Sunday, March 11, 2012

Carding comes to Winnipeg!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post, "Carding in Winnipeg?"

The citizens of Winnipeg, law-abiding or not, have no idea of just how much personal information has been linked into the Winnipeg police database - employment, land and cell phone numbers, utility services, police contacts, firearms, along with so-called collected intelligence information.

"Niche RMS is powerful because officers can get anything they want from police cars, from statements to full reports to linked information. Information is the lifeblood of policing - the better data you have the better job you can do." Sergeant Craig Hobson, Winnipeg Police Service, Canada.
Dear Anonymous:

Thank you very much for contacting CyberSmokeBlog. The issue of carding although effective/efficient from a police perspective, nevertheless, raises some questions civil libertarians and no doubt several of our readers are likely to ask. In no particular order:

(1) How many law-abiding citizens (read "Associates") are aware their co-ordinates are in a police data base even though they've never been arrested?

(2) In this the age of hackers how secure in that database?

(3) If an "Associate" is stopped, not charged or arrested but refuses to provide personal information what is the penalty?

(4) Is/can carding be used for racial profiling?

(5) Has this practice ever been successfully challenged under provisions of The Canadian Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

While most, save for the criminal element, would agree the better the information possessed by police the more effective they will be, regardless, there is a fine line that shouldn't be crossed. One must only look at the public furor over certain draconian provisions contained in proposed Bills C-30 and 51 governing surveillance of internet and telecommunications usage. Admittedly, the authorities need more and better investigative techniques to go after the 1% criminal element but is that justification to jeopardize the civil rights of the other 99%? Warrantless internet searches are not the answer.

When one thinks about it the judiciary is supposed to be there as an independent body protecting us from bad government legislation, citizens who would do us harm and , yes, over zealous police officers.

Clare L. Pieuk


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