Press release

Trans-Pacific Partnership countries announce agreement reached, posing serious threat to global Internet users

Largest and most secretive agreement in the world’s history covers 40% of global trade and contains provisions to censor the Internet and rob the public domain

October 5, 2015 – The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement reached today comes as the result of over five years of negotiations and poses an extreme threat to free expression online.

Although the full text of the deal won’t be available for a month, recent leaks of the TPP’s Intellectual Property chapter show Canada faces an overhaul of copyright legislation, including: 20 year copyright term extensions, new provisions that would allow ISPs to block websites due to alleged infringement, and new criminal penalties for the circumvention of digital locks and rights management information.

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Margaret Atwood teams up with Paul Haggis, Dan Mangan, and over 200 Canadian artists to send message to party leaders about C-51’s attack on free expression

Artists, writers, musicians, and film-makers including Mark Achbar, Hayden, Raffi, Thomas King, and John Dunsworth from the Trailer Park Boys, warn that C-51 will “silence dissenting voices” and announce “we will be voting for the repeal of C-51”

September 28, 2015 A group of over 200 Canadian artists, led by acclaimed author Margaret Atwood, are speaking out against Bill C-51. In an open letter published this morning by Maclean’s, the artists warn that the legislation “directly attacks the creative arts and free expression in this country”. The group is speaking out just weeks before an election likely to decide the fate of the spying bill.

Signatories include film-makers like Mark Achbar, Paul Haggis (two-time Oscar-winning director of Million Dollar Baby fame), and Brett Gaylor; Musicians like Dan Mangan, Hot Hot Heat, Hannah Epperson, Hayden, and Raffi; authors like Margaret Atwood, Cory Doctorow, Thomas King, Judy Rebick, and Antonia Zerbisias; and actors like John Dunsworth (renowned for playing Mr Lahey on the Trailer Park Boys).

In the letter, Margaret Atwood and her co-signatories write that Bill C-51 “allows the government to silence dissenting voices without oversight or accountability.” They go on to state that, “This election we will be voting to protect our artistry, our rights, and our freedoms: we will be voting for the repeal of C-51. We hope you will join us in ensuring that all Canadians are no longer subject to the chilling effects of C-51 and targeted by government censorship.”

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Topics: Online Spying

Massive B.C. Privacy Breach underlines risks of government using C-51 to collect and store our private info

September 23, 2015: A massive data breach in British Columbia has left millions of British Columbians worried about whether their private educational records have been exposed. The government announced last night that it had lost track of an unencrypted drive containing the records, which include deeply personal information about mental health and substance abuse.

Privacy advocates say the loss underlines the risk of empowering the government to store large quantities of our personal information in centralized, insecure databases. Bill C-51 enabled spy agency CSIS to systematically collect and store Canadians’ private information from a wide range of government departments, despite warnings from the federal Privacy Commissioner.

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Topics: Online Spying

Elizabeth May becomes first party leader to endorse OpenMedia’s pro-Internet Action Plan

Digital rights group is calling on all political parties and candidates to endorse pro-Internet plan crowdsourced from over 250,000 Canadians

September 15, 2015 – Green Party leader Elizabeth May has become the first party leader to endorse OpenMedia’s crowdsourced pro-Internet action plan. In an open letter to OpenMedia published this morning, Ms. May promised to completely repeal Bill C-51, end mass surveillance, and ensure all Canadians have affordable access to the Internet.

OpenMedia is now calling on all political parties and candidates to endorse the proposals set out in its plan, which was crowdsourced from over 250,000 people. The digital rights group also launched a new tool this morning to enable Canadians in all 338 ridings to send the plan to their local candidates.

“We’re excited by Elizabeth May’s endorsement, and I hope she’s the first of many party leaders and candidates to sign on to these common sense proposals,” said OpenMedia’s executive director Steve Anderson. “For years, we’ve been held back by spiralling Internet costs, copyright abuses, and reckless and expensive spying. With over 250,000 Canadians shaping a positive alternative to our broken digital policies, it’s time to put residents of Canada in the driver’s seat and for every party to get with the plan. It’s time to do politics differently in this country.”

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Over 250,000 people shape action plan to save the Internet

Digital rights group OpenMedia releases comprehensive election platform packed with ideas crowdsourced from Canadians

August 27, 2015 – It's as if the entire city of London Ontario banded together to save the Internet. Shaped by more than 250,000 people and launching today, Canada's Digital Future is a crowd-sourced election platform packed with ideas from everyday citizens. It’s an initiative of digital rights group Openmedia, which is urging people to consider Canada's digital future when casting their vote this election.

While OpenMedia won’t be endorsing any political party, it does plan to meet the main parties and report back as to which are most committed to implementing its platform. Thousands of people have already pledged to vote for the future of the Internet in the upcoming election.

“Whether it’s telecom price-gouging, reckless spying legislation, or abusive copyright notices, failed digital policies are hurting Canadians,” said OpenMedia’s communications manager David Christopher. “Young people in particular are speaking up for a better way forward, because Canada can’t afford to keep falling behind our international counterparts. That’s why this election will be the most important Canadian Internet users have ever faced.”

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OpenMedia criticizes police push for warrantless access to private Internet subscriber data

OpenMedia criticizes police push for warrantless access to private Internet subscriber data

OpenMedia is extremely concerned by the proposal put forward by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police that would make it far easier for police to access Canadians’ online records without a warrant. The police proposal flies in the face of a landmark pro-privacy ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada last year.

Yesterday it was reported that police want expedited warrantless access to Canadians’ private Internet subscriber data, proposing three different options that would see them receive information about any Canadian from their telecommunications companies without judicial oversight or accountability.

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Topics: Online Spying

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