11/16/2005

Bill could allow eavesdropping by Canadian police

The Associated Press

OTTAWA- Canada's Liberal government introduced a bill Tuesday that would allow police and intelligence officials to demand personal information about telephone and Internet subscribers.

The bill would ensure that law enforcement and intelligence officials could request a person's name, address, telephone or cell phone number, or IP address, which identifies a computer's coordinates on the Internet.

The initiative, submitted to Parliament, could reignite concerns about state surveillance and the rights to privacy in Canadian homes and businesses. However, the bill is expected to die on the floor of the House of Commons, with a general election call expected in the next few weeks.

Under current Canadian law, communication companies can decide to require a court-approved warrant before handing over personal information to police or security officials.

The government says release of this information to authorities by communication companies would be subject to privacy safeguards.

The proposed law would also force communication service providers - including traditional telephone companies, wireless firms and Internet providers - to phase out technical barriers that prevent police and security agencies from gaining access to messages or conversations.

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