Isn't wiretapping illegal?

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Isn't wiretapping illegal?

In another thread, I've been reading that it seems to be a non-issue to some that the NDP Caucus conference call was spied upon and taped, without their knowledge. Some even think that it's the NDP's fault that their security is lax.


Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the recording of a communications device known as wiretapping? And, isn't it illegal except in certain circumstances requiring signing off by a judge or other authority figure?


This is a big deal, in my mind. The conversation itself is a non-issue, as I also said over there. The fact that someone called in to a conference call to which they were not invited isn't even that much of a surprise and I wonder about the legality of that. But, recording it seems way beyond the grey area and into illegal activity. If the Harpercons are participating in it, they need to be held to account, rather than shrugged off. Otherwise we tolerate a degree of intrusion and a violation of the privacy that democracies require. This is spying and while we all need to be aware that it can and does happen, I find it just creepy that it's considered common-place and almost tolerable.

remind remind's picture

I agree Loretta, and the NDP are looking at whether or not it was a criminal action, however for sure it breaks parliamentary rules.  Whether or not it also breaks Charter privacy rights is another issue.

It is not considered common-place and tolerable, some here are simply trying to create that conceptual framework to try and cover CPC gestapo actions and to manage the message.  Reject and discount this anytime anyone suggests that it is okay. It isn't.


"watching the tide roll away"

martin dufresne

A good point to raise in letters to editors of the newspapers&media  exploiting that leak but passing on the legal/ethical issues involved.

Sunday Hat

The Tories are claiming they were "invited" and imply they recieved a stray email. If true they may get away with it. If not, they're lying now too.

I'm more amazed that they'd admit to doing it. Even if it's legal it's SLEAZY and they look desperate.


I doubt they were "invited" to record the conversation, regardless of what excuse they use to listen in.

Parkdale High Park

***Top secret do not read***

 Note to self: I am horrible at secrecy



If you read this I will sue you. 

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

 If the person that recorded it was actually "invited" as the Cons say  then no it's not illegal.  As long as one person in a conversation is aware of the recording then it's legal. I expect that's why the Cons are stressing, that one of the MP's was "invited" thing. Whether it was an accident or not if the Cons can prove a supposed invitation from some place or someone,  then there isn't much legally the NDP can do about it. 

The ethics and optics of it are a whole other story of course. 


My guess is that someone used a parliamentary conference facility with an insecure PIN to set up the call, and the scheduling details ended up in Conservative hands indirectly. 

Since it was a telecon caucus meeting, it seems highly unlikely that an invitation went astray by including someone inappropriate on the mailing.  Nobody but NDP caucus members and staff would have been invited.

There is another possibility.  Email is notoriously dodgy as a medium for sensistive communications for several reasons.  One reason is the ease with which typos can enter addressing.  One very common error is the dropping of a period between parts of a name, but there are others.  If alternate versions of addresses are not registered by the owner, they can be registered by others.  There are those who go around registering close approximations of known addresses for just this reason.  Occassionally they strike gold.  With a bunch of new MPs to include in mailings, these sorts of things can happen. If the conferencing details were sent by email, such an error could send a message to the wrong people.

 At a minimum it is sleazy. 

remind remind's picture

As ottawaobserver noted in another thread it was a caucus meeting, they are private and not open to invitation to those outside the NDP caucus. Moreover, no Bloc MP's would have been invited, so their is the first indication of the CPC lies.

They want to manage the intial message so people discontinue listening to the actual facts, believing they have heard them already. It needs to go viral that the CPC broke at minimum privacy rights.

NDP considers legal action after Tories tape private meeting

 As someone noted in response tothe linked article above:

even if you were invited taping and distributing the meeting without
the consent of all the partipants or at least without a disclaimer at
the beginning of the meeting that the meeting will be taped and may be
distributed to the media is definitely unethical and probably illegal.

The Globe also closed comments after 3, Unbelievable!



"watching the tide roll away"


Avoid the bait, Harper is already cornered:

"I don't disagree that it's
unethical to tape and leak it to the media even if you were invited to
listen in on the proceedings. And if you were not invited, there is
definitely a cause to pursue an investigation since wiretapping still
remains illegal. But word of advice: any actions the NDP take with
respect to the legality of obtaining the tape or the ethical bankruptcy
in distributing it, should be undertaken quietly and after the Harper
government has been toppled. If their actions were criminal, the crime
won't go away.

The media will be more than thrilled to have a
scandal to focus on and will have a field day over some “wintergate” or
“coldgate” event. Such a focus would detract from the current
impression that the opposition parties are committed to making
government work for Canadians while the Conservatives are not.

is going back to his Rovian book of dirty tactics. But this time I
think most Canadians are more likely to see them as signs of
desperation. We don’t need to hurl accusations of illegal wiretapping
to bring Harper and his Conservatives down. Demonstrating that the
opposition parties have no recourse but to lose confidence in Harper’s
ability to govern is key."