Thousands of innocent Canadian air travellers monitored and spied on by the government - full independent inquiry urgently needed, says OpenMedia.ca
January 30, 2014
This is the latest in a long line of damaging revelations about how CSEC (Communications Security Establishment Canada) is undermining democracy at home, while recklessly damaging important overseas relationships. OpenMedia.ca, which is leading a sustained nationwide campaign against illegal CSEC spying, says the news confirms its worst fears about how the government is actively spying on innocent Canadians.
Earlier this week, the federal Privacy Commissioner published a detailed report, recommending specific measures to start reining in CSEC and to better protect Canadians’ privacy from government spies. The government has so far refused to commit to implementing these recommendations.
“This bombshell development unequivocally confirms that this government has been spying and tracking the location of law-abiding Canadians,” says OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson. “Until today, the government has been hiding behind their claim that CSEC was not spying on us. Now, we know the truth - this reckless government spy agency has been caught red-handed invading the privacy of thousands of law-abiding Canadians.”
Anderson continued: “We need to set up a transparent independent inquiry led by a cross-party Parliamentary committee so that Canadians can get the answers we need to stop this online spying once and for all. CSEC’s activities amount to a serious abuse of power and an attack on the foundations of Canadian democracy. Tonight’s fresh revelations are just the latest in a long line of reminders that CSEC is effectively out of control, and is carrying out actions that almost no Canadian would agree with.”
“We’re wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on a bloated spy bureaucracy that is putting our sensitive information at risk. In recent years 750,000 have already had their sensitive data breached by government authorities. CSEC’s out of control spying activities is only going to make this bad situation worse.”
Late last year, CSEC was revealed to have spied on the private communications of Brazil’s important mining and industry ministry, prompting Brazil’s president to denounce Canada on Twitter. CSEC was also shown to have facilitated a massive, illegal U.S. spying operation on Canadian soil during the Toronto G-20 summit, and to have been spying on Canadian trading partners at the behest of the U.S.
Last October, OpenMedia.ca joined with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) to announce a court challenge that aims to stop all illegal government spying against Canadians. Both OpenMedia.ca and the BCCLA are also working with over 40 major Canadian organizations in the Protect our Privacy Coalition to demand effective legal measures to protect Canadians’ privacy from government spies.
CSEC has an annual budget of over $420 million, and taxpayers will be on the hook for over $4 billion to build and operate a new CSEC headquarters, described by the CBC as “the most expensive government building ever built” and as a “spy palace”.
Over 27,000 Canadians have pledged their support to OpenMedia.ca’s campaign aimed at stopping all illegal spying on Canadians, with more signing on every day at http://OurPrivacy.ca
OpenMedia.ca is a network of people and organizations working to safeguard the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy.
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.
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.
Earlier this year, OpenMedia.ca launched its Secret Spying campaign, to demand answers and immediate action from the government after it was revealed that a secretive government agency has been spying on the telephone and Internet activities of individuals, including law-abiding Canadians.
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.
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca
- New Snowden docs show U.S. spied during G20 in Toronto. Source: CBC News
- Five highlights from the Canada-Brazil spying revelations. [Source: The Globe and Mail]
- Privacy watchdog on spy agency’s data collection: ‘We want to find out more’. [Source: CBC News.mail.com/news/politics/privacy-watchdog-on-spy-agencys-data-collection-we-want-to-find-out-more/article12459998/">The Globe And Mail]
- Canada’s spy agency may have illegally targeted Canadians: watchdog. [Source: National Post]
- Inside Canada's top-secret billion-dollar spy palace. [Source: CBC News]
- Data breach protocols deficient in 9 federal departments, watchdog finds. - [Source: CBC News]
- Lawful Access back on the agenda this Fall? - Michael Geist.
- The secretive CSEC agency has a staff of more than 2,000 and a budget of about $400 million. [Source: CBC News]
- Surveillance expert Ron Deibert on the threat spy agencies pose for citizens.
- Internet Law expert Michael Geist on why Canadians should be concerned about government spying.
- Privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart says there are significant concerns about the scope of information that CSEC are reported to collect. [Source: CBC News]
- 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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