Canada’s Conservative government has decided not to proceed with its attempt to pass the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act, also known as Bill-C30, after community opposition to the proposed law’s surveillance measures.
The Bill (PDF) describes its purpose as follows:
“The purpose of this Act is to ensure that telecommunications service providers have the capability to enable national security and law enforcement agencies to exercise their authority to intercept communications and to require telecommunications service providers to provide subscriber and other information, without unreasonably impairing the privacy of individuals, the provision of telecommunications services to Canadians or the competitiveness of the Canadian telecommunications industry.”
And yes, that does translate as “This law means Police and spooks can require carriers and ISPs to hand over details about their customers, and that they do online or on the phone.” The Bill even required “telecommunications service providers” to decrypt data they held.
Various Canadian groups opposed the Bill on privacy and civil liberties grounds, not least because the Bill makes warrantless interceptions possible. Openmedia.ca created a website, stopspying.ca, gathered more than 100,000 “signatures” to a virtual petition opposing the bill.
Conservative politicians retorted that opposing the bill was tantamount to opening the online floodgates to smut-peddlers, but opponents asked the public to see beyond the Bill’s name, arguing it disguised its true intentions.
Public anger seems to have won out, with Canadian public television reporting Justice Minister Rob Nicholson as saying “We 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, including the warrantless mandatory disclosure of basic subscriber information or the requirement for telecommunications service providers to build intercept capability within their systems.”
All of which looks like a victory for the forces of non-invasive online regulation.
Openmedia, however, isn’t convinced the bill won’t be back, as the less-than-triumphal tweet below shows: