Canada introduces legislation to give new technological powers to police

Canada’s proposed Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act would provide law enforcement agencies with new, specialized investigative powers to help them take action against Internet child sexual exploitation, disrupt on-line organized crime activity, and prevent terrorism by:
  • enabling police to identify all the network nodes and jurisdictions involved in the transmission of data and trace the communications back to a suspect. Judicial authorizations would be required to obtain transmission data, which provides information on the routing but does not include the content of a private communication;
  • requiring a telecommunications service provider to temporarily keep data so that it is not lost or deleted in the time it takes law enforcement agencies to return with a search warrant or production order to obtain it;
  • making it illegal to possess a computer virus for the purposes of committing an offence of mischief; and
  • enhancing international cooperation to help in investigating and prosecuting crime that goes beyond Canada’s borders.

We are giving our police the tools they  need to keep up with criminals who are increasingly using new technology in carrying out their crimes. High tech criminals must be met by high-tech police,” said Dave MacKenzie, M.P. for Oxford and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public  Safety. “This announcement once again demonstrates our commitment to  give our law enforcement agencies the tools they need to make our  communities safer.”

The Canadian government says that the Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act would address challenges posed by today’s technologies that did not exist when the legal framework for interception was last updated nearly forty years ago. The Act would require service providers to include interception capability in their networks, thereby allowing law enforcement and national security agencies to execute authorizations for interception in a more timely and efficient manner with a warrant. The proposed Act also calls for service providers to supply basic subscriber information upon request to designated law enforcement, Competition Bureau and national security officials.

Requirements to obtain court orders to intercept communications will not be changed by this Act. This legislation will simply help ensure that, when warrants are issued, telecommunications companies have the technical ability required to intercept communications for the police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and Sweden, already have similar legislation in place.

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