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Guest Blog: CIPPIC tech lawyer Tamir Israel debunks government myths on online spying

As the lawful access debate moves into full swing, the government spin machine has been busy responding to the many emails received by MPs as a result of OpenMedia.ca’s recent letter-writing campaign set up in opposition to proposed online surveillance or ‘lawful access’ legislation. Although a number of individuals have previously addressed many of the misconceptions common in government discourse, these continue to persist in MPs’ responses to apprehensive Canadians. In light of this, a few responses are included below as samples which capture the range of answers received and analyzed in this post. Ironically, while the legislation is billed as an attempt to ensure police powers keep up with technological change, many of the government’s attempts to justify the legislation ignore the privacy implications of applying pre-Internet norms to an online world. To begin with, Letter C implies that there is nothing to fear, as the government chose to exclude the online spying (Lawful Access) legislation in a recent omnibus crime bill in spite of initial expectations the legislation would be included. Canadians concerned about the legislation should not be overly reassured by this fact. The government has made its commitment to passing this legislation clear, stating quite plainly: “The legislation will come”.

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