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Digital Privacy Act does almost nothing to tackle central privacy concern for Canadians: reckless and expensive government surveillance

Incoherent for government to advance protections on commercial privacy, while at same time advancing Bill C-13 which would throw door open to widespread government surveillance of law-abiding Canadians

The proposals announced this morning by Minister Moore will go some way to safeguarding Canadians privacy from threats such as having their personal information lost or stolen while shopping online. However the proposed bill appears to do little to tackle the foremost privacy issue of the day -- the dragnet government surveillance of law-abiding Canadians and widespread government breaches of our sensitive information.

Canada’s spy agency CSEC was recently caught red-handed spying on thousands of innocent Canadian air travellers and tracking their movements for weeks. In recent years there have been over 3,000 breaches of sensitive citizen data, affecting approximately 725,000 of us.

“There are some positive measures here but this proposal also serves as a distraction from the government’s reckless surveillance of law-abiding residents of Canada,” says OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson. “The measures announced today will do little to protect the thousands of Canadians who have had their privacy invaded by government spies, nor the hundreds of thousands who have had their information breached by the government in recent years. This government is wasting billions of taxpayer dollars to spy on us and has refused to rein in CSEC despite millions of Canadians, including many grassroots Conservatives, saying mass surveillance is unacceptable.”

Anderson continued: “It’s also ridiculous for the government to be simultaneously advancing a bill that aims to protect privacy, alongside an Online Spying Bill that experts say will throw the door open to widespread government surveillance of law-abiding Canadians. James Moore claims he wants to protect Canadians from companies that invade their privacy - well he should have a word with Peter MacKay who wants to grant immunity to telecom companies who are handing our private information to the government on a massive scale without a warrant. More and more Canadians are recognizing that this government is bad on privacy issues -- the fact that this bill appears to be pointed in the wrong direction only reinforces that view.”

Canadians are already speaking up about Bill C-13, with a recent video launched by OpenMedia.ca going viral and making the top 2 posts on Reddit Canada. Over 34,000 have now joined the Protect Our Privacy Coalition which is calling for effective legal measures to protect Canadians’ privacy from government spies.

Canadians can join the Protect Our Privacy Coalition at http://OurPrivacy.ca

About OpenMedia.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.

Last October, OpenMedia.ca joined with over 50 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.



David Christopher Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca 1-778-232-1858 [email protected]

More Information

  • Parliament resumes debate on Online Spying Bill. Source
  • Hard-hitting video highlights how Bill C-13 would give immunity to telecom providers who hand over your information without a warrant. Source
  • 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. Take action now

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