70,000+ Strong Petition Sways Government Plan

Canadians Celebrate as Online Surveillance Provisions Excluded from Omnibus Crime Bill

September 20, 2011 – Under the intense pressure of a 70,000+ signature petition, the government has omitted “Lawful Access” (Online Spying) bills from the larger omnibus crime legislation announced today.

The legislation—which would introduce costly, petition and public education campaign—Stop Online Spying—which brought citizens together to join in the outcry from civil liberties groups, businesses, academics, and every Canadian privacy commissioner. Over 70,000 Canadians have signed the petition and the campaign’s citizen-made PSA videos have been viewed over 86,000 times in just a few days.

“After months spent decrying the bills as invasive, costly, and poorly thought out the government’s move to remove warrantless electronic surveillance from the omnibus is a clear step forward,” says Steve Anderson, executive director of OpenMedia.ca, the coordinating organization behind the Stop Online Spying coalition.
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“This online spying plan is poorly thought-out and would could cost Canadian Internet users and businesses millions. We’re pleased to hear that the online spying bills will receive proper scrutiny in the House of Commons,” continues Anderson. “This is the first step in the government fixing this legislation—now we need to put in privacy safeguards and ensure our data is safe and that the financial burden on Canadians is as minimal as possible”

“This is a victory for Canadians,” says Vincent Gogolek of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association. “The government has been forced to listen to the 8 in 10 Canadians who are against online spying, and to the many experts - including every provincial privacy commissioner - who have pointed to the many serious problems with this radical approach. We look forward to the government finally making its case for why it wants these extraordinary powers and why we should all pay for them."

Graeme Norton of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association also spoke about the bills: “Decoupling the government’s controversial cyber-surveillance enhancements from the omnibus bill is a step in the right direction. These powers are very complex and have not received anything close to the level of Parliamentary scrutiny that they deserve. Hopefully the government will now heed the warnings of Canada’s Privacy Commissioners and many concerned citizens, and either abandon these proposals or bring them more in line with the privacy expectations of most Canadians.”

About OpenMedia.ca

OpenMedia.ca is a non-partisan, non-profit public engagement organization working to advance and support an open and innovative communications system in Canada. Our primary goal is to increase informed participation in Internet governance.

About the Stop Online Spying Coalition

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 70,000 Canadians have signed the Stop Online Spying petition at http://stopspying.ca



Lindsey Pinto
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca

More Information

Stop Online Spying petition homepage

Stop Online Spying public education campaign

Survey indicates vast majority of Canadians oppose warrantless online spying

Globe and Mail: Conservative majority would hustle crime bills into law all at once

Joint letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper from academics and public interest organizations

NDP MPs Angus & Sandhu write to Toews: Online spying bills are "disturbing"

Letter to Public Safety Canada from Canada's Privacy Commissioners and Ombudspersons on the current 'Lawful Access' proposals

More links: http://openmedia.ca/stopspying/resources#links


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