Experts say police would be able to install viruses, or malware, into the electronics of anyone suspected of a crime, after gaining judicial approval.
“There’s a series of different tactics that they could adopt. They could engage in phishing schemes — deliberately serving infected files to computers — or it could involve sending URLs to people’s emails and when they click it, it infects their computers,” he said, adding that it could also involve installing malicious apps onto Canadians’ smartphones that work as listening devices. Police could even hack into a car’s OnStar to keep tracking of location, and call logs.
While C–13 is intended to target transmission data — call information, IP address, and location data — Mr. Parsons said it’s entirely possible that C–13 could capture basic data from Canadians’ Skype conversations, as well as a vast field of other digital information. “That’s the way that it reads,” he says.
The powers would still be subject to judicial oversight. The warrants are valid for two months for most crimes, but extends that to a year if the crime is terrorism-related, or if the suspect is connected to a criminal organization.
“Compounding that, there’s no reporting required,” Mr. Parsons said. “We won’t know if it’s 10 requests a year, a hundred requests a year, a thousand requests a year, or a million requests a year.”
Mr. Parsons calls it the dawn of Canadian ‘‘Govware.’’ Passing this bill, as is, said Mr. Parsons, “risks introducing significant, and poorly understood, new powers to the Canadian authorities.”
Mr. Fraser and Mr. Parsons raise the practical implication of the procurement process for this sort of software. If Ottawa contracts out the creation of a digital snooping program, it risks legitimizing the creation of malware, said Mr. Parsons, adding that Ottawa should be fighting to improve the security of our electronics, not exploiting their weaknesses.
Another good piece by Justin Ling, who is quickly becoming a key go-to reporter for all federal government issues privacy- and surveillance-related issues.