Sunday, 19 February 2012

An Modified Letter To My Constituents


I’ve been following the recent bill to give police and more particularly the Canadian government more power over everything you do online, what kind of power?

Basically, a record of all your online activity without a warrant.

Aside from how easily it is to obtain a warrant in Canada, the concern I have is from a professional point of view as a computer programming analyst where Bill C-30 on the technological side of things will bring forward several issues:

  1. Cost. This kind of monitoring will force ISPs to implement huge databases (and I mean HUGE) just to store all the random activity you are doing online. How big? Google’s databases already consume the power of a quarter of a nuclear power plant on their own… Can you imagine the cost of monitoring ALL activity (not just search records where users can control) will involve? Who is going to pay for all these costs?
  2. The destruction of an actual internet. One particular facility of an IP network is that you can branch it, create alternative branches, alternative routings, variety of mediums, ect… ect… That’s why it so quickly overcame the existing phone network within a decade after the popularity of broadband. The internet by concept has a facility which ensures it’s own survival. Regulating this facility prevents the common user from participating in it. You will not exactly be on the internet or contribute to it, in fact, you won’t be allowed to! You (as a Canadian) will by law have to be behind a “Firewall” to the internet; Now granted, this bill suggests that there will not be any technological restriction to data (like in China) but you will be behind a legal firewall – which – one bad law comes into play and you can be jailed, fined, and lose your computer or private holdings without warrant. This concerns me deeply, especially with the track record of our current governance and policing.
  3. You are on the internet more than you think! The internet, is not, web browsing any longer… In fact, web browsing is only a small part of the internet you use. Here are some things that use the Internet that you might not be aware of include phone calls (like wire-tapping), emails, most transactions with a credit or debit card, Shipping and parcel services, and transportation systems. This to me sounds like an unavoidable unveiling of what should be considered private.
  4. The system for “tracking public records” is essentially a surveillance system, and can be triggered, almost by accident. Let’s say I wanted to look up a news report on the “PLO” which is deemed a terrorist organization by the Canadian government. And via an online search I am directed to their website… The government/police/csis/rcmp can essentially use that as a sufficient reason to survey everything I do online – it’s not like they need a warrant, they just need to create a list of “red flags” to commence monitoring. Yes, this does sound like a conspiracy theory from the movie “conspiracy theory” but this is actually the technology needed to enact such a conspiracy… .. .

With all the previous sentiments considered, a back lash on the Canadian side of the Internet has occurred, with one particularly interesting occurrence making plenty of news being the revelation of personal matters of Vic Toews via Twitter, the MP responsible for proposing the bill, and the individual arguing that those opposed support child pornography. Ironically, The personal information published of his life was obtained without the need of such technologies that the bill requires to implement.
In response to such unveiling of publically available personal information: The government forced the removal of the Twitter account @Vikileaks30 … which I don’t understand how that is even allowable, as well, Vic Toews  further requested a parliamentary investigation (even though no particular laws seem to have been broken) into the Vikileaks posting of the personal attacks, and most recently a letter by Vic Toews to his constituents responding to the public backlash.

To which – I happily modified (my modifications are in italics) to outline some hypocritical details in all his recent political posturing.

Here’s to you Vic Toews:

An Open Letter To My Constituents

Dear Constituents,

Over the last few weeks I have been subjected to an extensive personal attack by my political opponents as a result of certain legislation that I have introduced in the House of Commons on behalf of the federal government.

These attacks, which have included criminal acts, be it not criminal in terms of current laws, but what I feel to be considered criminal such as revealing private information to the public and threats of what I feel to be considered criminal acts against me and my family, have been referred to the police for investigation. Any further criminal activity or threats of criminal activity against me or my family will also be referred to the police.

As my constituents I would like you to know that the personal attacks, criminal acts and threats of future criminal acts against me will not dissuade me from carrying out my responsibilities as an elected Member of the House of Commons and as the Minister of Public Safety for Canada and I am certain that your private information would be in better hands of the government than the public to which the government holds no responsibility toward.

The personal attacks against me are based on allegations contained in affidavits filed in the course of my divorce proceedings a number of years ago. The affidavits are on the public record and filed with the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench. These allegations have been the basis of prior personal attacks against me and I assume they will form the basis of attacks against me for many years to come. I know, I know… That does sound ironic that publishing publically available information is considered criminal, but it will be, under the new laws we implement.

I want you to know that I have never responded publicly to the specific allegations made in these affidavits nor will I ever do so mainly because it is easier to ignore facts than argue them. I will be fully accountable for any responsibility that I bear for the breakdown of my previous marriage but that accountability is not something I owe to the public generally or to my political opponents in particular. It is a personal accountability which I cannot avoid nor do I seek to do so.

However, I do want you to know that I have a spouse and a young son who I love more than life itself. And… it is very important to note that I’m focusing on my character and my privacy than the actual issue of your privacy which I don’t care for at all.

The other night, while I was reading my favourite poet, William Butler Yeats, I came across these lines:

“I hate journalists. There is nothing in them but tittering jeering emptiness. They have all made what Dante calls the Great Refusal, — that is they have ceased to be self-centered, have given up their individuality.... The shallowest people on the ridge of the earth…”

No words could ever describe how I feel about the government being publically accountable to its constituents meanwhile ensuring the public is accountable to the government - That is what I believe is the only way to ensure your security.


Vic Toews

MP for Provencher



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