Internet surveillance bills (aka lawful access) need scrutiny

That's the title of my Slaw post for today.  It reads as follows. This is not about the election - it is about the need to consider this issue carefully before passing any new laws.

Michael Geist and David Fraser (here and here) have written detailed articles on this issue that I concur with and recommend. I want to weigh in as well as this is an important issue. I have a problem with legislation that erodes privacy and requires ISP's or others to retain information for the sole purpose of government access to it. And when that access is not tempered by the need for a warrant.

Issues include erosion of privacy, the potential for misuse of the information (intentionally, accidentally, or creeping uses) the costs of ISP's to comply, and whether the measures will actually have any meaningful impact on crime.

We are critical when countries like France pass data retention laws that trash privacy. Or when other countries use personal information to control and persecute and go way beyond criminal investigations. All justified, of course, by the claim that it is somehow criminal. We should be no less critical when our own governments try to pass similar laws.

(I'm convinced, by the way, that if Julian Assange was in China revealing Chinese documents the way he has revealed US documents, he would be hailed by the US as a hero, not vilified as a traitor. But I digress.)