At least three articles informing Canadians about the proposed “Bill C-51” more formally called the “Lawful Access” law have suddenly been taken down from Canadian news sites.
The proposed bill will allow the Canadian government to require internet service providers to monitor and log the online and cellular activities of their customers and will give the government the ability to instruct authorities to subpoena these records with only a simple warrant.
The discovery was made public tonight by the Occupy Canada Facebook group, who released the following statement:
BREAKING NEWS: HARPER TOOK LESSONS FROM THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT?
MEDIA CENSORSHIP Search this into Google “bill C- 51 ottawa citizen”, 9 hours ago these 3 identical articles were posted on the Ottawa citizen, Calgary herald, and Montreal gazette, It said Bill C-51 was to be introduced by the Harper government on Monday. All articles have been removed from the websites, but are still searchable on google. Misinformation, or the wrong bill#? or censorship? – Posted by Derek Soberal , Thanks Mainstream corporate media.
The bill would make it mandatory for telecom providers, ISPs and search engines to monitor, store, retain and not disclose e-mail, Internet and telephone communications at the request of law and security officials. No warrant necessary.
Article still available here: www.globaltvedmonton.com/new+law+could+open+window+for+police+to+view+canadians+online+habits/6442578849/story.html
Removed by Calgary Harald : http://www.calgaryherald.com/technology/could+open+window+police+view+online+habits/6139169/story.html
Removed by Montreal Gazette : http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Bill+could+allow+police+view+people+surfing+habits/6139117/story.html
Removed by Ottawa Citizen : http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Bill+could+allow+police+view+people+surfing+habits/6139134/story.html
Although the reason for the articles being removed from the sites is still yet to be explained, of the remaining articles still available online, the Global Edmonton news site explained why this new law is unsettling to many Canadians.
Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, and an outspoken critic of the law, said he’s worried about all the information police will have access to without a warrant.
“It could include anything from email addresses to IP addresses and cellphone-identified numbers,” Geist said. “The ability to use that kind of information in a highly sensitive way without any real oversight is very real.”
As an example of the new powers, Geist said authorities would be able to use equipment to isolate cellphone numbers of people attending a protest, and then be able to ask a cellphone company to disclose personal information of the people attached to those cellphone numbers.
Geist said Canadians also should be concerned that the information obtained by police here could be shared with their counterparts around the world.
The bill is scheduled to be submitted to Parliament on Monday by Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, and with a Conservative majority in both the House and the Senate, blocking of the bill seems extremely unlikely.
Update: As of approximately 2:15AM Sunday, February 12th the articles in question that had been removed from the internet all returned without explanation.