In the latest episode of the Canadian tech podcast Search Engine, Peter Van Loan, the new Public Safety minister, attempts to explain the Conservative government's approach to privacy on the internet. It's a remarkable piece of audio. It goes a little like this:
Search Engine: Here's some audio of your predecessor promising, on behalf of your party and your government, never to ever allow the police to wiretap the Internet without a warrant.
Minister (as though he had been off on another planet): We never promised not to do that.
Search Engine: What about all the personal information that you guys are now proposing to give to the cops without a warrant?
Minister (tragically unclear on the subject): We're not requiring ISPs to give out any personal information without a warrant, just your real name, your home address, your IP address, your home and cell number...
Search Engine: Huh. Well there's this really critical, high profile court ruling that calls all that stuff private information?
Minister (pretending he didn't hear): The courts have ruled that this isn't private information. , not when it comes to your name, address, cell phone number, etc
Search Engine: Do the cops really need to get this information without a warrant?
Minister: Oh yes. There are MONSTROUS BABY-EATING CHILD PORNOGRAPHERS WHO ADVERTISE THAT THEY ARE ABOUT TO SEXUALLY ASSAULT A LIVE CHILD IN TEN MINUTES and we need to be able to run down their IPs without talking to a judge first.
Search Engine: But when a child is endangered, the law already allows you to get this information without a warrant, right?
Minister: Why are you still asking questions? Didn't you hear me? BABY-EATING CHILD PORNOGRAPHERS! Surely that settles the matter.
Search Engine: Uh, I guess. Thanks anyway.