Bill C-27


Bill C-27

Bill C-27 is proposing changes to Canadian laws, so they are more current with the issue of identity theft. A [http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Docid=3125690&file=4 bilingual copy of the Bill] is available on the Parliament of Canada’s website.

It is important to remember that this is based on the first bill reading, which happened on November 21, 2007. Modifications will likely happen before this bill receives royal assent.

Modifications to the Actual Laws

Official Document

An official document is defined as follow in the Bill: "For the purposes of this section, "identity document" means a Social Insurance Number card, a driver’s licence, a health insurance card, a birth certificate, a passport as defined in subsection 57(5), a document that simplifies the process of entry into Canada, a certificate of citizenship, a document indicating immigration status in Canada or a certificate of Indian status, issued or purported to be issued by a department or agency of the federal or a provincial government, or any similar document issued or purported to be issued by a foreign government." [ [http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Docid=3125690&file=4 C-27] ] It is important to note that this neither include credit cards, nor debit cards; documents identity thieves often steal.

In order for someone to even possess someone else’s official document, he or she must have to provide a valid reason, such as the document owner's permission. It can also, due to the nature of the work the person is doing, he or she might need to get access to such documents. Other typical reasons are for genealogy purposes, and for the administration of justice.

Credit Cards and Debit Cards

Possessing, using, and trafficking are at the same level, without colour of right. Also, the data does not need to be accurate; possessing a poorly copied credit card/debit card with inaccurate data is as much as a crime as using a well copied credit card. The same rationale applies to someone else’s credit card: it is not legal to have it, or to use it. It is not legal to possess any material that can copy or falsify credit cards. Furthermore, this bill makes illegal all devices used to copy credit card data, something that was not clearly defined in previous bills.

Mail

Another area where identity can be stolen is in the mail. Bills containing valuable information are mailed and received, government agencies letters and cheques, credit card and banking statements, etc. Even personal letters can contain information that can be potentially be used in identity theft. In order to protect the public, bill C-27 revisits what mail theft is. It adds that mail delivered to the right address, "after it is delivered but before it is in the possession of the addressee or of a person who may reasonably be considered to be authorized by the addressee to receive mail" [ [http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Docid=3125690&file=4 C-27] ] is considered stealing. Before, the definition ended where the mail is delivered. It was unclear whether deliver meant the mail is deposited in the receiver’s mailbox for example, or when he or she gets it in their hands. This revision removes the ambiguity.

Forging Documents

The new bill clearly states the responsibility of anyone not to accept, or use any document as though it was genuine, when it seems forged. Also, a person should not make available any document they suspect as being forged. Regardless of the intentions of the person, it is still a crime to make it available. Basically, one cannot claim "people are free to do what they want with a forged document; I have not done anything wrong."

Also, the bill makes a clear statement that using, buying, exporting, importing, repairing any device that is used to build forged documents is unlawful. One needs an authorization, or a lawful excuse. The idea is that by making it tougher to possess such device, it will reduce the amount of crime.

New Content

Identity Theft and Identity Fraud

Identity information is any and all data that that could be used to identify a person. Such information can be in the form of name, date of birth, signature, credit card number, debit card number, SIN, etc. The bill also highlights other information that can be used to identify a person, information that includes biological identifiers, such as DNA, fingerprint, retina image, iris image and voice print. Early in 2008, the Province of British Columbia began testing the use of such biometrics in a new enhanced drivers license [ [http://www.icbc.com/inside_icbc/jan2008govnews.asp ICBC] ] .

Bill C-27 defines identity theft as the following: "Everyone commits an offence who transmits, makes available, distributes, sells or offers for sale another person’s identity information, or has it in their possession for any of those purposes, knowing or believing that or being reckless as to whether the information will be used to commit an indictable offence that includes fraud, deceit or falsehood as an element of the offence." [ [http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Docid=3125690&file=4 C-27] ]

From a jurisdiction point of view, the bill states that a trial has to happen in the province in which the allegation has happened, or, if the accused is not in that province, the trial cannot happen without the approval of the Attorney General of that province. That says that a crime that has happened in British Columbia must have trial in British Columbia.

Identity fraud is slightly different:"03. (1) Everyone commits an offence who fraudulently personates any person, living or dead,:(a) with intent to gain advantage for themself or another person;:(b) with intent to obtain any property or an interest in any property;:(c) with intent to cause disadvantage to the person being personated or another person; or:(d) with intent to avoid arrest or prosecution, or to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice." [ [http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Docid=3125690&file=4 C-27] ]

This includes impersonating someone by using identity information. This includes social engineering, where someone could try to impersonate a victim by using some personal information gained in any ways, such as in social network web sites.

Effects on Canadians

This Bill attempts to give more teeth to law enforcers by clarifying what identity theft and fraud is, and how they can be committed. At the moment, the bill is still in raw form and definitions still need to be clarified. More and more countries will require the use of biometric information to enter their countries [ [http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/10/europe/union.php EU plans to require biometrics of all non-European visitors] ] [ [http://www.out-law.com/page-3536 G8 countries push for biometric passports] ] ; Canada is simply following the flow. By bringing this bill forward the Government of Canada is attempting to modernize this section of the law.

References


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