislation to combat cybercrime.

In a sharply worded letter sent to Conservative MP Mike Wallace, the chair of the Commons justice committee currently studying Bill C-13,Cavoukian warns the government against beefing up police powers under the guise of protecting children from cyberbullying and other online crimes.

"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," Cavoukian said in a letter dated May 16.

Under Bill C-13, legislation to protect Canadians from online crime, anyone who posts or transmits an "intimate image" of another individual without that person’s consent could face up to five years in prison. But a number of other measures included in the bill would give police greater powers, such as forcing internet service providers to hand over customer information without a warrant.

Cavoukian is calling on the federal government to "immediately" split Bill C-13 and only move ahead with sections 1 to 7, those provisions that would make it an offence to distribute "intimate images" without consent.

"The remaining surveillance-oriented provisions of Bill C-13 — some 46 of its 53 pages — should be withdrawn and redrafted," Cavoukian said.

'With us or against us' mentality

Ontario's privacy watchdog cited the recent testimony of Carol Todd, the mother of Amanda Todd, the teen who took her own life after being bullied online. The mother said "we should not have to choose between our privacy and our safety."

The government's suggestion that we have to choose between the two isn't true, Cavoukian said. Canadians "can have both."

"The trade-off being sold to us is grounded in false assumptions and needlessly risks our right to live in a free society."

Todd also urged the federal government to hive-off the more controversial provisions of the bill in order to pass the cyberbullying law more quickly.

While the opposition critics sided with Todd in favour of splitting the bill, Conservative MP Bob Dechert, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice, said last week the surveillance-related provisions in Bill C-13 are needed to update the Criminal Code.

"You have to get on one side of that line or another, you can't sit on the fence," Dechert said.

"Regrettably, the government's recalcitrant 'you're either with us or against us' mentality has contributed to the kind of zero-sum thinking that has produced bills like C-13 and its predecessor, Bill C-30,"Cavoukian said.

The government dropped Bill C-30, the protecting children from internet predators act, after extensive public outrage over the bill and comments by the minister who was sponsoring it at the time.

Then public safety minister Vic Toews said that critics "can either stand with us or with the child pornographers."

Warrantless practices

Cavoukian points to a report by her federal counterpart as "clear evidence of the dangers inherent in this kind of mentality."

Canada's interim privacy commissioner Chantal Bernier revealed in April that nine telecommunication companies received approximately 1.2 million requests from federal law enforcement agencies for private customer information every year.

In other words, "the current law already allows for sweeping law enforcement surveillance practices without the necessary transparency or accountability requirements," Cavoukian said.

According to Cavoukian, "Bill C-13 will entrench and almost certainly encourage the expansion of these warrantless law enforcement practices."

In its current form, the cyberbullying bill "makes it crystal clear" that digital service providers who co-operate with law enforcement agencies will "enjoy absolute immunity" from criminal and civil liability.

American cross-border law enforcement officials and intelligence officials at CSEC and CSIS could be on the receiving end of information obtained without a court order, Cavoukian warned.

"Such sweeping immunity for such an undefined set of secret disclosures, to such a broad array of government officials, is nothing short of irresponsible."

Cavoukian is urging MPs sitting on the justice committee to stop "playing politics" over these issues.

"Canadians have a constitutional right to be secure from unreasonable search and seizure, including with respect to personal information held by third parties. The expansive surveillance proposals and the entrenchment of sweeping immunity for digital service providers bring this right into question."