There has been a lot of debate as to whether or not telecom companies should be legally liable to furnish data of a user in case of alleged criminal activity. Now, however, it seems that the House Committee on Justice and Human Rights intends to settle this debate once and for all. The Committee forwarded a number of recommendations which, if adopted, can force telecom companies to decrypt intercepted messages for law enforcement agencies.
This much has been revealed by privacy blogger and lawyers, David Fraser. Fraser did a detailed post about the ambitions of the House Committee and the recommendations made by it. He posted a number of excerpts from a report titled ‘The State of Organized Crime’ which contains the recommendations of the Committee. Two of these are reproduced below:
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada pursue legislation requiring telecommunications service providers and telecommunications device manufacturers to build the ability to intercept telecommunications into their equipment and networks.
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada introduce legislation requiring telecommunications service providers and telecommunications device manufacturers to decrypt legally intercepted communications or to provide assistance to law enforcement agencies in this regard.”
With the help of this bill, law enforcement agencies will be able to gain access to subscriber data s well as do real-time internet monitoring of the users. And this would be warrant-less access, which would inevitably pave the path for a lot more ‘spying’ from the government, as suggested by Fraser in his article. If the bill is passed in its present form, it will lead to more similar bills and will open a way which leads only to the creation of a truly Orwellian nightmare. One wonders if the struggle for online rights may eventually turn out to be as assiduous as was the one for basic human rights in different parts of the world.