Civil liberties, pro-democracy, privacy rights, and open Internet groups call for answers on secret government spying program

A group of organizations focused on civil liberties, pro-democracy, privacy rights, and open access to the Internet have joined to together to demand answers and immediate action from the government after it was revealed that a secretive government agency has been spying on the telephone and Internet activities of individuals, including law-abiding Canadians.

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The groups say Canadians deserve clear answers from the government to a number of important questions:

  • What are the scope and parameters of CSEC's domestic surveillance activities? Do these approach the indiscriminate scope of the NSA under comparable powers?
  • What is the extent to which Canadians are incidentally or otherwise captured in CSEC's surveillance activities? Specifically, how many individuals, including law-abiding Canadians, have had their information collected as a result of CSEC's surveillance programs?
  • What is the scope of the government’s information sharing activities with foreign partners? Does CSEC have the same type of access to NSA portals such as PRISM as its UK counterpart, GCHQ, reportedly has?
  • Will the government restrict CSEC’s powers to ensure that the use of these powers is subject to public debate and that individuals can generally be aware of the conditions under which their communications and activities might be surveilled?
  • Will the government curtail the overly broad and indiscriminate powers granted to CSEC in the past decade, so that they can only be used against individuals reasonably suspected of wrongdoing?

Canadians can send the government a clear message to keep our private lives private by signing this petition at: http://SecretSpying.ca

About OpenMedia.ca

OpenMedia.ca is a network of people and organizations working to safeguard the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy.

Through campaigns such as DemandChoice.caStopTheMeter.ca and StopSpying.ca, OpenMedia.ca has engaged over half-a-million Canadians, and has influenced public policy and federal law.

OpenMedia.ca lead the related StopSpying.ca campaign that defeated the government’s online spying Bill C-30. For more see this infographic:

More Information

  • The secretive CSEC agency has a staff of more than 2,000 and a budget of about $400 million. [Source: CBC News]
  • Surveillance expert Ron Deibert on the threat spy agencies pose for citizens.
  • Internet Law expert Michael Geist on why Canadians should be concerned about government spying.
  • Privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart says there are significant concerns about the scope of information that CSEC are reported to collect. [Source: CBC News]
  • In this article, The Globe and Mail describes the revelations about Canadian government spying as “disturbing and unacceptable”
  • This document, obtained by The Globe through Access to Information, shows how Minister MacKay authorized a top secret program to data-mine global ‘metadata’ in 2011.

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