Michael Geist – Who Pays for Online Surveillance?: Police Recommended "Public Safety" Tax on Internet Bills

Stéphane Thibault >_

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One of the major unanswered questions about Bill C-30, the lawful access/online surveillance bill, is who will pay for the costs associated with responding to law enforcement demands for subscriber information (“look ups”) and installation of surveillance equipment (“hook ups”). Christopher Parsons has an excellent post that takes a shot at estimating some of the costs. I recently obtained documents from Public Safety under the Access to Information Act that indicates that the government doesn’t really have its own answer. As of December 2011, the issue was still the subject of internal debate with Public Safety working with the RCMP and CSIS to develop a fee schedule for the costs.

The document is particularly interesting because it places the spotlight on how the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) would like to handle the issue. In 2009, the CACP proposed several possibilities, including the creation of new public safety tax that would appear on monthly customer bills.