New Cyber Security Task Force in Canada?

Michael Geist reports that the Canada may be creating a Cyber Security Task Force. Although the Ministry of Public Security and Emergency Preparedness Canada has not announced it the Government Electronic Directory Service now lists a position for a Cyber Security Task Force Secretariat. Geist rasises some key issues including:

First, who will be on the task force? It is essential it include representation from privacy and civil liberties groups. Security is critical but must be imbued with full respect for the privacy and civil liberty rights of all Canadians. Revelations of widespread telephone communications surveillance in the United States — frequently with the secret participation of telecommunications firms — has provided evidence of the danger of focusing on security without counterbalancing with a privacy and civil liberties perspective.

Second, what other legislation could be introduced in such an environment? With a cyber-security task force on the way, speculation will increase that the government is also preparing to bring back so-called “lawful access” legislation. Introduced by the Liberal government, the innocuous-sounding Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act envisioned a host of new legal powers associated with near-ubiquitous surveillance technologies.

As Geist notes, the proposed legislation concerning electronic surveillance requires ISP’s to “install new systems capable of capturing data and identifying specific subscriber activities” and lacks judicial oversight — it allows various law enforcement authorities to simply request subscriber data from ISPs without a warrant.

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