Viral campaign fights Canadian "online spying" legislation

All summer long, a Vancouver-based group of open-Internet activists has been raising concerns about "lawful access" legislation expected to be pushed through Parliament this fall.

Now, OpenMedia.ca is hoping a set of viral videos will galvanize the public to speak out against the Conservative government's reforms.

According to the group, the proposed electronic-surveillance laws would essentially allow federal authorities to spy on your online activities without a warrant.

OpenMedia is hosting an online petition against the legislation. The petition argues:

We oppose mandatory Internet surveillance. This scheme is poorly thought out, costly, and will leave our personal information less secure. Unchecked mass surveillance is a breach of our fundamental right to privacy.

So far, the petition has been signed more than 53,000 times.

You can follow Stephen Hui on Facebook and Twitter.

Comments (4) Add New Comment
BUTT HEAD
It's the Neo-Con agenda now that they were given a majority by the Vote split on the left (to the NDP et al) they will do as they please.

US Far Right Wing Republican / Tea Party whacko type policies will be rolled out.

Corporations first (the draconian US style copyright bill) etc.

- Private Mega Prisons for Profit

- Warrant less Surveillance + Arrest + Jail (3 days).

Yes you can be imprisoned for at least 3 days without cause, reason, warrant and or recourse, lawfully :).

That's what is coming this fall in the next few weeks.

The Neo-Cons DON"T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT PETITIONS.

You might as well Petition Communist Russia or China.

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brodie31k
It is my understanding that the warrantless aspects of this new legislation are restricted to looking up information about an internet user, not being able to intercept those communications.

For example, if I sent you an e-mail, or wrote this post "anonymously", the police would be able to look up who I am without a warrant.

This is very different then being able to READ my e-mail without a warrant, which is what above videos depict.

There are legitimate concerns about the new legislation, but overly simplifying and exaggerating the new abilities do nothing to help the situation.

With technical issues such as this one it is very easy to confuse and misdirect, advocates have a responsibility to be honest and factual.

Please correct me if my understanding is incorrect.
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T. Ruth Sayer
@brodie31k
It is my understanding that the warrantless aspects of this new legislation are restricted to looking up information about an internet user, not being able to intercept those communications.

That remains to be seen. That is what allegedly was in the previous Bills C-50, C-51 and C-52. Now that the Conservatives have their majority, they may not feel quite as constrained as they did when they were a minority government.


For example, if I sent you an e-mail, or wrote this post "anonymously", the police would be able to look up who I am without a warrant.

This is very different then being able to READ my e-mail without a warrant, which is what above videos depict.


Yes and no. I think you are perhaps underestimating the power of traffic analysis as a tool. Furthermore, there are ways to prevent one's email or web traffic from being surveilled, with or without a warrant. The irony is that the criminals (and the technically-savvy) will retain their privacy, while the bulk of the law-abiding populace will not.


There are legitimate concerns about the new legislation, but overly simplifying and exaggerating the new abilities do nothing to help the situation.

I disagree. People have to be motivated to take action against these egregious potential abuses of power. Furthermore, while you may be right about them not being able to read one's email without a warrant -- for now -- that may not always be true in future. Once the surveillance apparatus is in place, who is to say how it will be used in future?

With technical issues such as this one it is very easy to confuse and misdirect, advocates have a responsibility to be honest and factual.

Normally I would agree with you; however, this time, I think we have to give the advocates of freedom and privacy a little license. We honestly don't know what is going to be in that Omnibus Bill, and we have already seen just how concerned the Conservative government was with civil liberties during the G8/G20 in Toronto. We have absolutely NO reason to trust this government, especially with something as precious as our civil liberties. Let's not forget, once the surveillance infrastructure is installed, like most telecom infrastructure, it will persist for decades. It will be there long after the Conservative government is only a bad memory.

Even assuming for the moment that you're a Conservative supporter, and that you trust Stephen Harper not to abuse this system, what about future governments? Would you trust the Liberals or the NDP with this type of power? That is why I think a little license is justified -- because once this surveillance apparatus is installed, it will be used by whatever government comes into power in the future. Once installed, NO government is going to rip this surveillance hardware out. That is why it needs to be nipped in the bud before it goes any further.

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lee kenney
some where over the rain bow ,BIG brother will be watching you!Do you really think that this is going to make life safer,after all this is a government elected on accountability,integrity and ethics?
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