Citizens' concerns reinforced by Privacy Commissioner letter about online spying

Letter to Toews from Office of the Privacy Commissioner condemns online spying bills

October 27, 2011 – The federal Privacy Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, sent another letter to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews today, warning him about the implications of the proposed online spying legislation. The letter touches on many of the points raised by pro-Internet organization OpenMedia.ca, which in partnership with the Stop Online Spying Coalition, hosts a 75,000-strong petition and public engagement campaign in opposition to online spying.

Stoddart cites the recent public discussion—the extensive conversations on social media, blogs, and in the news—about online spying as the reason for her renewed concerns. She writes, "Canadians expect their government to respect their fundamental rights and freedoms. [...] To date, Canadians have not been given sufficient justification for the new powers when other, less intrusive alternatives could be explored."

The government's own Privacy Commissioner has now sent multiple letters to Toews, and he has responded neither to those, nor to the joint letter from academics and public interest organizations in the Stop Online Spying Coalition. Toews has also failed to respond directly to the outcry from the tens of thousands of Canadians who have signed the petition at http://StopSpying.ca.

"The government clearly has no real justification for these poorly thought-out online spying bills," said Steve Anderson, OpenMedia.ca's Executive Director. "It is clear that Canadians' privacy rights are at stake, which is made all the worse by the fact that we'll have to foot the bill for new invasive surveillance infrastructure."

OpenMedia.ca and the Stop Online Spying coalition support Stoddart's call for strengthened oversight and reporting safeguards in the online spying bills.

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 75,000 Canadians have signed the Stop Online Spying petition at http://stopspying.ca

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Contact

Lindsey Pinto
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca
778-238-7710
lindsey@openmedia.ca

More Information

The Stop Online Spying Campaign
http://StopSpying.ca
http://openmedia.ca/educate
http://openmedia.ca/mp
http://openmedia.ca/screening

Survey indicates vast majority of Canadians oppose warrantless online spying
http://www.openmedia.ca/blog/survey-indicates-vast-majority-canadians-op...

Techvibes: OpenMedia's petition wins battle against online spying but the war is far from over
http://www.techvibes.com/blog/openmedias-petition-wins-battle-against-on...

Globe and Mail: Conservative majority would hustle crime bills into law all at once
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/conservative-majority-would...

Joint letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper from academics and public interest organizations
http://openmedia.ca/letter-prime-minister-stephen-harper-response-lawful...

NDP MPs Angus & Sandhu write to Toews: Online spying bills are "disturbing"
http://openmedia.ca/blog/ndp-mps-angus-sandhu-write-toews-online-spying-...

Letter to Public Safety Canada from Canada's Privacy Commissioners and Ombudspersons on the current 'Lawful Access' proposals
http://www.priv.gc.ca/media/nr-c/2011/let_110309_e.cfm

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

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