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Government report on National Security consultation confirms Canadians are demanding a full repeal of Bill C-51

Responding to the government’s consultation loud and clear, Canadians call for robust privacy protections

May 22, 2017 This morning Public Safety Canada released its much-anticipated report summarizing the results of its national security consultation, and Bill C-51. The results confirmed what has long since become a familiar refrain – Canadians have significant concerns regarding privacy and government accountability with sensitive data, and are asking for C-51 to be completely repealed.

Although the government has demonstrated that it has overwhelming evidence that Canadians are deeply skeptical about almost every part of Bill C-51, its report does not address the big question about whether or not it will be repealed.

OpenMedia’s own crowdsourced analysis showed that over 88% of the first round of National Security Consultation submissions that mention Bill C-51 support its repeal.

Responding to today’s report, OpenMedia’s Digital Rights Specialist Victoria Henry, said:

“The results of this consultation are incredibly encouraging. Canadians spoke up loud and clear in support of strong privacy and security. But this report states the obvious, and what we’ve known all along — Canadians did not want C-51, and are still awaiting its repeal. All eyes turn to Minister Goodale now to see if and when repeal legislation will actually be introduced.”

Henry continued, “This consultation has given the government its mandate: stand up for privacy. Now it’s time for the government to get it right — not only to correct the mistakes of previous administrations by repealing Bill C-51, but to actually step up and provide Canadians with the strong privacy protections we all want and deserve.”

Highlights from the report:

  • A clear majority of participants oppose giving government the capacity to intercept personal communications, even if a court authorizes the interception, and oppose any moves to weaken encryption technology.

  • The vast majority of responses — more than four in five — show that the expectation of privacy in the digital world is the same as or higher than in the physical world.

  • More than two-thirds of online responses called for increased safeguards, including greater oversight — preferably by a third party — to ensure that Canadians’ Charter rights and freedoms are always protected.

  • Most online responses (68%) opposed imposing a legal requirement on domestic communications service providers to keep telecommunications data for a specified period so it can be made available (with court authorization) to law enforcement and national security agencies to help with investigations.

As a part of the consultation process, OpenMedia has been crowdsourcing its own analysis of on the consultation submissions at crowdsourcec51.ca.

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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