Home > C30, Digital Policy > CISPA May Create Backdoor to Canadian Online Data

CISPA May Create Backdoor to Canadian Online Data

Canadians a few months ago, told our politicians and government officials to keep their hands off their online data without obtaining warrant.  Such a huge public outcry occurred by Canadians on Bill C-30 that would allow law enforcement access to your online activities without a warrant, the bill was sent directly to committee where amendments are supposed to be made to ensure judicial oversight before wiretapping online data.

However, the US House of Representatives is set to debate The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) this week, which essentially allows warrantless access to subscriber information on any US based site on some very broad and loose legal definitions of “cyber threats” contained in the bill.  Information can also be obtained without a warrant if you are caught infringing on copyright.   There are over 800 companies in support of CISPA, ranging from Microsoft, to Facebook, and its rumored that even Google supports this bill.  This means any information you share on these and other US based sites, can potentially be shared to US law enforcement without a warrant, and possibly passed to the Canadian Government on request.

In February 2011, both the Canadian and US Governments signed the Beyond The Border Initiative which allows information sharing obtained by law enforcement across Canadian and US boarders.  Earlier this month Canada’s Privacy Commissioners issued a joint statement to the Harper Government urging the Government to ensure that Canadians right to privacy is respected, and that safe guards are put into place to ensure Canadian Privacy laws are protected in the initiative.  Thus far the Harper Government has not responded to the statement.

In the US however, the Obama Administration has publicly called on American politicians to respect the privacy of US citizens when drawing up bills like CISPA.  So far the Whitehouse has not threatened to veto the bill for not putting in those safeguards if US lawmakers pass it.

Despite a massive public outcry from Canadians on warrantless access to online data by Canadian law enforcement officials, it appears that CISPA may by-pass Canadians wishes to ensure judicial oversight on demands for warrantless wiretapping of online activities, and allows Public Safety Minister Vic Towes to keep his hand in the cookie jar.

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