Government spying on law-abiding public figures is tearing apart the fabric of our democracy, says OpenMedia following new revelations
July 8, 2014
The article revealed that:
- The NSA targeted over 7,400 email addresses for in-depth surveillance, 202 of which were explicitly identified as belonging to U.S. citizens.
- The Americans targeted by the NSA for surveillance came from a variety of backgrounds, and held diverse political views. Among the targets was Faisal Gill, a former Navy officer who stood as a candidate for the U.S. Republican Party in Virginia and worked in the George W. Bush White House.
- Also targeted was Rutgers University Professor Hooshang Amirahmadi and former California State University Professor Agha Saeed.
- Other victims include Nihad Awad, the head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest Muslim-American civil rights group in the U.S.
The news comes on the heels of recent revelations from the Washington Post, which showed that NSA spying operations intercept far more data from innocent people than from targeted individuals. The daily lives of over 10,000 innocent people were tracked and catalogued extensively, including intimate details of their personal lives.
“Tonight’s revelations prove what we’ve long suspected - that our spy agencies are running hugely invasive and reckless surveillance operations against their own citizens,” says OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson. “This kind of spying tears at the very fabric of our democracy and we’re already seeing how it can affect law-abiding citizens in their daily lives. Clearly government spying operations are out-of-control and must be reined in.”
Anderson continued: “Sadly, here in Canada the government is actually in the midst of ramming through Bill C-13, legislation that would increase warrantless surveillance of innocent Canadians and which the Supreme Court has just said is likely unconstitutional. There are reports of sensitive private information being collected on law-abiding Canadians without their knowledge and then distributed to employers without their consent. This is a daily concern for many people now. Thanks to this government we have a growing privacy deficit despite the fact that Canadians are increasingly concerned about their data security. The Conservatives are quickly turning into the anti-privacy party, and it’s time for them to change course”
Canadians are asking questions about the extent of CSEC’s involvement with NSA spying operations, given the long history of close cooperation between CSEC and the NSA, and recently revealed proof that CSEC spied on thousands of innocent Canadian air travellers. OpenMedia.ca, which is leading a huge non-partisan coalition calling for greater privacy protections, says the government needs to come clean about how many Canadians have been swept up in CSEC databases.
OpenMedia.ca has been working with over 50 major organizations in the Protect our Privacy Coalition to demand effective legal measures to safeguard Canadians’ privacy from government spies. The BC Civil Liberties Association, a coalition member, has also launched a constitutional challenge that aims to put a stop to all illegal government spying on Canadians.
CSEC has over 2000 employees and an annual budget of over $420 million. Taxpayers are spending over $4 billion to build and operate a lavish new CSEC headquarters, which the CBC has described as a “spy palace” and as “the most expensive government building ever built”.
Over 40,000 people have pledged their support to Privacy Coalition calls for new legislation to protect citizens’ privacy from government spying, with more signing on every day at http://OurPrivacy.ca
OpenMedia.ca is an award-winning community-based organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy by engaging hundreds of thousands of people in protecting our online rights.
Through campaigns such as StopTheMeter.ca and StopSpying.ca, OpenMedia.ca has engaged over half-a-million Canadians, and has influenced public policy and federal law.
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca
About OpenMedia.ca’s privacy campaign
OpenMedia.ca led the successful StopSpying.ca campaign that forced the government to back down on its plans to introduce a costly, invasive, and warrantless online spying law (Bill C-30). Nearly 150,000 Canadians took part in the campaign. To learn more, see this infographic.
On October 10, 2013 OpenMedia.ca collaborated with over 40 major organizations and over a dozen academic experts to form the Protect Our Privacy Coalition, which is the largest pro-privacy coalition in Canadian history. The Coalition is calling for effective legal measures to protect the privacy of every resident of Canada against intrusion by government entities.
OpenMedia.ca and the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) recently announced they will work together to put a stop to illegal government surveillance against law-abiding Canadians. OpenMedia.ca has launched a national campaign encouraging Canadians to support a BCCLA legal action which aims to stop illegal spying by challenging the constitutionality of the government’s warrantless collection of data on Canadians’ everyday Internet use.
- Bill C-13 would let authorities obtain private information without a warrant. Source: Michael Geist
- Supposed “cyberbullying” legislation will erode the privacy of Canadians. Source: OpenMedia.ca
- Canada's Lawful Access Bill Appears to Have Contained a Provision to Enable PRISM-Style Surveillance Source: Michael Geist
- Lawful Access back on the agenda this Fall? - Michael Geist.
- Data breach protocols deficient in 9 federal departments, watchdog finds. - [Source: CBC News]
- Internet Law expert Michael Geist on why Canadians should be concerned about government spying.
- In this article, The Globe and Mail describes the revelations about Canadian government spying as “disturbing and unacceptable”
- This document, obtained by The Globe through Access to Information, shows how Minister MacKay authorized a top secret program to data-mine global ‘metadata’ in 2011.
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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