#CyberFLASH: Counter-terrorism: Two bills poised to pass

Daniel TherrienTwo anti-terrorism bills that would give greater investigative powers to Canada’s police and spies are being swiftly pushed toward becoming law. The government says the new powers will make the country safer, while critics believe they might be tossed by the courts.

What’s being proposed?

Bill C-13 is expected to pass a final Senate vote next week, the last step before it is signed into law. The so-called cyberbullying bill will allow police to obtain surveillance warrants on “reasonable grounds for suspicion” – a lower threshold of evidence than now exists. The bill also shields Internet providers from lawsuits for voluntarily giving police private data without a warrant.

Bill C-44, on the other hand, is a series of amendments to the act governing the spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). If passed, the bill would grant CSIS informants near-total anonymity, and confirm that Canadian courts can issue spy warrants that have effect outside Canada.

The bill has had four hours of committee study and faces another two hours Monday before it returns to the House for a third reading. Then the Bill will be voted and move on to the Senate.

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