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Release of first batch of security consultation submissions is big win for transparency, but litmus test will be how government responds

Submissions from 12,156 Canadians have been published online by Public Safety Canada, with remaining submissions expected to be made public in the coming weeks

February 15, 2017 Public Safety Canada has released a first batch of submissions from its recently concluded consultation on National Security. Submissions from 12,156 Canadians were published online this afternoon. Privacy advocates at OpenMedia have warmly welcomed the government’s move as a win for transparency, but warn that Canadians will ultimately judge the government on how it responds to this citizen input.

In December, the government promised to be transparent in informing Canadians about the results of the closely-watched consultation, following a joint letter from over 30 leading civil society organizations and privacy experts. All submissions received up to December 15 were published today, with the remainder expected to be made public in the coming weeks.

“We applaud Public Safety Canada on taking this significant step for transparency,” said Victoria Henry, digital rights specialist with OpenMedia. “However the real test for the government will be in how it analyzes, interprets, and ultimately responds to the concerns expressed by the tens of thousands of participants in this consultation.”

Henry continued: “Recent events, such as the Trump administration’s decision to strip all privacy rights from Canadians’ personal information, have made it even more important to get this consultation right. All of us deserve to see the complete repeal of Bill C-51 and strong privacy rules to keep us safe from surveillance — and that’s the standard we’ll be holding this government to.”

OpenMedia remains concerned that the consultation wording was skewed toward the narrow interests of police rather than the privacy needs of Canadians, and is now planning to work with its community to analyze the results.

OpenMedia facilitated over 15,000 submissions from Canadians to the national security consultation, through tools such as SaveOurSecurity.ca and act.openmedia.org/security.

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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