Federal Court judgement slams CSIS for violating privacy rights of Canadians
November 3, 2016
November 3, 2016 – The Federal Court of Canada has ruled that the Canadian Security and Intelligence Services (CSIS) has been illegally amassing and retaining large quantities of Canadians’ sensitive private information, including telecommunications metadata, for over 10 years. Justice Simon Noel ruled that CSIS should not have retained this information as it was not related to threats to the security of Canada.
The ruling eviscerated CSIS for its misuse of surveillance warrants and for keeping judges in the dark about its data retention practices. Responding to the ruling, OpenMedia’s communications manager David Christopher said:
“This ruling clearly shows that our current accountability mechanisms for CSIS are woefully insufficient. The fact that CSIS could go 10 years retaining large quantities of our sensitive private information, yet we're only finding out about this now – and only as a result of a court judgement – is hugely concerning. After today's ruling, the case for common sense measures to ensure accountability, transparency, and oversight of CSIS is stronger than ever.”
Christopher continued: “What’s worse, is that we’ve been moving in the wrong direction. The previous government abolished the CSIS Inspector-General, while also introducing a sweeping expansion of CSIS powers in Bill C-51. After today’s ruling, it’s clearer than ever that Bill C-51 must be fully repealed, and that we need a complete overhaul of our privacy safeguards to ensure they make sense in a digital age.”
Canada needs a review body modelled on SIRC that is adequately funded and empowered to fully review the human rights-impacting activities of all Canadian agencies, including CSE, CSIS, the RCMP, and CBSA.
Reinstating the office of the CSIS Inspector General
Creating a review body modelled on SIRC that is adequately funded and empowered to fully review the human rights-impacting activities of all Canadian agencies, including CSE, CSIS, the RCMP, and CBSA.
Cross-parliamentary oversight of all government agencies carrying out surveillance activities must be independent and premised on access to all information necessary for assessing the effectiveness and proportionality of such activities.
Repealing the expansion of powers for CSIS in Bill C-51. CSIS should not be given powers more suited to law enforcement.
Amending the CSIS Act to ensure that all CSIS activities must comply with the Charter, must not unduly impact on free expression, individual reputation, or privacy, and must not undermine the integrity of general communications networks.
Thousands of Canadians are calling on the government to repeal Bill C-51 and introduce strong privacy rules to keep us safe from surveillance at SaveOurSecurity.ca
OpenMedia works to keep the Internet open, affordable, and surveillance-free. We create community-driven campaigns to engage, educate, and empower people to safeguard the Internet.
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