Canada privacy bill faces opposition

Conservative Senators' Bill S-4, the Data Privacy Act, has been greeted with great protest from privacy advocates. In particular, critics attacked a clause in the bill that allows telecom companies to share customer data “without the knowledge or consent of the individual,” with the government or “another organization.” No warrant would be required for such a disclosure – the information-sharing would only need to be considered “reasonable for the purposes of investigating a breach of an agreement” or to intervene in a crime that is “being or is about to be committed.” Lawyer David Fraser told the National Post that the law, designed to crack down on illegal file-sharing, may open the door to copyright holders bypassing courts to go directly to “[extorting] payment from users.” Should the bill become law, critics argue, Canada would see a marked increase in “copyright trolls” – copyright owners who get lists from ISPs of users allegedly sharing copyrighted data, then contact users and demand they pay a settlement cost or face legal action.

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