|Royal Canadian Mounted Police
1200 Vanier Parkway
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R2
|Gendarmerie royale du Canada|
1200 promenade Vanier
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R2
Response to Industry Canada on: A Cryptography Policy Framework for Electronic Commerce - Building Canada's Information Economy and SocietyOn behalf of the RCMP, I am pleased to submit this formal response to the Cryptography Policy Framework Discussion Paper. Although the RCMP remains an active and committed participant in the Industry Canada led working group on cryptography and contributed to the Cryptography Policy Framework Paper, I believe that a formal public response by the RCMP is necessary. Given the uniqueness and complexity of the RCMP mandate, both domestically and internationally, this response serves to ensure that all of the RCMP's responsibilities and commitments are understood and fulfilled.
The RCMP is unique in the world as it is at the same time a national, federal, provincial, and municipal policing body which is separately accountable at each of these four levels. It provides a total federal policing service to all Canadians and policing services to the two territories, eight provinces, more than 200 municipalities, and 62 First Nation communities.
The mandate of the RCMP is multifaceted. Our mandate is to prevent and investigate crime, maintain order, enforce laws on matters as diverse as health and the protection of government revenues, to contribute to national security, to ensure the safety of state officials, visiting dignitaries, and foreign missions, and provide vital operational support services to other police and law enforcement agencies. This mandate is based on the authority and responsibility assigned under the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act. In addition, a number of Cabinet directives and international agreements assign protective responsibilities, while a substantial number of agreements with other federal departments and police agencies further define RCMP enforcement responsibilities. Through the United Nations Peacekeeping Program, the RCMP provides policing services and training through the United Nations to a number of countries in conflict.
The prevention of crime and maintenance of a safe society are fundamental to the quality of life in Canada. As the national police force of Canada, the RCMP plays a key leadership role in the delivery of the government's "Safe Homes, Safe Streets" agenda. Crime has many faces, many actors, and many consequences. Some actors like bikers and street gangs are more easily identified. Others disguised as legitimate business enterprises, operating from safe havens, and supported by the most sophisticated legal, accounting, and high technology services money can buy, are not so easily distinguished.
To fulfill its mandate the RCMP has been given the following priorities by government:
Essential to public safety and crime prevention are effective law enforcement agencies. The effectiveness of law enforcement agencies is dependent on their abilities and capacities to gather information, including lawfully authorized electronic surveillance or search and seizure. It is important to remember that in addition to the RCMP many other agencies have law enforcement responsibilities. These agencies include, all other provincial and municipal police forces, the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service, Customs and Excise, the Competition Bureau, and federal and provincial environmental agencies.
The government has recognized that electronic surveillance is fundamental to the investigation of serious crime. The statutes governing electronic surveillance, for example Part IV of the Criminal Code, balance the need for lawful interception of communications with strong provisions to safeguard individual privacy. Requests for lawful interception authorizations must demonstrate to the satisfaction of a judge that there are grounds for the use of electronic surveillance.
In response to the proliferation of organized and gang related activities in Canada, the government, in 1997, amended the Criminal Code to make it easier for law enforcement to obtain intercept authorizations in surveillance initiatives against gang members. Currently the government is considering amending the Competition Bureau Act to provide, under limited circumstance, the authority to seek a court's authorization for the interception of private communications.
Cryptography poses the real potential to eliminate law enforcement agencies' investigative effectiveness. Information obtained through lawful interception or the seizure of data requires real-time decryption due to the time sensitivity of the crime being investigated (e.g. murder, drug trafficking) or in order to ensure that "privileged information" (e.g. solicitor-client communications) is not intercepted. In order to fulfill investigative mandates and legislative requirements, law enforcement agencies must be provided a means by which they can decrypt information they gather which has been encrypted.
There is no doubt that Canada's success in the 21st century depends increasingly on its ability of the country to participate and succeed in the global, knowledged-based economy. Over the past several years, the government's "jobs and growth" agenda has created the conditions necessary to make Canada a world leader. The RCMP has and will continue to participate in and support these initiatives, such as, the Government of Canada's Public Key infrastructure (GOC-PKI). The RCMP has been a partner in GOC-PKI since its inception.
We also continue to investigate other technology initiatives which would allow for the more effective delivery and management of information networks for which we are responsible. These information management responsibilities include:
All of these initiatives will involve new technology products and applications and will require enhanced security, particularly strong cryptography. The RCMP is and will continue to be a consumer of cryptographic products. We understand well the benefits of strong cryptography for the protection of sensitive assets. The RCMP also recognizes the importance of cryptography applications in the protection of law enforcement personnel and individuals for whose protection we are responsible, such as foreign diplomats, visiting dignitaries, some of Canada's elected officials, and those protected under the Witness Protection Act.
As essential as new technologies and strong cryptography are to our operations, without current criminal intelligence information these information networks are meaningless. Criminal intelligence is obtained in many ways, including academic research and studies, open sources, human sources, and assistance from the public. The other essential tools for collection are electronic surveillance and information obtained through search and seizure.
Opponents often point to the small numbers of authorized interceptions conducted annually, as proof that law enforcement does not need these tools and should therefore have no concern or interest in the proliferation of strong cryptography. While I believe that these small numbers prove our commitment to the limited use of these powerful tools, the numbers do not reflect the value that this information has to our criminal analysis efforts. Nor do the numbers reflect the effect that these analysis products have both in crime prevention and education, apprehension, and in the development of a wide range of policies within the government's social and economic agendas.
Information seized during investigations is fundamental to prosecution. Like information obtained under interception authorizations, this information is often equally valuable to criminal intelligence analysis and other supporting programs. As part of the RCMP's Federal Police Services, Technical Operations maintains a variety of technical services aimed at providing investigative support services to Canadian law enforcement agencies including: the profiling of unknown offenders, indirect personality assessments, equivocal death analysis, crime scene analysis, geographic profiling of crimes, truth verification services, and the Violent Crime Linkage System.
ViCLAS is a national police service for the use of all Canadian law enforcement agencies. The success of the system is directly proportional to the level of compliance and quality of information submitted by contributing agencies. The greater the number of cases entered into the data base, the higher the probability of linkage and the earlier a serial offender may be identified and apprehended. In a 1995 report made by Ontario's (then) Attorney General Archie Campbell the following observation was made:
"ViCLAS is recognized internationally as the most effective and useable automated violent crime linkage analysis system now available and is being introduced and considered for use in a number of American and European jurisdictions ... It is likely that Bernardo would have been apprehended much sooner had ViCLAS been in place at the time and fully operational through centrally mandated reporting requirements".Most sections of the RCMP rely on technical investigative capabilities and are both contributors to and consumers of criminal intelligence. These sections include:
Economic/Commercial Crime enforces laws and investigates crimes of commerce in areas such as commercial fraud, theft, criminal breach of trust, securities fraud, corruption of public officials. This section is also responsible for investigating technological crimes including computer crime, theft of telecommunications, and the counterfeiting of currency and credit, debit, and smart cards.
Drug Enforcement investigates offences related to the importation, exportation, production, trafficking, and possession of controlled drugs and substances. Drug trafficking is perpetrated by criminal enterprises that conduct a myriad of acts of violence, corruption, fraud, murder, and extortion, generated by greed and power. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) estimates that the total revenues generated by drug trafficking activities alone is $10 Billion dollars. One shipment of heroin landed successfully in Canada can lead to numerous deaths and human suffering in a city like Vancouver or Toronto. Muggings, robberies, autothefts, and house break-ins increase as addicts scramble to finance their habits. Neither extremist groups nor foreign powers have yet to cause the level of devastation to our communities and affect the fabric of our society as that due to drug trafficking.
Coastal Enforcement helps prevent drug smuggling along Canada's coast lines and is coordinated with the Department of National Defence, Fisheries and Oceans, Canadian Coast Guards, and the United States. Activities include the analysis of information, ship boarding capabilities, detection, interception, and access to an international computer system (ADNET - Anti-Drug Network).
Customs and Excise enforces laws within Canada and along the Canada/US border in conjunction with clients, partners, and the community. These activities include the international movement of goods, the manufacture, distribution, or possession of contraband products including tobacco and spirits, and the illicit traffic of critical high technology and strategic goods.
Organized Crime transcends all major crime areas and is increasingly global in nature. So great is the threat posed by organized crime to international security that the United Nations has called on its member-states to declare it public enemy number one and to do all in their power to bring those involved to justice. Speaking at an international conference in October 1998, the head of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, issued these words of warning:
"Organized crime causes more damage to the economy and to the social fabric than wars do; and, therefore the struggle to prevent it is one of the UN's top priorities for the next century".The CACP estimates that the total revenues generated by organized crime activities in Canada to be roughly $20 Billion dollars. These organized criminal activities include drug trafficking, prostitution, child pornography, weapons trafficking, auto theft, smuggling, and bank fraud. The smuggling of black market jewellery is estimated in Canada at $400 million leading to additional losses in taxes of $30 million. Credit card fraud can run as high as $80 million annually. One illegal lottery scheme operating out of Canada between 1994 and 1995 may have cost elderly American victims $100 million or more.
Reports published by the Criminal Intelligence Service Canada (CISC) confirm that criminal groups are continuing to expand their influence in various activities within Canada such as white collar crime, money laundering, illegal drugs, and the smuggling of commodities and people. There has also been a trend to inter-group links as evidenced by the cooperation of Asian crime groups with the Hells Angels and Outlaw Motorcycle gang members as well as with members of Italian and aboriginal organized crime.
Combatting organized crime is an integral part of the government's commitment to "safe homes, safe streets" agenda. Organized criminal activities affect the health and safety of Canadians and have devastating affects on the economy of the country. The globalization of economies, communications, and the merging of voice and data makes law enforcement all the more complicated.
Criminals have been quick to seize upon new technologies and the inherent opportunities in the movement to a borderless world. Every regulation repealed, every customs and excise check eliminated in efforts to facilitate legitimate trade and commerce makes it easier for criminals to broaden their activities internationally or instigate them electronically. In response to these realities, the government has taken action through legislation, continued commitment and participation in international efforts to combat crime, terrorism, and other threats to public safety and economic stability. Examples include:
People smuggling has become increasingly prevalent and has attracted organized crime groups because of the extraordinary profits which can be made. Jonas Wigren, a former United Nations official and head of the Vienna based International Centre for Migration Policy Development has made the following observations:
"... smugglers are enriching themselves by as much as $9.5 Billion a year, which is twice the annual earnings of the Medelin cocaine cartel at the peak of its power."Once in control of these illegal immigrants, organized crime groups often force them to participate in criminal activities which include, drug trafficking, extortion, prostitution, and money laundering.
Canada has not been immune to incidents where children have been targeted and lured, by both telephone and the Internet, to places where they would have been or were forced to engage in sex, some have been murdered. Information obtained through investigation becomes essential evidence in the prosecution of these crimes. It also becomes valuable intelligence which can be used to profile serial criminals such as sexual predators and develop education and protective measures. Once again these cases do not appear large in number, but it is my view that one is too many and that anything that could potentially be used to shield these hideous criminal acts or prevent their prosecution cannot be ignored.
It is true that the use of strong cryptography can help prevent crime by safeguarding valuable information and assets. It is also equally true that cryptography poses the real potential to eliminate law enforcement agencies' investigative effectiveness. Cryptography is also a valuable tool in the prevention of certain types of fraud, however, it can also shield these and other serious criminal activities from detection or from successful investigation.
It is perhaps because of our unique and complex role within Canadian society that the serious consequences of the proliferation of cryptography is so clearly defined. We do not view the statistics or the intelligence from arms length. We are present in Canadian communities and we deal directly with the victims of crime whether they are individual citizens or large corporations.
At a recent conference Mr. Whitfield Diffie, co-creator of Public Key Cryptography and distinguished engineer at Sun Microsystems observed that,
"Digital communications is not a part of the world of the future - it is the world of the future. Life will be based in telecommunications. Decisions we make today will shape life in the future".I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Diffie and would add that mistakes we make today will take years to solve and may have enormous social and economic costs.
The RCMP supports all sectors of Canadian industry and the efforts to ensure that Canada takes full benefit of the enormous opportunities of the information age. The challenge is to simultaneously tear down remaining barriers to legitimate global enterprise while doing all in our power to stop criminal enterprises. Law enforcement must be able to maintain its abilities to investigate and prosecute criminal activity which is increasingly facilitated by technologies including cryptography, without curtailing the ability of law-abiding corporations and citizens to communicate and interact.
In conclusion, I would like to both acknowledge and thank Kevin Lynch, Deputy Minister for Industry Canada and his officials. Industry Canada's stewardship of the cryptography policy development and management of the diverse interests at stake has been a difficult one. Their support and participation in efforts to assist the RCMP in studying various options is an excellent example of how a search for balance among competing priorities can produce benefits for everyone. While there is no single solution or "silver bullet" for the challenges posed by cryptography, I am convinced that through this kind of cooperation successful remedies can be found.