Anonymous nails Vic Toews over Bill C-30
The war between Vic Toews and Internet activists over the online spying bill escalated this week when Anonymous exposed the identity of the politician's alleged former mistress and current commonlaw partner.
This legislation, which is very similar to Bill C-52 floated last year, provides a range of different capabilities to government officials and law enforcement agents. It allows the government to request mandatory information about customers from ISPs, and it also stops the ISPs from telling customers that their information has been snooped. Under the legislation, government officers are also able to request the voluntary surrender of information about emails and surfing habits.
Moreover, it contains provisions for the government to specify what equipment ISPs install to snoop on the public - effectively enabling them to take control of your Internet service provider and monitor you however they please.
This really is as bad as it sounds. What's worse is that Toews doesn't seem to understand his own legislation, as shown in an exchange with the CBC's Evan Solomon here.
Public Safety Canada estimates that it will cost around $80m to implement the surveillance system, and we know who's going to pay for that, don't we? Either the government will fund it (meaning that it will come from our taxpayer dollars), or the ISPs will shoulder the cost - and pass it on to the customer. Either way, we're on the hook for it.
No wonder that Anonymous is so irked. The loosely coupled Internet activist group, which has launched attacks on multiple targets, went all-out this week by releasing detailed information allegedly about the minister's private life. It published an audio file (available here) that reveals the identity of what it says is the politician's former mistress - Stacey Meek. The minister - a devout Christian and advocator of family values - had an affair with Ms Meek before his marriage collapsed during which he conceived a child, claims Anonymous.
This is the latest in a series of revelations about Toews. Recently, a Twitter account called Vikileaks30 unveiled secrets about his private life before it was yanked from Twitter. Before it disappeared, it gathered more followers than his own Twitter account.
Anonymous justifies the revelation by pointing out that Toews is supporting legislation that would provide the government with secrets about the public over which they have no control. It is not exposing the identity of the boy, it says, because he's an innocent party. But it does have far more information about the minister, including his personal address and telephone numbers. Much of the information is available to it from people who know Toews directly, it says. The threat is that more of this information will come out.
The alleged Meek relationship was actually exposed in irreverent political rag and Private Eye clone Frank Magazine in May 2008, but the Anonymous revelation brings it to the public's wider attention.
Was Anonymous right to expose Toews' private life?
Danny Bradbury, MSN Tech & Gadgets