Wanting privacy doesn’t make you a criminal

Recent article does not explain the whole of the issue.

I just read the article (“Bill reignites debate pitting police versus privacy,” Trail Times, Feb. 15) about the new bill being introduced, the Protecting Children From Online Predators Act, and I have to say that the article does not explain the whole of the issue.

First of all, the information that would be required to be recorded would include your name and address, telephone number, electronic mail address, Internet protocol address, mobile identification number, electronic serial number (ESN), local service provider identifier, international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) number, international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) number and subscriber identity module (SIM) card number that are associated with the subscriber’s service and equipment. With that information, a very detailed profile of a person’s online activities can be made. What places you shop at, the forums you frequent, your social networking activities and more.

Second, this information would be made available to any government agent, not just law enforcement, and will be made available without a warrant. In other words, the government does not have to provide any evidence of any crime being committed.

They don’t have to provide any reason whatsoever. A bored bureaucrat on the nightshift could snoop you under this bill for no better reason than to kill time until the end of their shift. And let’s not forget that the government is made up of humans, all of whom suffer the same foibles and flaws as the rest of us. Mistakes, negligence, corruption all happen, whether we like it or not.

Thirdly, this information collection would involve the installation of extra hardware and software on the ISP’s end, and to maintain that database of information to be able to have it ready when the government agent comes snooping. And it would have to be paid for by the ISP. And that cost would be passed on to us. In other words, we would have to pay the cost of having the government snoop us.

Fourthly, the security of ISPs is of a lesser degree than that of a law enforcement agency or the government.

Given such groups as Anonymous and other hackers, our private information could be compromised. Such a wealth of information would make Canadian ISPs a bright glowing target for identity thieves and other criminals.

But the most offensive and insulting thing about this bill was Vic Toews stating that anyone who does not support this bill supports child pornographers.

I enjoy my privacy. I don’t need a reason to exercise that right or any other of my rights.

I am just as much against child predation as any other Canadian, including Mr. Toews.

To be characterized as a criminal predator because I enjoy my privacy is abhorrent.

A just and lawful democracy has checks and balances put in place to keep the government from becoming a tyranny.

This bill removes one of those checks, the requirement for a warrant to be issued based on evidence of a crime.

Henry Wills