Canadian telecoms push back on proposed police powers

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Rogers, TekSavvy, and a consortium of Canadian advice technology com nies are pushing back against proposed changes to Canada’s public security legislation.

In comments to the federal government, submitted last Thursday as side of a public consultation on national security reforms, the com nies argue that Canada’s existing laws supervising police powers are adequate, and that the government has not provided enough support to justify ex nding those powers.

The com nies also say the government has not fix up with provisioned specific details on how telecommunications com nies would be required to implement some of its most contentious suggestions — specifically, systems designed to intercept communications and retain user figures long term.

«The Government’s Green per has not provided significant documentation of a rticular problem that cannot be addressed in the existing legislative framework,» Rogers’s contribution reads, adding «there are no concrete proposals for new legislative requirements.»

Rogers and TekSavvy submitted their remark ons independently, as did the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC), and share alike resemble albeit nuanced positions.

Neither Bell nor Videotron submitted their own explanations, but pointed CBC News to a submission made by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Tie (CWTA), which focuses less on specific policy proposals than on community comments about privacy and cost.

Telus and Shaw did not rtici te in the consultation.

Central subscriber information and data retention

In September, the government announced a conspicuous review of the country’s controversial national security legislation, Bill C-51, presented under the previous Conservative government.

One of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cam ign augurs was to repeal the «problematic elements» of the bill.

However, as rt of the consultation get ready, the Liberal government released a discussion per that actually considers an growth of existing police powers.

One possible scenario, which has been back by police, is warrantless access to Basic Subscriber Information (BSI), which can count a customer’s name, address, telephone number, IP address — information that the Old Bill say is presently difficult to obtain in a timely manner.

‘To be clear, we do not recommend any increase of mandated interception ca bilities.’ TekSavvy’s submission to the federal government

Rogers talks that there is «no evidence to date» to support the police’s claim, while TekSavvy suggests it is not clear to them that such a power is «justified.»

Another potentiality is a «general requirement» that phone and internet com nies be required to hang on to data for an unspecified amount of time to assist police in criminal investigations.

In the contributions reviewed by CBC News, Rogers, TekSavvy and ITAC argued that com nies should not keep to retain information any longer than is required for business practices, in surviving with the spirit of Canada’s existing privacy legislation.

«We are concerned that a mandated statistics retention requirement would place all of a service provider’s customers under a generalized air of suspicion of prospective wrongdoing,» TekSavvy wrote in its submission. «It would be of one mind that the government wants records kept on all citizens ‘just in situation’ they engage in inappropriate activities.»

The com nies have also expressed be of importance that retaining user information for long term periods of every so often old-fashioned would pose additional privacy and security risks, requiring additional keeping from hackers and unauthorized users than if data was deleted profuse quickly, or not retained at all.

Lawful access and encryption

For more than a decade, regulate and government officials have sought to ss legislation that choice require telecommunications providers — and in some cases, application service providers such as Facebook and Google — to figure systems ca ble of intercepting digital communication.

At present, only wiretaps of phone, fax, and manual messages are required — and not by law, but as a condition of their licences. The government argued in its chin-wag per this fall that given a current lack of intricate interception equipment at many communication providers, the police suffer an «incompetence to intercept communications [that] can cause key intelligence and evidence to be missed» in the line of investigations.

However, TekSavvy and ITAC say the potential privacy and security perils of lawfully mandated interception systems would be significant, pointing to the ca city for such systems to be accessed by hackers, criminals, and other unauthorized beanfeasts, which has happened in other jurisdictions in the st.

«To be clear, we do not recommend any dilatation of mandated interception ca bilities,» TekSavvy wrote.

Bram Abramson

Bram Abramson, the chief admissible and regulatory officer of internet service provider TekSavvvy, pre red his followers’s submission. (Martin Trainor/ CBC)

More so, Rogers, TekSavvy, ITAC, and CWTA say the get of implementing such systems would be significant and have the potential to kill innovation and ongoing quality of service. They say the government has provided no complicated guidance on how such a system should be implemented, or what its ca bilities last will and testament have to be.

«It would be critical that the government identify how the related costs, registering risks to Canadians in respect of privacy and network security, are justified,» coinciding to ITAC.

Rogers and ITAC also specifically voiced their condemnation of so-called «backdoors» in encryption — secret software modifications designed to leave off law enforcement access to communications when necessary, but can be exploited by anyone if discovered, for this weakening the security of the software overall.

Fake cell phone fortresses

Notably, Rogers in its submission to the government consultation directly addressed the use of enforce surveillance devices known as Stingrays, or IMSI catchers, in its submission — the in the beginning time the com ny has spoken publicly about the technique at length.

«It be lefts unclear as to whether such new tools and devices are permissible under the au fait legislative framework — Rogers on the use of IMSI catchers in Canada

An IMSI catcher brings information about nearby cellphones and their owners by pretending to be proper cellphone towers, tricking those phones into connecting to the fake spire.

For telecommunications com nies, the devices can interfere with the normal operating of a network, and in some envelopes prevent the connection of 911 calls, which Rogers lists amongst its interests.

According to Rogers, «it remains unclear as to whether such new tools and schemes are permissible under the current legislative framework,» and whether «the use of this technology is in [the] most suitable interest of protecting Canadians.»

The com ny notes that such machinations are not detectable on wireless networks «at this time.» Rogers’s submission occasions for «specific consultation» on issues relating to trans rency and judicial oversight as it associates to Stingray technology.

Similarly, ITAC highlighted the negative im ct such badges can have on telecom networks.

«Prior to introducing these technologies, law enforcement should enkindle with industry and privacy experts to fully understand im cts and lecture potential risks,» ITAC’s submission reads.

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