In dictatorial regimes, tyrants rule by manipulating prevailing public emotions. They use the smallest emotional opportunity to create draconian laws that take away the people’s rights and freedoms. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has certainly learned a thing or two from this modus operandi.
He wants to use Luka Rocco Magnotta’s gruesome murder and dismemberment of Montreal student Jun Lin to revive Bill C-30, the Conservative government’s doomed Internet surveillance legislation.
Don’t get me wrong. Magnotta’s crime is repugnant to the core. but equally repugnant is Toews’ attempt to use this particular crime to corner us into accepting the widely-condemned legislation. Toews says the video of the murder – and it’s viral orbit through the Internet – shows the need for the modernizing of the Canadian criminal code. For the hundredth time, he repeats the fiction that Bill C-30 seeks to “balance the public interest with privacy interests.”
In Toews on words:
“It’s a difficult prosecution given the state of the law today. Of course, the police have been talking to me over the last six years about modernizing the law with respect to access.”
Linking the legislation to the gruesome crime isn’t going to alter the fact that Bill C-30 is both backward-looking and anti-democratic. It would grant the police unprecedented power to acquire the whole nine yards of an Internet user’s online identity – including name, address, email address and telephone number. It would require Internet service providers (ISPs) to install surveillance equipment on their networks, and keep records of their customers’ activities. And, of course, the police would be allowed to obtain this information without a warrant.
Bill C-30 is all about the Harper government’s thirst for unrestricted access to our private and online lives.