OTTAWA: Canadian police chiefs on Tuesday called for the government to adopt a law that could force a person to reveal an online encryption key or password in the interests of public safety.
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police adopted the resolution at an annual meeting in Ottawa, citing the technological and legal challenges of obtaining digital evidence while protecting individual liberty.
In a statement, the CACP said it “urges the government of Canada, for the purpose of community safety, to identify a legislative means for public safety agencies inclusive of law enforcement, through judicial authorization, to compel the holder of an encryption key or password to reveal it to law enforcement.”
Though the previous conservative government adopted in May 2015 a controversial anti-terrorism law allowing unusual control of the internet, a person still cannot be forced to reveal a password.
The Canadian supreme court in June 2014 ruled that anonymity on the internet is a right and that police must have a legal order to demand that internet service providers release information on certain customers.
The government of liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not immediately comment on the police chiefs’ request. Before he was elected, Trudeau had worked to amend the anti-terrorist law.