About (Saving) Face!

by matttbastard

Some more news that I missed fully getting into last week due to impudent meatworld impositions – remember that document that was exposed last Thursday? The one showing that the Tories had undertaken a secret (then, after having their plans exposed, not-so-secret) consultation process to examine “how law enforcement and national security agencies [could] gain lawful access to [telephone and internet] customers’ information”, all without the inconvenience of having to obtain a pesky warrant?

Well, apparently it was all just a big ol’ misunderstanding:

Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day announced late [Thursday] that the federal government will not force Internet service providers to hand over customers’ personal information to police without a warrant — a move that will surprise critics who have been expressing alarm this week that the Harper government appeared poised to intrude on the civil liberties of Canadians.

“We have not and we will not be proposing legislation to grant police the power to get information from Internet companies without a warrant. That’s never been a proposal,” Mr. Day said. “It may make some investigations more difficult, but our expectation is rights to our privacy are such that we do not plan, nor will we have in place, something that would allow the police to get that information.”


Mr. Day said the consultation document was circulated without his knowledge or consent and emphasized that all groups, regardless of their perspective, should have a chance to voice their opinions on the contentious issue.

“That document never would have gone out if I had seen it,” Mr. Day said. “This particular document just somehow went out without my approval.”

Don’tcha just hate it when that happens? Apparently the buck stops somewhere else in the Public Safety office. Maybe the same place where they hide the YouTube manual.

As for this–“[w]e have not and we will not be proposing legislation to grant police the power to get information from Internet companies without a warrant”–Michael Geist is not buying the lukewarm CYA routine:

“The consultation itself seemed to indicate there was only one framework under consideration — and that was disclosure without court oversight,”

Hey, c’mon, cut Stockboy some slack. Our erstwhile Public Safety Minister claimed to have never even seen the document prior to its release. Dude’s merely in charge of a major cabinet portfolio; he’s not Uri fucking Geller.

Regardless, as Geist pointed out on his blog this past Friday, this unexpected about-face has created an ironic political situation:

The politics of this move are particularly interesting as it leaves the Conservatives favouring court oversight and Liberals – with their support of the Jennings private members bill – opposing it.

Related: Teary-eyed Canadian law enforcement officials are disappointed and confused by the flip-flop. Hey, I was disappointed and confused when Stockboy was handed the Public Safety portfolio on a silver fucking platter. Someone who believes that man walked side by side with dinosaurs 6000 years ago should not be allowed to wander the streets without wearing a crash helmet, let alone run the RCMP (as his record thus far has proven).

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