Hacker group Anonymous threatens Vic Toews
The hacker group Anonymous is demanding Public Safety Minister Vic Toews kill the Internet surveillance bill and resign or it will release "information" during what it calls "Operation White North."
Two videos posted to YouTube feature a masked man and voice-overs that condemn the proposed Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act (Bill C-30).
"All this legislation does is give your corrupted government more power to control its citizens," a synthesized voice says in one of the videos still posted to the site Monday.
"We know all about you, Mr. Toews, and during Operation White North we will release what we have unless you scrap this bill," it states.
The RCMP has been called in to investigate apparent death threats against Toews as controversy swirls around the legislation. Police said Monday they haven't yet decided whether a full investigation will be launched.
"We've received information from Public Safety so what we're going to do is we're going to examine that information," RCMP Cpl. David Falls told The Canadian Press. "Depending on the situation, we may or may not initiate an investigation."
In an open letter to his Manitoba constituents distributed over the weekend, Toews said the threats have been "referred to the police for investigation."
The "personal attacks, criminal acts and threats of future criminal acts against me" won't prevent him from carrying out his parliamentary duties, the minister wrote.
"Any further criminal activity or threats of criminal activity against me or my family will also be referred to the police," Toews said in the statement.
Although CTV reporter Mercedes Stephenson said the RCMP has yet to respond to her inquiries concerning criminal threats against Toews, she did speak with a source close to the minister about the YouTube videos.
"They told me that he's not that concerned about the Anonymous video. He considers it to be a political video and it's a political threat and Anonymous makes a lot of political threats against a lot of different politicians," she told CTV News Channel Monday.
He's far more concerned by the potential security threats, Stephenson said.
In its current form, the bill would force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to allow access to private data without a warrant. It would also permit the duplication of that data without oversight or appeal.
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the Canadian Police Association both say they support Bill C-30 and it won't violate privacy rights.
The police chiefs' group had also backed the long-gun registry.
The deputy police chief in Vancouver spoke in favour of the legislation Monday arguing it's needed to save lives and still holds officers accountable for information they request.
"While it provides authority for the police to obtain basic subscriber information in the course of their duties, access to e-mail and Internet activity is only available with a warrant as is the case now," Warren Lemcke said at a press conference.
Bill C-30 enhances the ability of police to fight crime, prevent victimization and suicides, he said.
"Our hope is that Members of Parliament, the media and Canadians as a whole will take the time to view the legislation through the lens of law enforcement," Lemcke said.
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police is disappointed by the amount of "misinformation and rhetoric that is clouding an important discussion on this issue," he said.
Toews said during debate in the House last week that anyone who opposed the law was supporting child pornographers. He has since backed away from that comment.
But the contentious statement did prompt the creation of an anonymous Twitter account "@Vikileaks30" that published details of Toews' divorce, family and his spending as an MP.
The Conservatives accused the NDP of operating the Twitter feed, something the party has denied.
In his letter, Toews went on to call the personal attacks against him futile, because they are based on records from his divorce proceedings, which are open to the public.
He went on to say that the breakdown of his previous marriage is something he is personally accountable for, "but that accountability is not something I owe to the public generally or to my political opponents in particular."