Canada boosts police powers, alarms privacy watchdog

Posted: February 16th, 2012 by DanC

by Louis Egan, Reuters

A new law gives police stronger powers to track what Canadians do online, but raises concern from the privacy watchdog about “warrantless access to personal information.”

The Conservative government says the draft law it unveiled on Tuesday aims at hunting down pedophiles or other criminals by giving police, the country’s spy agency and the Competition Bureauincreased access to customer data from Internet service providers.

Law enforcers will no longer need a warrant to ask internet providers to hand over “identifying information” such as names, addresses, email addresses, unlisted phone numbers and IP addresses.

Ottawa says it is simply modernizing its crime-fighting tools and notes that that similar laws are already in place in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

But Chantal Bernier, the assistant privacy commissioner of Canada, said the bill raised serious concerns.

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