Tag Archives: Cyber-bullying

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."

Declaration on mass surveillance calls for new privacy measures - CBC News 20140523

Declaration on mass surveillance calls for new privacy measures - CBC News 20140523

Canada needs to start taking privacy rights seriously, professor David Murakami Wood says - The Canadian Press

A new public statement on mass surveillance calls for a "public process" to come up with a comprehensive legal framework for information and privacy rights, building on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and United Nations principles.

A new public statement on mass surveillance calls for a "public process" to come up with a comprehensive legal framework for information and privacy rights, building on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and United Nations principles. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

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One of the voices behind a new declaration on mass surveillance says Canada needs a commission of inquiry to ensure governments and corporations respect privacy in an era of big data.

David Murakami Wood, a professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., says it's time for an in-depth look at how organizations routinely collect and sort huge amounts of personal information.

Murakami Wood, a member of the university's Surveillance Studies Centre, joined other academics and civil libertarians in publishing the seven-point statement aimed at improving accountability.

The statement calls for a public process to come up with a comprehensive legal framework for information and privacy rights, building on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and United Nations principles.

"We have no particular opinion on what kind of a process, as long as it's open and accountable," Murakami Wood said in an interview.

"But that kind of thing has to happen, it's about time. We need to start taking this seriously at a national level."

Growing public concern over spying

The initiative comes amid public concern about surveillance by western security agencies, the large-scale transfer of Internet customer data to state authorities, and a legislative move by the federal government to make it easier for police and spies to find out more about online activities.

The government claims authorities need easier access to subscriber information held by Internet providers to catch terrorists, pedophiles and other criminals.

The individuals and organizations who signed the statement on surveillance say Canadian privacy and data protection laws and regulations are regularly bypassed, undermined or broken, and are inadequate to protect the rights of Canadians.

Declaration calls for more transparency, oversight

The declaration urges:

  • Any planned government changes that affect privacy rights be "presented, justified, and debated in a transparent manner," not hidden in unrelated bills.
  • An end to expansion of rules allowing warrantless collection of private information without oversight.
  • Extended powers for federal and provincial privacy commissioners, including the ability to prosecute and fine state bodies and private companies for breaches.
  • All state security, intelligence, policing and border agencies be subject to appropriate legal, judicial and democratic oversight.

Among the organizations supporting the declaration are Amnesty International Canada, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, the Ottawa-based International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and Privacy International.

'This is not a government that listens'

Murakami Wood says governments need to keep some secrets.

But he argues the systems of accountability and regulation themselves cannot be hidden from the public.

"We've got to start opening these things up."

He is not optimistic the federal Conservatives will act on the recommendations.

"What I think will happen is that the government will completely ignore most of this as long as it can," he said.

"This is not a government that listens."

Mas, Susana - Cyberbullying bill won't be split in 2, Peter MacKay says - CBC News 20140528

Original: Mas, Susana - Cyberbullying bill won't be split in 2, Peter MacKay says - CBC News 20140528

Canadian Bar Association to recommend that Ottawa split the bill in 2 parts by Susana Mas, CBC News

Justice Minister Peter MacKay defended the government's cyberbullying bill on Monday during a debate over an NDP motion to split the controversial bill in two.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay defended the government's cyberbullying bill on Monday during a debate over an NDP motion to split the controversial bill in two. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

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The Conservatives will not heed the advice of a growing list of independent experts and opposition critics who are urging the federal government to split its cyberbullying bill in two, by hiving off into a separate piece of legislation the more controversial provisions of the bill.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay made it clear on Monday the government will move to pass Bill C-13 as one bill, not two.

"To separate the bill Mr. Speaker, I would suggest would be perverse,"MacKay said in the House of Commons during a debate over an NDP motion to split the controversial bill.

Bill C-13 would protect young people from online bullying by making it illegal to post or transmit an "intimate image" of another individual without that person’s consent. But it's the provisions that have to do with bringing police search and seizure powers up to date with current technology that have raised serious privacy concerns.

MacKay defended the bill by repeating the government's assertion that surveillance-related provisions included in the bill are needed to update and strengthen the Criminal Code.

"It would be an empty vessel, it would be a shell of a bill, if we don't modernize those provisions of the Criminal Code that allow law enforcement to do their important work," he said.

Bill touches on terrorism, fraud

MacKay conceded that Bill C-13 would do more than simply create a new offence in the Criminal Code.

"It pertains, yes, to more than just this new provision of the Criminal Code. It pertains to acts of terrorism, it pertains to acts of fraud, all of which … can occur online."

NDP justice critic Françoise Boivin said the bill contains useful provisions to combat cyberbullying, but it also includes measures that pose a threat to privacy.

"Parliamentarians will have failed in their mission to fight cyberbullying if C-13 faces a successful court challenge over privacy concerns," Boivin said.

MacKay said it was "contradictory" for the New Democrats to suggest that the government pass the cyberbullying provisions without giving the police the powers to enforce them. The minister made it clear he is of the view that the two go hand in hand.

The justice minister added that court challenges would not deter the government from pursuing its agenda.

"As sure as night follows day, there will be challenges in the court," MacKay said.

"Are we to be reticent to pass laws because a lawyer, or an interest group, or an individual may decide to launch a charter challenge? I would respectfully submit that that would be irresponsible."

Liberal MP Scott Simms said that although the Liberals are supportive "in principle" of measures that will provide law enforcement officials with more tools to combat cyberbullying, Bill C-13 is too wide in its current scope.

"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."

Simms said the Liberals supported the NDP motion to split the bill but made further amendments to the motion.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, who also supported the NDP motion, asked MacKay if he would reconsider his position.

MacKay adjourned the debate just over an hour after it started.

Split the bill

On Tuesday, the Canadian Bar Association will also recommend the federal government divide Bill C-13 into "two distinct bills" when it appears before the Commons justice committee that is studying the legislation.

The Bar Association said, in a 25-page submission to the justice committee that was made public today, that it "supports the intention underlying both aspects of the bill: protecting young people from online bullying and bringing police search and seizure powers up to date with current technology."

The group also noted the lawful access provisions in Bill C-13 were "more focused" than those found in previous incarnations of the bill.

Last week, B.C.'s privacy watchdog Elizabeth Denham also called on the federal government to separate the provisions that directly address cyberbullying from those that extend law enforcement powers.

"Any proposed increase to those powers must be critically examined and vigorously debated," Denham said.

That same day, former public safety minister Stockwell Day said he hoped the government would take "another look" at the bill and curtail some of the powers it would give to police.

A day earlier, Ontario privacy watchdog Ann Cavoukian urged the government to split its bill in two, warning that "overreaching surveillance powers" contained in the bill would entrench in law some of the warrantless practices already used by police.

Cavoukian echoed concerns expressed by Carol Todd, whose daughter Amanda killed herself after being bullied online. "We should not have to sacrifice our children's privacy rights to make them safe fromcyberbullying," Todd told the justice committee.

A second government bill currently being reviewed by Parliament has also elicited serious concerns about potential privacy breaches.

"Even as Bill C-13 proposes to entrench broad immunity for permissive private sector disclosures, Bill S-4, the digital privacy act, proposes to allow more warrantless disclosure of personal information by the private sector," Cavoukian told CBC News last week.

Payton, Laura - Cyberbullying bill inches closer to law despite privacy concerns - CBC News 20141010

Original - Payton, Laura - Cyberbullying bill inches closer to law despite privacy concerns - CBC News 20141010

Legislation contains controversial measures opposition MPs say need to be split into separate bill - by Laura Payton, CBC News

A controversial bill to fight cyberbullying and give more surveillance powers to law enforcement is set to pass third reading in the House of Commons, despite concerns raised by privacy experts and Carol Todd, the mother of Amanda Todd, a teen who killed herself following cyberbullying.

A controversial bill to fight cyberbullying and give more surveillance powers to law enforcement is set to pass third reading in the House of Commons, despite concerns raised by privacy experts and Carol Todd, the mother of Amanda Todd, a teen who killed herself following cyberbullying.

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A controversial bill to fight cyberbullying and give more powers to law enforcement is set to pass third reading in the House of Commons when MPs return from Thanksgiving.

MPs had their last round of debate on the bill Friday, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper held a cyberbullying roundtable in Winnipeg to mark the two-year anniversary of Amanda Todd's death. Todd killed herself at age 15 after enduring "merciless cyberbullying," Harper said in a news release.

A spokeswoman for government House Leader Peter Van Loan said the last House vote on the cyberbullying bill, known as C-13, will be Monday, Oct. 20. If it passes, it will go to the Senate for debate by senators and consideration at committee.

The bill is expected to pass, with the majority Conservatives supporting it despite a number of objections raised by Canada's privacy commissioner, Daniel Therrien, and even by Amanda Todd's mother, Carol.

Both Therrien and Todd said the bill should have been split so the widely embraced cyberbullying measures were considered separately from the far more controversial online data-collection measures.

Bill C-13 would make it illegal for anyone to post or transmit an "intimate image" of another individual without that person’s consent. But other measures included in the bill would give police easier access to themetadata that internet service providers and phone companies keep on every call and email by their customers.

It would also make it easier for police to get preservation or production orders by lowering the threshold from a "reasonable grounds to believe" a crime has happened or could happen to "reasonable grounds to suspect."

The bill would also give immunity to any companies that turn over to police the information they hold.

'Really sad'

NDP digital issues critic Charmaine Borg said she's disappointed the government won't split the bill in two parts, calling it "really sad for the families of the victims" that MPs had to spend much of the debate talking about privacy.

Online Bullying 20140417

Amanda Todd's mother, Carol Todd, has raised concerns with the government's new legislation. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

"I think just the cyberbullying aspects merit their own debate, they merit their own time. And we could have passed them very quickly because there's a consensus all across the House of Commons," Borg said, adding that the anti-cyberbullying measures could have already been law had the bill been split.

Borg said she expects the bill, should it become law, to be challenged in court following the Supreme Court's decision last June in the case R vs. Spencer.

The Spencer decision barred internet service providers from voluntarily disclosing the names, addresses and phone numbers of their customers to law enforcement officials in response to an informal request — something ISPs have been doing hundreds of thousands of times a year.

The landmark decision came the day the House justice committee reported back to the House on C-13.

A spokeswoman for the federal privacy commissioner referred CBC News to Therrien's remarks last spring in front of the House justice committee.

Government: no need to split bill

Therrien told the committee he was concerned the bill would give law enforcement officials the power to access sensitive information solely based on "suspicion," give investigative powers to "a broad range of authorities," and give legal immunity to people or telecoms who voluntarily turn over sensitive information to law enforcement.

"I can tell you that in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Spencer case, we look forward to sharing our views and specific recommendations with Parliament in due course," Tobi Cohen said in an email.

Robert Goguen, parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice, said there's no need to split the bill.

"I wonder what purpose it would serve to split this bill," he said in French on Friday as MPs debated it.

What’s important is establishing a balance between privacy and victims and protecting the youngest and most vulnerable in society, Goguen said.

Dyer, Evan - Cyberbullying bill draws fire from diverse mix of critics - CBC News 20141020

Original: Dyer, Evan - Cyberbullying bill draws fire from diverse mix of critics - CBC News 20141020

Privacy concerns have some gun owners and victims' rights advocates opposing Conservative bill - by Evan Dyer, CBC News

Justice Minister Peter MacKay speaks about cyberbullying as Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, left, and Lianna McDonald of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection join him during Bullying Awareness Week last November. MacKay's cyberbullying bill, C-13, is moving through the Commons, but faces some opposition over privacy concerns.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay speaks about cyberbullying as Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, left, and Lianna McDonald of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection join him during Bullying Awareness Week last November. MacKay's cyberbullying bill, C-13, is moving through the Commons, but faces some opposition over privacy concerns. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

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Justice Minister Peter MacKay probably expected to take some shots from the opposition over Bill C-13, colloquially known as the cyberbullying bill.

But he may not have been expecting to take so much friendly fire from his own base.

After all, it's a rare piece of legislation that can unite groups as disparate as the Council of Canadians and the National Firearms Association. And yet the bill, which went to third reading 10 days ago, after the Conservative government voted to shorten time for debate, has done just that.

Sheldon Clare is president of the National Firearms Association, the country's biggest gun owners' organization and the same group that persuaded MacKay to pose in a sweatshirt with its rifle logo a few weeks ago.

Peter Mackay wears 'No compromise' pro-gun t-shirt

Justice Minister Peter MacKay, centre, wears a pro-gun t-shirt as he poses with Erica Clarke, left, and Kurtis Gaucher at a Conservative Party Fundraising event in Edmonton. Clarke, who works for the National Firearms Association, posted the photo to her Facebook page. (Facebook)

But if the minister thought his gesture would win the group over on Bill C-13, he was mistaken, says Clare.

"We think that this is probably the most draconian step towards police interference in people's lives since George Orwell revealed the potential for it when he wrote 1984."

Clare says his organization's members care about more than just gun rights. "We value privacy highly," he said.

"I think this really enables a lot of fishing trips into people's private lives, into their financial records and their personal situations, and this is not the thing that we want to have in a free and democratic society, and I hope the government will go back again, and re-evaluate what they're doing, and completely rejig it to something that's more appropriate for a free society."

Different bills, similar podiums

Bill C-13, the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act, is the Conservatives' second attempt at a law that would expand the ability of police to monitor Canadians' online activities.

Its first incarnation was as Bill C-30, the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act. It was widely panned for saying nothing about either children or internet predators, while instead containing reams of expanded police powers, including surveillance without a warrant.

mi-lawful-access-02134124

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, right, and Public Safety Minister Vic Toews introduce bill C-30 in 2012. The government was forced to abandon the bill over privacy concerns, but many of its provisions have returned in C-13, critics say. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

Support began to crumble when Vic Toews, public safety minister at the time, told critics they "could either stand with us or with the child pornographers." The bill was denounced as an attempt to use the emotive issue of protecting children to pass legislation aimed at undermining privacy protections. The government quietly dropped the bill in 2012.

But Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in internet law at the University of Ottawa, says a common thread is using people's fears about their children to promote the bills.

Geist noticed MacKay has been using a blue podium to make his pitches for C-13 that is a near identical copy of the one used by Toews to promote the failed C-30. Toews's lectern bore the slogan "Protecting children"; MacKay's says "Protecting Our Children."

"At least there's one government recycling program," Geist said.

When is 'voluntary' really voluntary?

When the Conservative government moved to shelve Bill C-30, then Justice Minister Rob Nicholson stated the government had "listened to the concerns of Canadians who have been very clear on this.

"We will not be proceeding with Bill C-30. And any attempts to modernize the Criminal Code will not contain… warrantless mandatory disclosure of basic subscriber information," he said.

'What's going to happen, inevitably in my opinion, is that fishing expeditions and snooping will become much more common.'- Derek From, Canadian Constitution Foundation

True to its word, the government did not try to reintroduce the requirement that telecom providers disclose information about their customers without a warrant. Instead, the bill guarantees telecoms who voluntarily disclose information about their customers can't be sued for doing so.

But lawyers say that may be a distinction without a difference. Derek From of the Canadian Constitution Foundation says the word "voluntary" is misleading.

"When the police come to you and say: 'Voluntarily disclose this information,' don't forget that it's the police that's asking. It's not some guy down the street asking for information. I'm not sure there can ever truly be a voluntary, non-coercive disclosure to the police."

Indeed, it recently emerged that telecommunications companies received no fewer than 18,849 "voluntary" requests between April 2012 and March 2013 from just one government department: the Canada Border Services Agency. Ninety-nine per cent of those requests had no judicial authorizations, and the companies provided information in 99.98 per cent of cases.

From says the no-liability guarantee for telecoms only ensures they will be even less likely to say no.

"What's going to happen, inevitably in my opinion, is that fishing expeditions and snooping will become much more common."

Geist agrees: "This sort of thing encourages fishing because there's really no downside to asking for voluntary information."

'We should not have to choose between our privacy and our safety.'- Carol Todd, victims' rights advocate

But he says that aspect of the bill may ultimately prove more ineffective than intrusive, partly because big telecoms are increasingly feeling consumer pressure not to disclose, even when they have legal protection. The trend to protect consumers' privacy from government snooping can be seen most clearly in the new iPhone 6, which has made security against government surveillance a selling point.

Moreover, Geist says, a recent Supreme Court decision enshrining Canadians' privacy rights means police themselves will probably be reluctant to use the new provision.

"If the court says that there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, the failure to respect that makes it less likely that the evidence will be admissible.

"And if police know upfront that failure to obtain a warrant may jeopardize the evidence that they've obtained, it would be rather reckless, I would think, on the part of law enforcement to seek that information voluntarily when they know it may undermine their case on a later date."

Victims advocates split on the bill

The government may have at least expected to enjoy the support of families victimized by cyberbullying. But the families of victims Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons are divided.

Parsons's father, Glen Canning, urged MPs to support the bill as is.

Todd's mother supported the cyberbullying provisions in the bill, but shares the view of the Canadian Bar Association that they should stand alone, and not be attached to a much bigger bill about police surveillance.

hi-bc-121114-carol-todd-gloria1

Carol Todd, mother of teen bullying victim Amanda Todd, says she supports C-13's measures against cyberbullying but is concerned the bill undermines Canadians' privacy.

"I don't want to see our children victimized again by losing privacy rights," Carol Todd told a Commons committee.

"I am troubled by some of these provisions condoning the sharing of the privacy information of Canadians without proper legal process. We are Canadians, with strong civil rights and values. A warrant should be required before any Canadian's personal information is turned over to anyone, including government authorities….  We should not have to choose between our privacy and our safety."

Although Bill C-13 has already made it further than Bill C-30 ever did, public opposition or a grassroots revolt could yet send the bill back to committee or kill it completely, as happened with Bill C-30.

Sheldon Clare of the National Firearms Association says the party needs to remember that its grassroots include people who are opposed to more intrusive government.

"The Conservatives seem to have forgotten you're supposed to dance with the one that brought you. If they don't remember that, I think they're making a big mistake to believe they can count on the votes of Canadian gun owners."

Cyberbullying bill raises alarm for privacy commissioner - CBC News 20141120

Original: Cyberbullying bill raises alarm for privacy commissioner - CBC News 20141120

Daniel Therrien warns against increasing police powers unchecked by Laura Payton, CBC News

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien warned senators Thursday that the increased police powers proposed in the government's cyberbullying bill need to be matched with ways to track their use.

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien warned senators Thursday that the increased police powers proposed in the government's cyberbullying bill need to be matched with ways to track their use. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

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Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien warned senators today that the increased police powers proposed in the government's cyberbullying and internet surveillance bill need to be matched with ways of tracking their use.

Therrien also warned against the lower standard of proof provided for in the bill, C-13, and said he disagrees with the government's assertion that the information intended to be sought isn't sensitive.

The bill would make it illegal for anyone to post or transmit an "intimate image" of another individual without that person’s consent. But other measures included in the bill would give police easier access to the metadata that internet service providers and phone companies keep on every call and email from their customers. Those measures had been ina previous online surveillance bill, C-30, that created such a backlashthe government killed it.

It was Therrien's first committee appearance on C-13 since a June Supreme Court decision that affirmed Canadians have a right to privacy online.

The Spencer decision barred internet service providers from voluntarily disclosing the names, addresses and phone numbers of their customers to law enforcement officials in response to an informal request — something internet service providers, or ISPs, have been doinghundreds of thousands of times a year.

Therrien suggested the government hasn't properly considered the impact of the court's decision in confirming privacy rights.

"Despite the judgment in Spencer, I see, again important players in the debate, government, telecommunication companies, federal departments, making statements that do not give me a whole lot of confidence on what impact Spencer will actually have. They seem to give a very narrow interpretation to Spencer," he said.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay has said the ruling doesn't affect C-13.

'No credibility'

Therrien seemed like an unlikely critic of increased powers for law enforcement after spending most of his career as a government lawyer in areas like public safety and corrections. He became privacy commissioner last June.

New Democrat MP Charlie Angus says Prime Minister Stephen Harper and MacKay have "no credibility on this," pointing out Therrien was Harper's pick for privacy commissioner.

"It's an almost unprecedented situation where a justice minister thinks if he keeps banging his head against the Supreme Court of Canada, the court is going to move," he said.

The bill is "headed for defeat in the courts," Angus added, "at huge cost" to Canadians.

Rehtaeh Parsons trampoline

Bill C-13 was introduced after a number of prominent cyberbullying cases. Rehtaeh Parsons was taken off life support after she tried to kill herself following an alleged sexual assault. Her family says she felt helpless when a digital photo of the sexual assault circulated around her school. (Facebook)

Therrien urged parliamentarians to "build into Bill C-13 the necessary reporting mechanisms that would allow Canadians to hold government to account" for how the "significant new powers" would be used.

The government has defended the bill by referring to the need to protect children and teens from cyberbullying.

But, Therrien said, "it is important to remember that these new investigative tools would sweep up vast amounts of personal information by an open-ended group of 'public officers' for a wide range of much less compelling purposes than the fight against cyberbullying."

Judicial scrutiny, reporting needed

In his office's written submission to the committee, Therrien says the new bill will lead to "a marked difference in privacy protection."

"The potential level of government intrusion must be matched by commensurate judicial scrutiny and an appropriate legal standard for authorization. There should be evidence of a higher probability of wrongdoing before information about individuals’ private communications or their digital activities are compelled," he wrote.

"Downgrading to a 'reasonable suspicion' standard should be a necessary and proportionate response to a demonstrated problem, and in our view, a more compelling case for the use of a reduced legal threshold must be presented and thoroughly examined."

An official from his office told the committee that a reporting requirement or a requirement for organizations to report to a client after they'd provided that client's information to law enforcement officials would help keep the process accountable.

Global cyberbullying target of Five Eyes meeting hosted by Canada - CBC News 20150512

Original: Global cyberbullying target of Five Eyes meeting hosted by Canada - CBC News 20150512

Justice Minister Peter MacKay hints that working group could result in new legislation by Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

Justice Minister Peter MacKay MacKay believes that more needs to be done to deal with the fact that online predators can strike at young people from foreign countries.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay MacKay believes that more needs to be done to deal with the fact that online predators can strike at young people from foreign countries. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

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Canada has formed an international working group with its Five Eyes intelligence allies in an attempt to combat the cross-border threats posed by cyberbullying, Justice Minister Peter MacKay revealed Monday.

MacKay said Canada hosted a meeting of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing community — which includes the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand — in the last two weeks.

The minister said a working group has been established that will produce a report on how to combat threats posed by international online predators who threaten young people.

"We just recently hosted, in the last 10 days, a meeting here in Ottawa specific to that question of how we do a better job of sharing our efforts, sharing our information," MacKay said.

"The working group is from the Five Eyes."

Canada's new cyberbully law went on the books late last year, giving police more online surveillance powers.

Canada studying UK model

MacKay said more needs to be done to deal with the fact that online predators can strike at young people from foreign countries.

One tragic example was a criminal case that came to an end last fall when a former Minnesota nurse was sentenced to three years in prison after using the Internet to persuade an 18-year-old Canadian woman and a 32-year-old English man to commit suicide.

William Melchert-Dinkel, 52, was convicted of attempting to assist suicide in the deaths of Nadia Kajouji, of Brampton, Ont.,and Mark Drybrough, of Coventry, England.

"The way in which we've crafted our laws, we've been very open about sharing that with other countries and some countries, similarly, have come back to us with their examples of how they're improving the tracking of online criminality," MacKay said.

He refused to give specifics, but he hinted broadly that the work of the Five Eyes working group might lead to further legislative changes to protect children.

"Great Britain, frankly, has one of the systems that we've been looking closely, and working closely with, to improve some future amendments we might take," he said.

"This working group is going to produce a report that they'll be sharing with all of the attorneys general and justice ministers involved," he said.

MacKay said Canada's representation on the Five Eyes working group includes several Justice department experts "who are very proficient in the area of online criminality" and who were integral in the drafting of the recent cyberbullying bill.