Online Harms and Lawful Access: A Submission to the Government of Canada

7 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2021

See all articles by Lisa M. Austin

Lisa M. Austin

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Andrea Slane

Ontario Tech University

David Lie

University of Toronto

Ian Goldberg

University of Waterloo

Date Written: September 25, 2021

Abstract

This submission responds to the Government of Canada’s invitation for feedback on its proposal for a new legislative and regulatory framework for addressing online harms. As Canadian academic researchers who specialize in either legal or technical aspects of privacy and security, we are concerned about the proposals to require the mandatory reporting of basic subscriber information (BSI) and transmission data without judicial authorization. We argue that the proposal for mandatory reporting of BSI and transmission data does not adequately protect Canadians’ privacy:

- Both BSI and transmission data attract a reasonable expectation of privacy.

- The mandatory reporting proposal would broaden who has the obligation, their role in determining whether a child pornography offence is evident, and would require much more information to be reported than is currently the case.

- The proposal needs to provide clarification as to how service providers should determine when the reporting threshold has been met and provide additional safeguards against false positives and abuse of the system.

- The purposes for requiring BSI are vague and the purposes proposed for requiring transmission data do not justify access to anything other than IP address.

- The government should redesign, rather than jettison, independent oversight of police access to BSI and transmission data.

- The current proposals for new regulatory bodies and current privacy legislation do not provide adequate independent oversight.

Keywords: Privacy law, lawful access, online harms, constitutional law, privacy, surveillance,

JEL Classification: K14, K42, K39

Suggested Citation

Austin, Lisa M. and Slane, Andrea and Lie, David and Goldberg, Ian, Online Harms and Lawful Access: A Submission to the Government of Canada (September 25, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3934664 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3934664

Lisa M. Austin (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada

Andrea Slane

Ontario Tech University ( email )

2000 Simcoe St. N.
Oshawa, Ontario L1G 0C5
Canada

David Lie

University of Toronto ( email )

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
10 King's College Road
Toronto, Ontario M5S3G4
Canada

Ian Goldberg

University of Waterloo ( email )

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