back to article Police probing ‘threats’ over Canadian internet privacy bill

The Canadian public safety minister Vic Toews has called in the police to investigate threats made against him and his family in response to his internet privacy bill, which has also provoked a storm of online protest. “Over the last few weeks I have been subjected to an extensive personal attack by my political opponents as a …


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  1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Private - Public

    If he is dishonest in his private life in ways that are fairly easy to uncover, how can he be trusted to be honest in public matters that would be much harder to reveal?

    1. LarsG


      but what does he expect ?

      Let the press dig deep and we will see what turns up!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        if he wants to stick

        His nose into my life I want to stick mine in his.


  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quelle surprise

    So you want to keep track of everyone's every move /on the internet/, in the name of that old and tired "think of the children" canard*, and then you act all indignant when /the internet/ starts to dig into your every move.

    Bonus for acting all surprised when confronted with the contents of the legislation you backed. Too busy setting public policy to have any clue what that policy entails? Hello?

    Insta-renaming the bill and the associated "you got something to hide, you must be a child pornographer" logic is just that more foot for an already overstuffed mouth. Impressive. Epically awkwardly, painfully impressive.

    If children and internet don't mix, don't let children on the internet. If you're not mature enough to understand when you've put your foot in, why are you even in politics? Is that our kindergarten for grown-ups these days? Fucking the babysitter is a nice touch, too, yes. Didn't realise that going into politics meant becoming a public figure then? Or is that really supposed to be a good example of a proper responsible citizen and competent government official?

    * A canard for several reasons, like how waging war on "bad pictures" itself neither helps prevent any current or future abuse nor mends past abuses, which is what you'd like if it truly was about the children. Then there's the sweeping-under-the-rug effect that actually impedes finding and bringing to justice actual child abusers. Or because of massive overuse by, ta-daa, tech-illiterate boobs or those too lazy to take their own responsibility. Or both. Or like how even convicted murderers have some expectation of privacy but not everyone using the internet in some way because children might conceivably be tangentially involved, potentially, possibly, maybe. Or maybe because "the internet". Yeah, that'll be it. The internet done it.

  3. kain preacher Silver badge

    Short translation

    I thought the people were to stupid to notice, to disinterested to do any thing .

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: Short translation

      I think someone though Vic was to stupid to notice. They got him to introduce this bill so he could be the lightning rod. Maybe distract people from the bogus copyright bill that Hollywood paid good money for.

      "This is the first time that I'm hearing this somehow extends ordinary police emergency powers"

      He has no clue, did he even read it?

      1. Keith T

        There are a lot of bills with backdoors for police.

        There are a lot of bills with backdoors for police. The parts of the criminal code restricting firearms for example. Home made guns and fully automatic weapons are both prohibited.

        Now I can see uniformed police being given permission for fully automatic weapons with prior permission from supervisors -- to me it is obvious that clause belongs.

        But why the additional clauses for home made weapons and for fully automatic weapons *without* prior permission from supervisors?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          There is a difference between an exception and a backdoor.

          It's fine to give the police powers you think they really should have while withholding them from the general populace if you think they really shouldn't have them, provided this is what we decide to do. It's not so fine to sneak provisions into law, whatever their purpose, to get them passed while pulling the wool over the populace's eyes. To claim the law you yourself introduced contains things you didn't know were in there is plain irresponsible, incompetent even.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh El Reg...

    Thanks again folks. When I suggested El Reg to post something about this Lawful Access Act issue, I never thought this will become a major shit show. My intention was to simply broadcast the message that here, in Canada, fascists are trying to control everything, much like in the rest of the world. But now I can read daily about the screw ups and ridiculous sequence of events of those clowns in the parliament.

    I propose a toast to the El Reg crew and to all here that want to keep Canada free from the Big Brothers out there. Vic, I am sorry buddy, but if you want privacy, vote against your own bill.

    1. JustWondering

      Re: Oh El Reg...

      It's pretty ridiculous that I'm getting more information from El Reg than I am from the most liberal daily (still a Conservative supporter) in the old goat's home province. Many thanks to El Reg!!

  5. Ned Ludd
    Big Brother

    The Revolution will be Tweeted

    I think the medium is very much the message here... you could get a million people to sign a petition or march on parliament and not change a thing, but it seems that increasingly politicians are becoming more fearful of online protests like this. I suppose that's probably the underlying motivation for this kind of legislation.

    1. Crisp Silver badge

      Re: The Revolution will be Tweeted

      But you'll have to read it on a Tor enabled browser.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've read @vikileaks30's twitter feed -- no threats in it

    I've read @vikileaks30's twitter feed -- there are no threats in it. It is simply reporting publicly available information.

    I am against attacking the man instead of his arguments -- for 2,500 years ad hominem attack have been known to be fallacious arguments.

    And if someone went around publicizing the divorce records of any MP or journalist an ad hominem attack is what they would generally be doing.

    But in this case it is justified, the right to keep people's irrelevant personal details private are the argument.

    I'm a person who generally votes Conservative, and Vic Toews is attacking small "C" conservative values and small "L" liberal values with this legislation, just as Labour PM Tony Blair was attacking socialist values when he introduced the UK's RIP legislation (the UK's counterpart to this).

    This is not part of a right-wing agenda. Whether Toews intends it or not, this legislation will gradually turn Canada into a Stalinist-Maoist Third Reich -- and there is nothing right-wing about that.

    And on the way we will become a nation with a thousand little J. Edgar Hoovers, each with their own set of secret personal files with which to shut down any criticism from politicians, journalists, celebrities or private citizens.

    Vic Toew's legislation, whether he intends this or not, will be the end of conservative politics just as it would lead to the end of all politics in Canada.

    1. Steve Brooks

      Re: I've read @vikileaks30's twitter feed -- no threats in it

      "I am against attacking the man instead of his arguments -- for 2,500 years ad hominem attack have been known to be fallacious arguments." This might be true if it was an attack on the man, however republishing public information can't possibly be construed as an attack on the man, this is an attack on the legislation, its to demonstrate that even though information may be publicly available, it can still be considered private by the people involved, just as email communications may not be secret, they may not contain any serious threats or criminal activity, but they are STILL private, and any attempt to access that information without following due court procedures should be illegal for all citizens, police or not. Maybe it was done badly, but that s what I believe the twitter account was demonstrating, not just an attack on the man.

    2. JustWondering

      Re: I've read @vikileaks30's twitter feed -- no threats in it

      Something to keep in mind is that our Conservative government was elected on the basis of personal attacks and are still engaged in this activity. Our government uses a polling company which one of its owners cheerfully admits is in the business of getting Conservatives elected and Liberals defeated. One of the strategies was to do a survey in a riding suggesting that the Liberal MP holding the seat was about to retire. At the same time the Conservatives presented one of their own as someone to meet with if you wanted the governments ear, thereby circumventing the elected representative. This government, including Mr Toews, has no cause to complain about ill treatment.

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Re: I've read @vikileaks30's twitter feed -- no threats in it

      "This is not part of a right-wing agenda. Whether Toews intends it or not, this legislation will gradually turn Canada into a Stalinist-Maoist Third Reich -- and there is nothing right-wing about that."

      It has long been observed that the political spectrum is actually a circle. At 6 OClock there are the people of the centre. At 9 OClock there are Communists, at 3 OClock there are the Fascists.

      And at 12OClock we have the ultimate expression of both the Communist and the Fascist, the spy-on-everyone-forever-and-lock-most-of-them-up authoritarians. In a democracy *everyone* should be weary of them.

      If you throw out a communist police state and replace it with a fascist police state what's the f**king difference? As a practical matter it's nicer to stamp on someone's face than *being* stamped on but perhaps IDK people should *not* stamp on each others faces in the first place?

      *grossly* disproportionate surveillance -> arrest without trial -> suspension of elected govt -> 1 party rule.

      I thought up that last paragraph just now but Hitler and the Nazis could be made to fit that model quite well and (I suspect) the Bolshevik revolution could as well.

      Note it's not who *starts* the surveillance, it's who ends up *using* it. Lenin's approach was to encourage the authorities to become more and more repressive, but instead of dismantling the secret police after the revolution he strengthened it.

      People who propose this sort of universal surveillance *never* think what happens if a) Rogue elements in the existing govt misuse it (yes despite *all* the evidence to the contrary) or b) what if a new govt is elected that holds a lot of grudges and wants to settle a lot of scores.

      Just some thoughts.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vic Toews and PM Harper's legislation can be fixed by simply:

    Everyone who frequents this website knows that we need stronger legislation to stop blackhat hackers conspiring to break into websites and control systems. The problem is Vic Toew's and Harper's legislation kills not just the internet but politics and democracy. It needs to be fixed.

    Vic Toews and PM Harper's legislation can be fixed by simply:

    1. Making it illegal for websites, ISPs or telephone companies to disclose personal information without a specific warrant signed by a judge.

    This should be worded to allow ISPs, etc. to make reports to police without the personal information so that police can then as a crown attorney to seek a search warrant. This would be needed in case an ISP happens across death threats, kiddie porn, etc.

    2. Making it illegal for Canadian police to ask websites, ISPs or telephone companies to disclose personal information without a specific warrant signed by a judge.

    This would preserve the privacy of Canadians using foreign websites.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is good

    The bill should be passed and the perps making threats should go to prison. They make prisons for people who are in denial about reality and law.

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Re: This is good

      commented by an anon i see......

      so what have YOU got to hide?

      kiddie fiddler?


      prolly not

      but idiot, most certainly!

      1. Clare (web specialist)
        Thumb Up

        Re: Re: This is good

        Whilst I find the description of this mans private life appalls me, I have to applaud his efforts to do something about the worst aspects of the internet. Thumbs up from me it is a shame there aren't a few more politicians who are keen to sort out the more disgraceful bits of the internet.

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          Re: Re: Re: This is good

          @ Clare

          Plenty of them seem keen to, it's just that the greater percentage (this guy included) are absolutely clueless about how the net works and so will never come up with good, viable ideas that might work.

          Potentially invading the privacy of every Internet user just in case is neither reasonable or proportionate. People need to take a step back and look at things properly, not push through some knee-jerk reaction.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          web specialist!

          Kiddy fiddlers (apparently) also wear socks. Perhaps we should record the personal details of everybody who buys socks as well (just in case). Or at least make a law that requires all socks shops to record and hand over customer details with no warrant....just in case.

          Web arse.

          Reality specialist.....likewise.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Re: This is good


          By all accounts 'some' nasty activity goes on in public toilets. In an effort to eliminate this activity I suggest a law that requires ALL toilet service providers to monitor and record all public toilet activity, I will also suggest that the closing of cubicle doors be made illegal (as persons who do this are obviously trying to hide some illegal activity). Recordings of all toilet activity must be made available to authorities on request with no court order.

          I expect you will also be applauding my efforts to reduce obscene public toilet activity, yes? After all, what could possibly go wrong - this could never be abused.

          Also, this law has nothing to do with kiddie porn. I guarantee that the first use of this law (if it happens) will be by major US corporate bodes (e.g. MPAA, RIAA) to get information on who has been downloading torrent files - after all that is what terrorist legislation is now being used for.

          And even after both of these reasons you think it is still to be applauded...utterly clueless.

          PS. Don't forget to leave your bedroom curtains and toilet door open - unless you have something to hide of course (note: privacy is not acceptable as a valid reason - according to some 'web specialists').

    2. Goobertee

      Re: This is good

      There is basically no argument that kiddie porn, incitement to violence, encouraging acts of terror, etc. on the Internet are bad and should be avoided. The problem some people miss is that it isn't an either/or argument. Having insects crawling on a glass of fine wine or a child's glass of milk is also bad and should be avoided, but we don't dispatch the bugs with a sledge hammer or a grenade. We use a tool that deals with the problem and doesn't cause a lot of damage to people and valuable property. The same thing with the Internet--use tools that protect people but preserve rights and liberties.

      If there are any terrorists listening, I'll give you a recipe for causing maximum disruption to the people of the free countries of the world: get yourselves elected to the parliament/congress/legislature of a country and argue for laws that eradicate the freedoms the countries fought wars to preserve--just a little at a time. You're patient--you've been fighting some wars for years and years and years. Run as a conservative: I'm here to protect our values. Use whatever emotional and irrational means you find effective and do anything you can to avoid a reasonable discussion of the issues. Ad hominem attacks are great: tell the people that if they're against your law, they're helping the pornographers, terrorists, and nasty people of the world! Find any way you can to claim the new legislation will protect the people. When you are successful, you will have accomplished your objectives without shedding any blood or destroying any buildings. No mess to clean up. And you've won!

      Now start collecting money for your campaigns.

  9. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Suddenly it's down to money!

    "but they have been running this nasty Internet dirty-trick campaign with taxpayers' money"

    As opposed to pushing frankly bad legislation with taxpayers' money, which gives everyone a hard time and burns even MORE taxpayers' money?

    [Anyway, how is this Harper government still in session? From here, Harper is permanently trying to outdo the US in outrageous neocon behaviour like a pimply-faced kid pandering to the schoolyard bully.]

    1. AdamWill

      Re: Suddenly it's down to money!

      classic first-past-the-post system problem: there's a single Conservative party which draws just about all right-of-centre votes, but on the left side of the spectrum there's the Liberals, the NDP, and the Greens, who carve the vote up nicely.

      NDP+Liberals have had a comfortable majority in every recent election, but because they split the votes, the Cons get in.

      1. JustWondering

        Re: Re: Suddenly it's down to money!

        In the last election the Cons got a majority of seats with the support of only 24% of eligible voters. 39% of eligible voters stayed home.

    2. JustWondering

      Re: Suddenly it's down to money!

      "[Anyway, how is this Harper government still in session? From here, Harper is permanently trying to outdo the US in outrageous neocon behaviour like a pimply-faced kid pandering to the schoolyard bully.]"

      You know Harper well, I see. LOL!!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...introduced in the House of Commons on behalf of the federal government"

    That's the problem - wouldn't it be nice if for once a politician introduced legislation on behalf of the people?

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Re: "...introduced in the House of Commons on behalf of the federal government"

      Politicians working on behalf of the people they represent? Now, that would be a first!

  11. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    I think I've found the *biggest* internet prediator in Canada

    That would be Vic Toews

    All your data belongs to him, on demand 24/7/365. How much more predatory can you get?

    The name change within 4 *hours* of the outcry tells you all need to know about the mans agenda.TOTC indeed.

    Or rather whoever actually *wrote* the bill, as he appears to be ignorant of its contents and the annoyance it would cause. IOW just a higher grade of political sock puppet..

    I'd look for a loose cabal of senior police officers and civil servants (possibly with links to some hardware mfg) with a real hunger for knowing about peoples private lives. The permanent hardware links from ISP to police station is a dead giveaway.

    Canadians. Make it clear to your elected representatives (the people elected to represent *you*) this law wipes out your right to privacy without *any* kind of due process. It's the electronic version of the entry powers enjoyed by secret policemen in 3rd world and former eastern European countries.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...accountability is not something I owe to the public generally..."

    You couldn't make it up - unless you were a politician.

    Betrayal of trust to the one person who was supposed to matter. What hope for the people he is supposed to be serving?!?

    And a slightly relevant US cartoon:

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons."

    Go ahead, shag the baby-sitter. Just don't pretend to be holding the moral high ground when you're actually a low-life, amoral cad.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Hypocrisy

      ""The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.""

      Nice. I'll have to file that one. It sounds like Oscar Wilde.

      "Go ahead, shag the baby-sitter. Just don't pretend to be holding the moral high ground when you're actually a low-life, amoral cad."

      He's not big on "Family values" as well by any chance? I've noticed that those characters who are found 'nads deep in someone other than their spouses tend to bang on about the importance of marriage and abstaining from sex before marriage as well.

      I guess talking about abstinence seems to make the *so* horny.

      On the upside she was overage (?) and he's never touched his own children.


      Thumbs up for the quotes, not his behavior.

      1. JustWondering

        Re: Re: Hypocrisy

        He was actually known, for a little while, as The Family Values Minister. I believe this was when he was between girlfriends.

      2. JustWondering

        Re: Re: Hypocrisy

        "The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.""

        btw, that's R W Emerson

  14. The Axe

    I think Vic Toews has learnt from Nadine Dorris about how to respond to criticism. Claim that the attacks are criminal and that the police have been informed - when nothing of the sort has happened, nor have the police been called.

  15. David 45

    Off with his head!

    Well......maybe not quite so draconian but I can well understand the fury of folks who value privacy. Seems there is no such thing these days. Every government wants to snoop around everybody's little secrets, so, although I don't condone threats, I can well understand why the people that allegedly made them are so uptight. The threats against the internet, however, are very much more important than some mere politician's indiscretions and it needs constant attention to stop these daft politicians (who seem to have no idea of what they are legislating about) getting their bully-boy ways on behalf of big industry.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stand with the child pornographers

    Well if the 'Right Honourable Minister' (yeah! a freebie oxymoron in the guys *title*!!) wants to call me a child pornographer, then I can call him what he really is: a fascist prick.

    Stupid prick has NO idea how the internet works.

    On second though, that's an insult to pricks, a useful part of male anatomy, 'cause he's fucking useless.

    And if this comes to pass in any way, I'll be getting a subscription to a proxy service somewhere OUTSIDE Canada, and use encrypted VPN for access. About $10 a month.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Criminals belong in prison

    That includes all pirates, hackers and other scum who violate law.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Criminals belong in prison

      So what about Jews?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What about them?

        Say what?

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        @Destroy All Monsters

        "So what about Jews?"

        A good question.

        There's *always* room on the statute books for one more law.

        It's just a question of getting around to *all* the enemies of the state.

        And in this context that would be *anyone* who disagrees with him.

  18. TheLaughingMan

    Who Watches The Watchman?

    Toews should be banished from Canada for this disgrace!

  19. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    I'm planning ahead!

    This nasty, evil bill gave me the kick in the pants to install Tor - wow was THAT easy - and begin investigating other tools that might keep Vic's grubby little hands off my life.

    These bastards will pass this bill more or less unchanged, and it's up to each of us to do what we can to protect ourselves.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Good luck with that plan

      You'll have lots of cellmates to commiserate with.

  20. JustWondering

    Harper's trusted messenger

    The reason Mr Toews announced this bill is that he possesses so little imagination that Harper knows Vic can be sent out with his talking points and it can be pretty much guaranteed Toews will stay on-message.

    The fact he was promoting a bill, the contents of which he doesn't appear to be fully aware of, is no surprise. His Harperness demands an obedient caucus, votes in the House are mere formalities after debate is truncated by closure.

    If the British Army isn't ferociously busy, what are the chances of them invading Canada and bringing us some democracy? Aside from farmers with long guns, there should be a minimum of resistance.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Re: Harper's trusted messenger

      "If the British Army isn't ferociously busy, what are the chances of them invading Canada and bringing us some democracy? "


      "Regime change" does not always bring democracy, as the people of Iraq know quite well by now.

      But you do have oil.

      The British Army should be free in a couple of years and may be able to book you in then. OTOH with Afghanistan winding down perhaps you could encourage returning troops to organize a coup?

      You'd probably end up with a military dictatorship (but being Canadian) a very *polite* military dictatorship.

      Might be a better bet, might not.

      1. Bill B

        Re: Re: Harper's trusted messenger

        The French army is probably free if you are interested.

        1. JustWondering

          Re: Re: Re: Harper's trusted messenger

          "The French army is probably free if you are interested."

          I thought the French army was out of commission until they get their white flag factory up and running again.

      2. JustWondering

        Re: Re: Harper's trusted messenger

        We'll take our chances, we've done the Queen thing before. Something has to be done, we are being led(?) by delusional lackwits. Add to that fundamental mendacity, a love for secrecy and a desire for a police state such as this bill and its mate, Bill C-11 aka The Copyright Act will help usher in.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Witch Hunt

    Presumably the fact that there is now a witch hunt on to find the person who published what are allegedly publicly available but inconvenient facts about this guy Toews just proves why the public should not trust politicians with these powers.

    He claims they are to protect people from paedos. In practice these powers will be used for far more trivial things.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not a Witch Hunt

      When you make threats - that is not a witch hunt. What goes around can land you in jail.

  22. Winkypop Silver badge

    O' Canada

    Oh dear in deed...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “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,” he wrote in a widely-published letter to constituents. “These attacks, which have included criminal acts and threats of criminal acts against me and my family, have been referred to the police for investigation.”

    The electorate are responsible for voting for someone who is clearly not fit for the position!

    Did he really think he could stamp on others rights without backlash? If he did, then W O W!

  24. T J

    Then I guess we are all standing with the Child Pornographers

    Then I guess we are all standing with the Child Pornographers. Thats a better alternative than the kind of parasitic lifeform this idiot obviously is.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Speak for yourself

      Phuck around, go to jail.

  25. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    AC@19:16, 02:20, 02:27

    Good morning Mr Toews. It's a pleasure to have a man of your intellect contributing to the debate.

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