Canadians speak out following revelations that “millions” have had their income tax files illegally spied on

Government should be ashamed of its reckless handling of Canadians’ private data, says citizen-backed

Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart told the CBC she estimated “there've been millions of Canadians who have had their income tax files snooped into by somebody who had no business being there.” The Commissioner has made more than a dozen recommendations to ensure the government better protects the private information of Canadians.

Her 2012-13 Annual Report to Parliament revealed that privacy complaints have almost doubled and that incidents of lost and stolen data had reached record numbers. The Privacy Commissioner also highlighted how the government broke the law by spying on the private online activity of child welfare advocate Cindy Blackstock. The government monitored her personal social media profiles while also gathering private information about her friends and family.

“Millions of us have had our private information illegally spied on and it’s no wonder that Canadians are outraged by this news”, says Executive Director Steve Anderson.“It seems like this government just doesn’t care about protecting Canadians’ privacy. Whether it’s spying on our tax returns, losing our personal information in data breaches, or engaging in secretive and out-of-control surveillance, this government is putting our private data at risk, and spending extravagant amounts of our money to do so.”

“We know that Canadians care deeply about their privacy and that’s why we recently formed the largest pro-privacy coalition in Canadian history. Privacy is not a partisan issue and so we’re working with groups from right across the political spectrum to call for strong, transparent, and enforceable safeguards to secure our privacy rights. It’s time for the government to listen to Canadians and show respect for our privacy.”

Canadians are speaking out at to call for effective legal measures to protect the privacy of every resident of Canada against intrusion by government entities. Thousands are also calling on the government to stop illegal spying against law-abiding Canadians at

About 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 and, has engaged over half-a-million Canadians, and has influenced public policy and federal law.

About’s privacy campaign led the successful 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, 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 collaborated with over 35 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. and the BC Civil Liberties Association announced recently they will work together to put a stop to unlawful government surveillance against law-abiding Canadians. has launching a national campaign calling on all Canadians to show their support for a BCCLA court challenge against unlawful government surveillance of law-abiding Canadians.



David Christopher
Communications Coordinator,
[email protected]

More Information

  • Privacy watchdog on spy agency’s data collection: ‘We want to find out more’. [Source: 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.

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