September 15th, 2011

NDP gears up to fight Conservatives’ snooping law

OTTAWA – New Democrats are gearing up to fight the Conservative’s proposed snooping law at every level this fall in order to protect the rights and privacy of Canadians.

“What we have been hearing from experts and citizen is that this new law gives the government and police way too much power to snoop into our lives,” said New Democrat Privacy and Digital Affairs Critic Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay). “Canadians are right to feel that the Conservatives are not protecting their privacy and that we need to curb this bill.”

Over the summer Angus has been putting in place a team of MPs to work with civil society groups, stakeholders and citizens to fight against lawful access legislation both in and out of parliament.

Conservatives have indicated that "lawful access" provisions will be included in their omnibus crime legislation this fall. Experts warn this would legalize widespread snooping on average citizens – all without a warrant.

Telecom providers would also be forced to install surveillance software giving police the ability to track internet and mobile phone activity.

MP Charmaine Borg (Terrebonne-Blainville), who will be spearheading this fight at the Justice committee, agrees with Angus and points out that while the party supports modernizing policing powers to deal with digital issues, removing the requirement for warrants altogether opens the door to all manner of abuse by security officials.

“This access is anything but lawful,” said Borg. “This isn’t a question of whether abuse will occur, it’s how extreme the abuse will be.”