Privacy Through Your Service Provider a Thing of the Past, says IDC Canada

TORONTO, NOVEMBER 1, 2002 – Ottawa is looking to capture much more than your tax dollars and census stats. According to a recently released IDC report, Ottawa's commitment to the first international Cyber-crime treaty will have a major impact on private citizens, corporations, and Internet-industry players. The European Union treaty provides legal tools which preserve select communications traffic information in order to assist in the investigation and prosecution of computer crime. Such tools however would require online surveillance, including Web surfing and email history, for all Internet users in Canada.


IDC examines this issue beyond the public concern for privacy to the Internet-industry players. The study offers highly valuable guidance on the issues and questions service providers in Canada need to consider in drafting their comments on the federal government's "Lawful Access" proposal to implement the treaty. Lawrence Surtees, Director of Telecommunications and Internet-related Research for IDC Canada advises, "The industry is alarmed by the considerable cost issue, likelihood of soaring storage requirements, and the sheer scale of the impact the adoption of these legal tools would have. Service providers must have a solid understanding of all the factors that the treaty proposals will carry before they can begin to calculate the cost to their business."

The proposed legal changes would require all telecommunications and Internet service providers to build automatic real-time surveillance capabilities into all their networks and create a national database of all Internet users. Companies that provide Internet, wireline and wireless services would be required to collect and maintain content and telecommunications-associated specific data. The collection and retention of such vast amounts of data is hugely complex and problematic for service providers. IDC's study assists to clarify the proposal and outline the real issues at hand for clients.

Although the changes could bolster powers to fight crime and terrorism, they would weaken privacy for Internet users and cause financial strife for service providers, the cost of which may in turn be passed on to individual service customers. IDC's study of the treaty and it's effects on the industry, will enable service providers to begin to formulate their business strategies as they grapple with the impact this major issue will have on the future of their organizations and the IT industry in Canada.

To purchase a copy of "Caught In the Web: Ottawa's Implementation of Cyber-crime Treaty Requires Online Surveillance by xSPs" (IDC #CA050TLJ), call IDC's volume sales hotline at 508-988-7988 or email

About IDC

IDC is the foremost global market intelligence and advisory firm helping clients gain insight into technology and ebusiness trends to develop sound business strategies. Using a combination of rigorous primary research, in-depth analysis, and client interaction, IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends to deliver dependable service and client advice. More than 700 analysts in 43 countries provide global research with local content. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.


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