Ottawa’s spying on Canadians has no place in a free society

If you’ve ever done anything that you don’t want to share with the world then you should be concerned.

Our sensitive private data is being collected and analyzed by government authorities on an industrial scale. Out-of-control spy agencies like Canada’s CSEC and the U.S. NSA don’t care if you’re a law-abiding citizen. They’ll collect your information anyway, to be stored in enormous databases that are vulnerable to cyber criminals and identity thieves.

Believe all this more rightly belongs in the realm of spy fiction than reality? I agree. Sadly our government really is engaged in mass surveillance of private citizens. The information they are collecting can be used to track everything from our personal relationships, to our religious beliefs, political affiliations, sexual orientation, financial status and medical conditions.

Spy agencies claim they don’t spy on their own citizens, but these assertions have been exposed as a tissue of lies. The CBC recently revealed how CSEC monitored the Internet activities and tracked the precise locations of thousands of law-abiding Canadian air travellers for weeks. If that’s not illegal it should be, and if CSEC lacks the moral compass to know tracking Canadians is wrong, then they obviously need to be reined in.

The government is abusing a loophole in the law to get at our private lives. Authorities are supposed to get a warrant to obtain our information, but they can avoid the warrant process entirely if a telecom provider voluntarily hands over our information, as happened over 784,756 times in just a one year period.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay is about to make this loophole much bigger. The online spying Bill C-13 Mackay is ramming through parliament will provide spying immunity to telecoms that provide direct access to databases of sensitive subscriber information. And here’s the kicker — you’re paying for this expanded spying. The government is slated to spend over $4 billion on a lavish CSEC “spy palace” that will be the most expensive government building in Canadian history.


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