All indications are that our government is going to revive an internet surveillance bill to make sure Canadians are behaving online.
I want to be all bold on this, and say I’ll fight to the end, what do I care if the government knows I’m reading about horsefucking and Hardboiled Jesus? Except I live in Alberta, surrounded by farmers and the morally invested religious types. And the farmers have sharp pitchforks. Why do you think I shoot off my mouth on the blog? It jest ain’t proper for no wimmenfolk to be talkin’ ‘bout stuff they don’t understand, ne’er mind such unwholesome things.
Okay okay, I’m not serious. Well, I do live in Alberta. I am surrounded by farms. And Alberta is known for its right-wing politics, but that really has nothing to do with this.
What I can’t figure out is how I feel about this potential law, to be honest with you. Maybe it’s a bizarre coincidence that I’m putting this up today instead of yesterday, a day when all my friends to the south are celebrating independence, freedom, and I’m not sure how to feel about losing the luxury of anonymously surfing the web.
You’ll note, if you look at the article, that Bell Sympatico has already started monitoring the activities of their customers. We’ve received no such notification from our provider, but I suppose the time is coming.
I know it would be easy to climb on the moral high horse and equate this activity with the government reading my mail. It’s no different than them following me store to store and listing which books I buy or rigging my TV so they can see what channels I watch. And that is disturbing in a “Fahrenheit 451” way. The more power the government has, the more dangerous it is. One may say right now, “But I like my prime minister and I voted conservative, so it’s okay.” But once the laws will be in effect when the next prime minister takes office, and what if it’s the marijuana party? Okay, highly unlikely, but you get the point. If the bill passes, it’s there for all future governments to use. And what if, some day, the government isn’t one you trust? For some of you, that might be right now. Certainly when politicians who have strong corporate interests get into power, I’m not happy to think of them using a bill like this potentially to gain data they might abuse for their side businesses. I consider that to be a real potential problem.
On the other hand, we’ve got children being exploited through child porn. We’ve got vultures luring children off the internet. We’ve got those insidious spammers and hackers who try to break in to any computer they can – I’d love to see something done to them.
I think my fear centers around the idea that people might accept this bill, thinking about these things. Believing in the potential good. Believing that pedophiles and terrorists will be the targets. They want to see the spread of terrorist ideologies online stopped. And who can blame them?
Yet, as it’s been pointed out, recent arrests of terrorist suspects in Canada prove that the current laws provide a sufficient window to target those crimes.
Without encroaching on the rights of all other Canadians.
Hmmm. See, I’m still not 100% on either side of the fence. I have a feeling I should be jumping down on the opposition side, though.
In fact, I recently switched banks. After more than 11 years with the Royal Bank, I took out an account at the credit union. Now, I shouldn’t say I “switched”. We didn’t cancel the Royal Bank account. It’s set up for too much stuff.
So, why get the other bank account? It’s simple. The Royal Bank started requiring that you register all of your bills in order to pay them through the bank.
No fucking way. Uh uh. They do it for the altruistic purpose of keeping your business there, because it’s convenient to go to one bank and pay all of those bills. I balked as soon as I saw it.
It isn’t the first time this has happened. Kevin still has a CIBC bank account, from his single days, that I have no access to. He used to pay his bills there. Then they required all bills be registered.
My Royal Bank account existed before we got married. I added Kevin to it, so he has access (if I let him have the bank card). Once the CIBC required bill registration, I started paying his bills.
It’s simple. Kevin’s worked at too many businesses for us to be ignorant of this. Once they have that information stored, it becomes a privacy issue, one that concerns me beyond just the manipulation involved in pressuring us to keep our business with them.
So, we lean well on the side of liking our privacy. It isn’t even that I’ve got deep, dark secrets to hide.
And yet, I research some pretty bizarre stuff online. As does Kevin. Between his fire investigation stuff (for which he actually needs to know how using gasoline to set a fire versus other substances affects the burn patterns) and my criminal investigation stuff, we could come under some serious scrutiny. Sandra types in google “Body decomposition 7 days in water rape kit results” and follows that up with something else, like “lure children through internet” and I wouldn’t be surprised to get a knock on my door. This is all stuff I have done searches on, or related to, as well.
More and more, it seems we walk a fine line, between respecting freedoms and stopping those who would abuse them to harm others. Ultimately, I have nothing to fear, because I’m not a criminal. And if they think my internet activity is suspicious, they should see my library.
But I’m still not feeling too comfortable about this.
Of course, I’m not serious about not reading John’s blog anymore. But I think the idea - if your neighbours knew what you were reading about online, would you be embarrassed? – is enough to show that even us normal people have reasons to be concerned about how some of our online activities might be interpreted.
This coming from a member of a group called Killer Year.
Happy Fourth of July to my friends to the south.
And welcome back to work to my friends here who’ve just had their long weekend.