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Canada nixes online spying bill designed to stop child predators

Despite "Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act" sounding like a well-intentioned bill, it was opposed by civil liberty groups because it sanctioned warrantless wiretapping.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read

It looks like Canadian privacy advocates won a battle over an Internet bill that was intended to stop online predators. The Canadian government announced today that it was not passing the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act, or Bill-C30, according to the Register.

The purpose of the bill was supposedly to make sure children weren't stalked on the Internet by criminals or sex offenders. However, it also enabled warrantless wiretapping. The law said that carriers and ISP providers would be required to give police information about their customers.

The bill (PDF) says that if passed it would "require telecommunications service providers to put in place and maintain certain capabilities that facilitate the lawful interception of information transmitted by telecommunications and to provide basic information about their subscribers to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Commissioner of Competition and any police service constituted under the laws of a province."

Bill-C30 had wide opposition from privacy advocates and civil liberty groups because of its proposed surveillance measures, according to the Register. These groups said that the law was tantamount to mandatory Internet spying. One group, called Open Media, even created an online petition to stop the bill and received more than 100,000 signatures. Apparently, many government officials also opposed the bill.

According to the Register, Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, who voted to not pass the bill, said today, "We will not be proceeding with Bill C-30 and any attempts that we will continue to have to modernize the Criminal Code will not contain the measures contained in C-30, including the warrantless mandatory disclosure of basic subscriber information or the requirement for telecommunications service providers to build intercept capability within their systems."