Hey, has anybody heard of the new “Missing Persons Act” bill being proposed in Alberta? Apparently not many people have and this is something that needs to be changed.
The bill itself is described as, “legislation that would force banks, phone companies and Internet providers to quickly provide personal information to police in missing person cases.”
The best part is that the police would be able to get this data any time they wanted, even if there is no evidence of the person being a victim. While this may seem like something straight from Spielberg’s Minority Report it’s not. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this is a good thing, so let’s look at the positives.
Alberta right now has more than 10,000 cases of missing persons reports per year and if the police can find the missing person by tracking a cellphone location before it’s too late, then maybe it’s a good thing.
If we can check a missing person’s banking records to see where the last place the missing person used their Visa in hopes we can get to them in time, then maybe this is also a good thing. Maybe we can get that number of 10,000 down to 5,000. This would be a great thing.
Now let’s look at the reality of this bill. We will be losing our right to privacy, which should mean something to all of us.
What happens if a woman or child being abused runs away to somewhere they think is safe? The husband or parent can just file a missing persons report. This will be the first time that, “telecom service providers would be compelled to surrender their customers’ personal information where no evidence of a crime exists.”
I don’t want to sound pessimistic but this type of power can easily be abused. What would happen if the police were going after someone who wasn’t missing? Are we guilty until proven innocent?
The good ol’ days of the warrant seem to be far behind us and the strangest part about this story is it is not receiving any media attention — this bill will be passed quietly and people won’t voice their anger until their privacy is infringed on. What is this, Soviet Russia?
Pretty soon, you won’t be listening to the radio. The radio will be listening to you.
OK, I’m exaggerating. But we are bound to hear the police reasoning (and maybe your parents told you this as a child): “If you have nothing to hide, what are you so afraid of?”
This, of course, is the reasoning to justify the Arizona immigration law where law enforcement can card anyone that “looks” like an immigrant. This is also the reasoning to justify the controversial TSA probing they do at the airport.
Maybe Orwell is right. Maybe the “thought police” aren’t far behind.