Press release

Massive government privacy breach of famous Canadians shows urgent need for far stronger protections to safeguard Canadians’ data

High-profile figures including Margaret Atwood and Jean Chretien among the victims of latest in a long string of government privacy breaches affecting over 725,000 of us


November 25, 2014 – Highly personal information about the financial and tax affairs of hundreds of prominent Canadians was handed by the government to a CBC journalist, according to a CBC report out today.

High-profile figures including author Margaret Atwood and former prime minister Jean Chretien were among the victims. Responding to the news, says this underlines the need for far stronger safeguards to protect the private lives of all Canadians. communications manager David Christopher said: “If famous Canadians can have their senstive information leaked by the government then we all have reason to worry. It’s no wonder that everyday Canadians just don’t trust the government’s reckless approach to their privacy. Canadians entrust hugely sensitive and private information to the government, and they expect that trust to be respected. It is absolutely appalling that deeply revealing financial information can be handed to a journalist by the government’s tax agency.”

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Topics: Online Spying

Government’s Facebook mass spying plan will further erode privacy of law-abiding Canadians

Media reports this morning have revealed that the federal government is building an expansive Social Media Monitoring system to collect, store, and analyze what Canadians say on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

The report in Motherboard suggests this system will feature “real-time monitoring and analysis of social media content including Twitter, Facebook, blogs, chatrooms, message boards, social networks and video and image sharing websites”. Responding to the news, communications manager David Christopher said:

“When people post on Facebook they believe they’re sharing with their family and friends. They certainly don’t want everything they say to be tracked, stored, and analyzed by faceless government bureaucrats in Ottawa.” Read more »

Topics: Online Spying

President Obama's call for strong rules against Internet slow lanes a positive sign for Internet users around the world

OpenMedia commends Obama’s commitment to strong rules that would protect the open Internet, including Canadian Internet users and businesses.

November 10, 2014 – This morning U.S. President Barack Obama released a decisive statement urging the FCC to use the strongest measures possible to ensure strong net neutrality rules in the U.S. that would keep the Internet an open playing field, stating “no service should be stuck in a ‘slow lane’ because it does not pay a fee.”

OpenMedia welcomes this strong statement from the President, as recent rumors reported in the Wall Street Journal suggested that the FCC was still considering rules allowing slow lanes online. In his statement, President Obama directly refers to Title II reclassification, a strong and enforceable approach that Internet freedom advocates - including OpenMedia - have been fighting to implement for the past year, saying: “I'm asking the FCC to classify Internet services under Title II of the law known as the Telecommunications Act.”

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First decision to come out of CRTC’s Let’s Talk TV consultation is a win for Canadians

November 6, 2014 – In response to this morning’s announcement by the CRTC regarding new rules that will allow Canadians to cancel or change their Internet, television, or telephone services without giving 30-day notice, Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish said,

“We are pleased to see that the first decision coming out of the CRTC’s Let’s Talk TV consultation is a positive step forward for Canadians. During the consultation, we spoke with thousands of Canadians who expressed their dissatisfaction with the lack of choice and flexibility in offerings from the Big Telecom providers. But now we’re able to move between service providers more easily without being penalized.”

Tabish continued, “The reason we won these new rules is because Canadians spoke out together. Last year, we were able to win similar rules for mobile phone users through the CRTC’s cell phone code of conduct. And now we’ve gotten them extended to wireline Internet, phone, and TV services. This is a significant step forward, but the CRTC still needs to take bold steps to ensure all Canadians can access a wider range of affordable independent options for telecom and media services.” Read more »

Big Telecom customer mistreatment is still running rampant, as official report confirms 11,340 complaints in just 12 months

CCTS Annual Report reveals sharp 74% rise in complaints about misleading wireless contracts. Bell and its subsidiaries accounted for over 40% of all telecom complaints.

November 4, 2014 – Mistreatment of Canadian telecom customers is still running rampant, according to official figures released today by the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS). The CCTS Annual Report revealed that unhappy Canadians complained 11,340 times last year about their telecom service, the 2nd highest total of the past five years.

The Big Three - Bell, Rogers, and Telus, along with their subsidiaries - accounted for 77% of all complaints, with Bell alone accounting for over 40% of the total. Independent providers received considerably fewer complaints - the largest, Wind Mobile, accounted for just 4.5% of all complaints.

“It’s ridiculous that Canadians are still at the receiving end of such appalling mistreatment from the telecom giants,” said Executive Director Steve Anderson. “This report makes clear that despite our sky high prices, Canadians are still experiencing some of the worst wireless service in the industrialized world.” Read more »

MPs should listen to Canadians and support Liberal bill to make spy agency CSEC more transparent and accountable to citizens

Privacy advocates hail Joyce Murray’s Private Members Bill as a step forward to boost transparency, oversight, and accountability for secretive spy agency CSEC

October 30, 2014 – Today, Members of Parliament will have an historic opportunity to start reining in Canada’s secretive spy agency CSEC (Communications Security Establishment Canada). Community-based is calling on MPs from all parties to throw their support behind a Private Members Bill proposed by Liberal MP Joyce Murray.

MPs are set to debate the bill in the House of Commons later today. Calls for reform have been growing since it was revealed earlier this year that CSEC had spied on thousands of law-abiding Canadian air travellers and tracked their precise movements around the world.

The CSEC Accountability and Transparency Act would give MPs stronger powers of oversight and review over CSEC’s activities. It would also improve CSEC’s public reporting obligations, and require the Minister responsible for CSEC to obtain a Federal Court order whenever there is a reasonable expectation that CSEC might collect the protected information of Canadians at home or abroad. Read more »

Topics: Online Spying

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