October 10, 2013 | By Katitza Rodriguez

More Than 30 Organizations Unite To Safeguard Canadians’ Privacy Rights Amid Spy Agency Scandal

EFF is joining more than 30 major Canadian organizations to form the largest pro-privacy coalition in Canadian history. With the Canadian Parliament set to resume, the Protect Our Privacy Coalition has banded together to ensure Canadians get effective legal measures to protect their privacy against government intrusion.

The broad-based coalition includes organizations and individuals from a wide range of political perspectives, including citizen groups, civil liberties groups, privacy advocates, right-leaning organizations, First Nations groups, labour groups, small businesses, LGBT groups, and academic experts, all of whom have signed onto this statement:

More than ever, Canadians need strong, genuinely transparent, and properly enforced safeguards to secure privacy rights. We call on the [Canadian] Government to put in place effective legal measures to protect the privacy of every resident of Canada against intrusion by government entities.

Many coalition members are taking part in today’s Privacy and Access 20/20 Conference in Vancouver, where they will be discussing the need for stronger safeguards to protect Canadians' privacy. 

This morning's announcement comes amid growing concerns that Justice Minister MacKay will re-introduce draconian aspects of the government's failed online spying Bill C-30 in upcoming legislation. It also comes on the heels of a number of serious threats to Canadians’ privacy and recent revelations of blanket surveillance of law-abiding citizens by secretive spy agencies including Canada's CSEC and the U.S. NSA. The government’s own watchdog over CSEC has said Canadians' private information may be caught up in this spying.  

Coalition member Garry Neil, Executive Director of The Council of Canadians, says of Canada's increased surveillance: "We take our right to privacy for granted at our own risk, especially under the current government in Ottawa, which has looked for every excuse to collect, store and share with other countries increasing amounts of our personal information. In an atmosphere where groups such as the Council of Canadians, who are critical of the government's agenda or its policies, are considered 'enemies' of Canada, it is crucial that we come together across the country to fight to preserve and strengthen our privacy protections."

The coalition launch also comes just days after it was revealed that Canadian spy agency CSEC has been conducting invasive industrial espionage against Brazil on behalf of the NSA. These revelations have prompted concerns that Canada's relationship with Brazil—an important Latin American ally—could be irreparably damaged by CSEC’s secret activities.  Incidentally, CSEC is about to receive a new taxpayer-supported $900 million, 72,000-square-meter compound in Ottawa.

Canadians are invited to show their support for the coalition by adding their names at http://OurPrivacy.ca.


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