BILL C-30: THE “PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM INTERNET PREDATORS ACT”, OR A WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING
It seems that governments everywhere can’t wait to get their hands on people’s private data and snoop in on their affairs, and Canada is no exception. With the introduction of bill C-30, otherwise known as “Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act”, the government and police would be given a broad range of new powers to spy on private citizens and limit their freedom. Nobody would dare fight against a bill that’s for protecting the children, right? Unfortunately, this is the sort of ploy that statists everywhere use in order to give themselves more power, at the expense of the people.
Here are just some of the impacts that bill C-30 would have:
- The bill would grant the government the authority to demand that “internet companies” and cell phone companies hand over your personal information, including real name and IP address, without a warrant.
- It would also require internet service providers and telecommunication service providers to rework their infrastructure, at considerable expense, in order to make it much easier for the government to spy on communications in real-time.
- The direct costs of this bill could near $100 million dollars, to be borne by Canadians.
Does the government really need a bill like this to gain dirt on its citizens, though? According to the National Post, the government already has a scary amount of information on hand, including medical, financial, educational, transportation, etc…. and add the ability to cross-link all of it together and you can find out an awful lot about someone. That is an unbelievable amount of power to have at hand, and it can clearly be abused. Are you the type of person who has complained frequently to the police due to loud parties? Do you have a lot of speeding tickets? Ever forget to pay for your train fare, and got cited? All of this ends up in a database, and it can be used against you.
Even medical records, which should be among the most confidential of all information, can find its way into other hands and be abused. As the National Post reports, “Ask Sean Bruyea. The Gulf War veteran found his health records, including psychiatric reports, had been passed around by bureaucrats and sent to a Cabinet Minister in an apparent bid to discredit the outspoken critic.”
CAN PRIVACY BE RETAINED?
There are two main software tools out there that will help to increase your privacy, though they will not make it impermeable. They have been used by journalists and whistle-blowers the world over, even in the face of oppression.
Tor is a traffic mixing network that routes traffic through other machines before it finally ends up on the Internet, so that its source is anonymized. The Tor network can also contain private websites, only accessible to those running Tor.
From the project website: “Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security known as traffic analysis.”
I2P also has an anonymous virtual private network, but unlike Tor there is no bridge to the public Internet, at least not the last time I used it. This has its own pros and cons. From the project website: “I2P is an anonymizing network, offering a simple layer that identity-sensitive applications can use to securely communicate. All data is wrapped with several layers of encryption, and the network is both distributed and dynamic, with no trusted parties.”
I think we have to accept the fact that in the physical world, privacy is rapidly becoming non-existent. What will we do when microscopic flies can watch us from our windows, perhaps recording our conversations and observing our keystrokes? The Orwellian nightmare of 1984 doesn’t require an army of human observers, as the computing power available today and soon to be available in the future can already handle the mass amounts of data that we generate.
The important question going forward is… who is watching the watchers? Such power in the hands of a central authority is exceedingly dangerous, and cannot be trusted.