[afp] The Canadian government on Thursday unveiled new legislation to allow police to intercept data sent over the Internet and access web subscriber information in order to fight cybercrimes.
"High tech criminals will be met by high tech police," said Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan.
The proposed Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century Act would require Internet service providers to add interception capabilities in their networks.
Providers would also be required to provide basic subscriber information to law enforcement agencies and to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, upon request.
However, authorities would still have to obtain a warrant to intercept communications or to access subscriber information.
"Evolving communications technologies like the Internet, cell phones, and personal digital assistants clearly benefit Canadians in their day-to-day lives," commented Justice Minister Rob Nicholson.
"Unfortunately, these technologies have also provided new ways of committing crimes such as distributing child pornography," he said. "We must ensure investigators have the necessary powers to trace and ultimately stop crimes."
Police groups applauded the bill, while privacy advocates denounced it.
Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Sweden, already have similar legislation in place.
Canada proposes new powers to police Internet