In an article published in the Institute for Research on Public Policy’s (IRPP) “Policy Options” blog, Research Fellow Jon Penney observed that the debate on Canada’s Bill C-51 Anti-Terror law has been “contentious and ranging, yet few commentators have drawn on experience or expert voices elsewhere to understand its implications.”

One such expert is Bruce Schneier, who is known in the field as “one of the most authoritative and knowledgeable voices on security and privacy today.” Insights from Schneier’s latest book entitled “Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World” help illustrate how the Canadian government’s (and its supporters’) responses to criticism leveled against Bill C-51 are “weak and misleading.”

For instance, Penney mentioned that security agencies like CSIS employ a maximalist operational philosophy. He cites a quote that Schneier obtained from former NSA director Michael Hayden that illustrates this point: “Give me the box you will allow me to operate in. I’m going to play to the very edges of that box… You the American people, through your elected representatives, give me the field of play and I will play very aggressively in it.” Penney argues that security agencies are not “incrementalists,” as they “aggressively interpret their legal and intelligence gathering powers, take advantage of grey areas in the law, and push the boundaries in order to achieve their security and intelligence objective.”

Read the full article.