19 Jun 2012
22 Feb 2012

Vic Toews Response about Bill C-30

Thank you for contacting my office regarding Bill C-30, the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act.

Canada’s laws currently do not adequately protect Canadians from online exploitation and we think there is widespread agreement that this is a problem.

We want to update our laws while striking the right balance between combating crime and protecting privacy.

Let me be very clear: the police will not be able to read emails or view web activity unless they obtain a warrant issued by a judge and we have constructed safeguards to protect the privacy of Canadians, including audits by privacy commissioners.

What’s needed most is an open discussion about how to better protect Canadians from online crime. We will therefore send this legislation directly to Parliamentary Committee for a full examination of the best ways to protect Canadians while respecting their privacy.

For your information, I have included some myths and facts below regarding Bill C-30 in its current state.


Vic Toews

Member of Parliament for Provencher

Myth: Lawful Access legislation infringes on the privacy of Canadians.

Fact: Our Government puts a high priority on protecting the privacy of law-abiding Canadians. Current practices of accessing the actual content of communications with a legal authorization will not change.

Myth: Having access to basic subscriber information means that authorities can monitor personal communications and activities.

Fact: This has nothing to do with monitoring emails or web browsing.  Basic subscriber information would be limited to a customer’s name, address, telephone number, email address, Internet Protocol (IP) address, and the name of the telecommunications service provider. It absolutely does not include the content of emails, phones calls or online activities.

Myth: This legislation does not benefit average Canadians and only gives authorities more power.

Fact:  As a result of technological innovations, criminals and terrorists have found ways to hide their illegal activities. This legislation will keep Canadians safer by putting police on the same footing as those who seek to harm us.

Myth: Basic subscriber information is way beyond “phone book information”.

Fact: The basic subscriber information described in the proposed legislation is the modern day equivalent of information that is in the phone book. Individuals frequently freely share this information online and in many cases it is searchable and quite public.

Myth: Police and telecommunications service providers will now be required to maintain databases with information collected on Canadians.

Fact: This proposed legislation will not require either police or telecommunications service providers to create databases with information collected on Canadians.

Myth: “Warrantless access” to customer information will give police and government unregulated access to our personal information.

Fact: Federal legislation already allows telecommunications service providers to voluntarily release basic subscriber information to authorities without a warrant. This Bill acts as a counterbalance by adding a number of checks and balances which do not exist today, and clearly lists which basic subscriber identifiers authorities can access.


In response to my first email to Vic


As one of the numerous small business owners breaking a path for our digital economy I’m frustrated by our governments internet policy. Your statements regarding the Liberal Members comments were out of line. The course trekked by your colleagues, be it surveillance with out warrent in your Lawfull Access bill or the digital lock provisions that nullify fair use in c11 is one that puts our country on the back roads of innovation.

I plead with you Mr. Toews that what is needed in our government internet policy is education for citizens for digital work and infrastructure investment so they can do that work.  Not social engineering and pornographer fear mongering.

Old men look at the internet and see porn, young men look at the internet and see asia with better access and better labour. The problem is I don’t trust that you guys have any respect for what your playing with and how it’s going to effect the latter. You take a issue as serious as child porn to nurture real reservation about ill conceived policy and it’s repugnant to see happen. We need real discussion about how to get ahead of Germany and Asia not distractions and censorship firewalls to rival China’s.

Because let’s be clear, we all know this is just the entertainment industry using child porn to push turn key systems for piracy tracking. A small industry in our economy is scaring the shit out of grandparents to support facist policy for the purpose of stopping people from stealing lady gaga albums.

Sir, I know your not a fascist but surveillance, without due process and cause, of an entire population is a fascist policy and non too bright.

Keith Page
Owner, Digital Employer, Albertan Farmer


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21 Jun 2010

C-32 making you a criminal

Regarding Mr. Shellenberg’s letter in support of bill c-32.

The C-32 bill before parliament this session is a reboot of the failed C-61 bill we saw die after Parliament’s dissolution in 2008. While the bill has come a small way to providing a fairer balance between industry and consumer interest there is a glaring flaw in the digital locks provision that nullifies many of these balances.

The Bill makes it illegal to break a digital lock, period, regardless of who you are or what you are doing. You may ask, “But picking locks is wrong, of course it should be illegal?”. That type of knee-jerk mental reaction is off base and wrong, here’s why.

C-32 allows for individuals to copy and transfer copyrighted contents for private use, which means you’re going to be able copy that song you bought online to a CD or your ipod or whatever new fangled device you buy in the future. You bought the song you’re allowed to copy it for your own use. UNLESS, the company you bought it from puts a digital lock on it. See you still have the right to copy it, but  in order to be able to copy it you need to break that digital lock first, the breaking of the lock is illegal even though why your breaking it is not.

Another example would be a librarian or educator, C-32 makes specific provisions in the bill for these professions to use copyrighted material, to store, copy and remix it for educational purposes. However if you’re trying to access or remix a video for a project in a Digital Arts class, or catalog and archive a digital work that’s fallen out of copyright you are stopped if the provider used a digital lock. While again these uses are perfectly legal and right, you can not exercise that right b/c of the digital lock, no matter what your purpose the act of breaking of that lock is illegal.

Finally, just a few years ago the NBA.com spent a few years selling downloadable versions of it’s games that were digitally locked. Every time you copied your legal purchase to another computer or had to reinstall Windows your digital lock had to be re-verified by an NBA.com server. This system was eventually replaced with newer technology and the lock verifier was removed. Users who had bought videos, paid money for the right to have them on their computer and to watch them as many times were suddenly unable to. Without the server they could not copy the videos to a new computer when their old one died, they could not watch them after they got a virus and had to reinstall windows, b/c the lock was broken and stuck in the locked position they could not enjoy what they had bought. Under the old law users effected by this in Canada found and shared ways on the NBA forums to remove the digital locks, this was legal b/c the act of breaking the lock was not illegal, and they had to legal rights to the content behind the lock.

I’ll cut my examples short at that, but you can be sure I have at least three more good ones just off the top of my head.

The main problem with C-32 is this digital locks provision. We need to look to the physical/real world for our guidance here. It’s not breaking the lock that should be illegal it’s whether you broke that lock for an illegal purpose. I speak from experience, as a Network Specialist I personally break digital locks all the time, I do so with a high ethical standard and for the purpose of giving access to owners who locked themselves out of their own computers or networks. Even having these tools in my bag would become illegal under this bill, I’m a professional and I wont’ even be able to do my job without breaking a ridiculous provision in C-32.

If you put your CD collection in a box and locked it you would be perfectly fine to break that lock when you lost the key. So why would you want a law that made the digital equivalent illegal.

Keith Page, Nelson BC

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