Honestly, I have never been all that paranoid about my privacy or the privacy or others. I don’t really post anything on the Internet that could be considered all that bad. I have nothing to hide. I don’t do anything illegal so why should I be concerned? The privacy thing got me thinking about the sheer number of conversations that must be occurring at any given moment across the country.

For one thing, the police and protection agencies just don’t have the “bandwidth” to monitor all the inane conversations that are going on. On another level, most officers just don’t care about the 98% of what is going on. It’s only the 2% they care about. Note that’s my estimation of the amount of people actively engaged in criminal activity at any time. I’m not a criminologist by any any means so if you know the actual percentage please feel free to correct me.

Directly from the C-30 Act itself, “The purpose of this Act is to ensure that telecommunications service providers have the capability to enable national security and law enforcement agencies to exercise their authority to intercept communications and to require telecommunications service providers to provide subscriber and other information, without unreasonably impairing the privacy of individuals, the provision of telecommunications services to Canadians or the competitiveness of the Canadian telecommunications industry.”

To me this sounds quite broad and open and I can see why privacy experts might be concerned. This kind of statement just pushes the door wide open for police and other security professionals to investigate just about anything they want. However this brings me back to the point I made earlier. The mountain of data accumulated by Canadians on a daily basis is absolutely enormous.

Do you need to worry about the police investigating you in an off-hand way? Probably not. They just don’t have the workforce to parse through all the data. If you are doing something illegal on the other hand, I can see why there might be some worry as you could be investigated without any notice.

Now when it comes to hacking however I become a little more opposed to Bill C-30. The last thing I need is for any of my Internet accounts to get hacked. After all, I do all my banking online just like the next person. And having email accounts hacked can be a real nuisance especially when hackers send out unsolicited spam from an account.

According to a report from News 1130, The controversial Internet-monitoring bill is expected to go through changes before it passes. But Michael Vonn with the BC Civil Liberties Association is still concerned. “The entire telecommunications infrastructure of the country is going to be required to have back doors built into it. That’s wiretapping,” she explains. Vonn tells us it’s a kind of wiretapping that hasn’t existed before in Canada. “We’re building in a massive set of vulnerabilities in order to ostensibly create security.”

And on another note is the cost to implement changes required by the bill. The latest estimate is about $80 million which to me sounds extraordinarily high. Is this something that we as taxpayers want to endorse particularly when there are so many other social programs suffering? As far as I’m concerned the cost makes Bill C-30 a non-starter.

CBC News reported, “it’s going to cost at least $80 million to implement the government’s lawful access bill to force Internet and telecommunications service providers to collect customer information in case police need it for an investigation.”

Like I said, I’m not much of a privacy advocate and if there’s anything you want to know about me I’ll generally tell you. I have nothing to hide and my conversations are usually typical, “hi how was your day?” kind of things. Nothing to write home about. But the cost associated with the implementation and the potential for hacking are huge barriers as far as I’m concerned. Maybe the next iteration of Bill C-30 will take these things into consideration.

Jay Kenobi

Photo credit: BH Consulting

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