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Old 02-14-2012, 09:29 AM   #6 (permalink)

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What you think of the Conservatives’ new bill to expand police surveillance of the web may depend on what you think of the long-gun registry and the long-form census.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews will argue that the new legislation, to be introduced Tuesday afternoon, will grant the government access to nothing more than the Internet equivalent of a telephone book, which police need to help track criminals and terrorists.

Mr. Toews takes a dim view of anyone who would question the need for that access. In the Commons, Monday, he said people “can either stand with us or with the child pornographers.”
There are powerful arguments on both sides. None of us want to handicap police in their efforts to track those who would defraud us, harm children or plot acts of terror. But we must also be wary of granting the state new powers that could restrict the sovereignty of citizens.

On their face, the arguments of the privacy commissioners should find resonance with conservative voters who opposed the federal long-gun registry and the mandatory long-form census. Both were examples of the state intruding in the lives of citizens in search of information it had no right to demand, opponents of the registry and the census maintained. The Conservative Party led that opposition.

Applying that same principle, should the state be allowed to have new powers to know who we are on the web – in effect, to register our online identities – without a judicial warrant or even our knowledge or consent?

Claiming “you’re with us or you’re with the child pornographers” doesn’t even begin to make the case, Mr. Toews.
'With us or with the child pornographers' doesn't cut it, Mr. Toews - The Globe and Mail
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