Canadians outraged by fresh revelations of potential spying on their sensitive private information by government spy agency
Canadians are demanding answers from the government and an immediate stop to all programs of arbitrary online spying, says citizen-backed OpenMedia.ca
CSEC is forbidden by law to spy on Canadians, no matter where they are in the world. CSEC is also forbidden to spy on individuals in Canada. The government’s own Privacy Commissioner’s office has already said it wants to “find out more” about CSEC’s activities and is conducting its own investigation into whether CSEC is illegally spying on Canadians.
Citizen-backed Internet freedom organization OpenMedia.ca says the government must immediately come clean about the full extent of CSEC’s spying on the private Internet activities of Canadian residents.
Executive Director of OpenMedia.ca Steve Anderson says: “Through our campaign at SecretSpying.ca Canadians have been asking the government to come clean on the secret spying activities of CSEC for months – and now we know for sure that there's ample reason for serious concern. We’re talking about secret spying on the private lives of anyone, at any time and we can’t even tell when we’ve been victimized by it."
Anderson continues: "We deserve to know if our sensitive private information is being recklessly collected and stored in giant databases, and why. Canadians want an immediate stop to any programs of indiscriminate and arbitrary warrantless online spying."
OpenMedia.ca is also calling on Canadian telecom companies to make clear whether they are involved in facilitating agencies like CSEC to spy on the private Internet activities of Canadian residents. The concern comes in the light of the role a number of telecom companies played in co-operating with the government’s warrantless access proposals during the Bill C-30 debate.
Thousands of Canadians are speaking out at SecretSpying.ca to call on the government to make public the details of Canadian foreign intelligence agencies’ activities, and to demand a stop to any programs of indiscriminate and arbitrary online spying.
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.
Communications Coordinator, OpenMedia.ca
About the Secret Spying Campaign
The Secret Spying campaign brings together a group of organizations focused on civil liberties, pro-democracy, privacy rights, and open access to the Internet. The campaign, which was launched in June of this year, is demanding 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.
Groups who are part of the campaign include include Amnesty International Canada, the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA), the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (BCFIPA), Council of Canadians, International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, Leadnow, OpenMedia.ca, Privacy & Access Council of Canada, the Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Association, and the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC). OpenMedia.ca worked with many of these same organizations to host the StopSpying.ca campaign that successfully defeated the government’s online spying bill C-30.
- Canada’s spy agency may have illegally targeted Canadians within the last year. Source: National Post.
- Annual Report 2012-13 of the Communications Security Establishment Commissoner.
- 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.