Lawful Access is Dead, Long Live Lawful Intercept!

So, the takeaway from this post is that Industry Canada’s proposed modifications significantly expand the volume and types of communications that ISPs must be able to intercept and preserve. Further, the Department is considering expanding interception requirements across all wireless spectrum holders; it needn’t just affect the LTE spectrum. We also know that Public Safety is modifying how ISPs have to preserve information related to geolocational, communications content, or transmission data. Together, these Departments’ actions are expanding government surveillance capacities in the absence of the lawful access legislation.

Industry Canada’s and Public Safety’s changes to how communications are intercepted should be put on hold until the government can convince Canadians about the need for these powers, and pass legislation authorizing the expansion of government surveillance. Decisions that are made surrounding interception capabilities are not easily reversed because once the technology is in place it is challenging to remove; as such, the government’s proposed modifications to intercept capabilities should be democratically legitimated before they are instantiated in practice.