Warrantless online spying legislation (“Lawful Access”) was introduced in Parliament today, opening the door to needless invasions of privacy for law-abiding Canadians. The bills would force Internet service providers to surrender the personal information of any Canadian at any time to authorities without court oversight—a move that public interest groups, legal experts, and privacy advocates say will fundamentally reshape the Internet in Canada.
After the Conservative government made its election-time promise to introduce the online spying bills, pro-Internet organization OpenMedia.ca joined with 42 other groups—including public interest organizations, online service providers, and independent media—to form the Stop Online Spying Coalition. Canada’s leading legal and privacy experts have also made their opposition to online spying clear in a mini-documentary about the bills.
“This move clearly does not represent the will of Canadians,” says OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson. “Over 80,000 people to-date have signed a petition at http://www.StopSpying.ca to protest these bills, and a survey from Canada’s Privacy Commissioner show that 83 percent of Canadians oppose warrantless surveillance measures. It’s clear to Canadians that these poorly thought-out bills would create surveillance that is warrantless, invasive, and costly to Canadians and to our digital economy.”
More than 100,000 Canadians have watched the citizen-made PSA-style videos, which were released earlier this fall as part of OpenMedia.ca’s public education campaign around the online spying bills. Pressure from Canadians forced the online spying bills out of the omnibus crime bill; Canadians argued that the bills, at minimum, deserve proper scrutiny.
Anderson adds: “Now more than ever, Canadians need to join together en masse and stand against these bills. We’re very concerned that the government plans to put the private information of law-abiding citizens into a giant unsecure data registry. It’s time for Canadians to talk to their MPs.”
Groups in the Stop Online Spying Coalition are calling on Canadians to ask their MPs to scrutinize the bills, and modify them to ensure Canadians’ privacy and financial security are protected. Canadians can email their MPs about the online spying bills at http://openmedia.ca/mp
OpenMedia.ca is a grassroots organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open and affordable Internet. The group works towards informed & participatory digital policy.
About the Stop Online Spying Campaign
The Stop Online Spying campaign is supported by a group of public interest organizations, civil liberties groups, businesses, and concerned academics that have come together to encourage the government to reconsider "Lawful Access" legislation. The group points out that this type of legislation enables warrantless surveillance that is invasive, excessive and costly. Over 80,000 Canadians have signed the Stop Online Spying petition at http://StopSpying.ca
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca
February 14, 2012