News Views: Dirty laundry

The House of Commons has launched an investigation into who is behind a Twitter account that exposed personal details about the divorce of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who asked RCMP to look at threats against him.

All of this because of comments he said in defense of the Conservatives’ controversial online surveillance bill, at second reading.

Bill C-30 would allow investigators access to information such as a person’s IP (Internet Protocol) address without a warrant, to crack down on identity theft, child and sexual exploitation, organized crime and national security threats.

It would not give police access to web surfing information or e-mail without a warrant, though.

Both the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and Canadian Police Association endorse the bill.

But not everyone does. The NDP wants it scrapped. Toews, in response to an opposition MP, made the fight personal when he said: “He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers.”

After that, an anonymous Twitter account sent out bits of information about Toews’ personal life, in protest. Other anonymous Twitter accounts have been created to poke fun at Toews and criticize the bill, showing how easily information can be shared over the Internet.

But let’s be real. The current legislation regarding lawful access was drafted in 1975, before the internet and social media. The latter has changed not just crime, but politics.

Maybe some legislative change is in order.

This episode, if anything, has shown what a dangerous game politics can be, how powerful and damaging something like social media can be when misused, how the meaning of something can be misconstrued. One can be concerned about privacy and horrified at child porn at the same time. Just as one can disagree with a party’s view, but be respectful of its members and their position.

No one is served when politics becomes about airing dirty laundry, or peeking in bedroom windows.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

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