VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – As the Harper government is poised to bring back legislation that would give police easier access to what you do online, another privacy issue is being raised.

It deals with your cell phone.

“It’s a suitcase-sized device that essentially works as a cell phone tower so that all cell phones in the area will connect to it and then it will transmit the signals onto the nearest cell phone tower,” says BC Civil Liberties Association Executive Director David Eby.  “When it does that, it has access to text messages and also the unique identifiers to cell phones in the area.”

Eby says the person with the gadget can use that information to figure out who you are.

He is trying to figure out whether the RCMP and Vancouver Police Department are using it, but he hasn’t had much luck.

“We thought it would really be obvious that if the police were planning on a device like this, they’d want to engage in public conversation about whether this is appropriate or an invasion of privacy,” Eby says.  “Instead of getting a response ‘No, we have no intention of using the device’ or ‘yes, we are currently using the device,’ we simply got responses saying we’re not going to tell you either way.  That’s simply unacceptable.”

Eby fears the technology will be used to identify protesters or people who attend political meetings.

He’s raising his concerns as Government House Leader Peter Van Loan suggests the controversial Bill C-12 could come up for second-reading debate as soon as today.

The bill would make it easier for Internet service providers, email hosts and social media sites to voluntarily share personal information about customers with authorities.

It could also impose a gag on Internet companies that would prevent them from telling customers that their personal details have been shared.