Goldhawk Fights Back: Protecting Privacy in a High Tech World

This is a weekly column by Dale Goldhawk, Canada’s best-known consumer advocate. A journalist, author and broadcaster, Dale hosts Goldhawk Fights Back For You, on AM 740 or at AM740 ZoomerRadio, Monday through Friday from 11 am to 1 pm, in the eastern time zone. Visit his website at

Day by day in Canada, our privacy is being whittled away. Maybe it’s a clerk asking for your postal code, somebody aside from the federal government asking for your social insurance number -— or all kinds of people who want your home telephone number.

We are entitled to say no to all of that, even though it might mean a bit of a battle to refuse. You already know all the lame excuses:

“We need your address because you might lose your receipt.”

“We use your telephone number as an easy way to access your file as our customer.”

“In these challenging days of identity theft, we need to be sure you are who you say you are.”

But now, new legislation has been presented in Ottawa that threatens our privacy further.

Privacy commissioners from across Canada are unanimous about two bills currently before the House of Commons—Bill C-46, the Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act and Bill C-47, the Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century Act.

Bill C-46 would allow police and government agencies to order telecommunications companies to gather and then turn over, on demand, details about a customer’s communications.

Bill C-47 would give both police and government agencies access to our communications, even without the fuss and bother of appearing before a judge to get a warrant. The bill would also compel telecommunications companies to build in all the technical tools that would be required to allow police to intercept our communications on their networks.

The privacy commissioners say the government needs to demonstrate that current laws now contained in our Criminal Code are inadequate when it comes to catching the bad guys.

The commissioners are also worried that the proposed legislation is not necessarily limited to the investigation of serious criminal offences but might be used to target even minor offences or even non-criminal issues. And remember, getting a warrant is not always required.

Agree with the privacy commissioners? Then track down your MP and give your representative a piece of your mind. Do it soon, before we get bogged down in another election campaign. But then again, if we do, those bills will die on the order paper, anyway.


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Dale GoldhawkGemini award nominee, journalist and broadcaster, Dale Goldhawk has earned Canada’s trust by his four decades of work exposing fraud and greed in the marketplace. To read more of his articles, go to (now part of the ZoomerMedia family of websites).

Don’t miss Goldhawk Fights Back , on the New AM740 Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.