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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

No Government Online Surveillance...For Now

Here's why democracy is important: thanks to the actions of citizens like you and me, and especially the folks behind Open Media,  the federal government has withdrawn the online surveillance sections of their omnibus crime bill. The provisions would have forced internet service providers and cell phone companies to monitor their customers and hand over information about your online and mobile telephone activities to police - without a warrant. The implications of this are pretty scary, especially for creative types; I've exchanged story ideas with friends over email that I certainly wouldn't want to be misconstrued by overzealous CSIS agents.

Even in the Internet era, privacy rights and civil liberties remain vital to our progress as a civilization. Warrentless surveillance is the sort of thing you can imagine in police states - not democracies like Canada.

Open Media's online signature drive gathered enough supporters to convince the government to shelve a very bad least for now. I urge everyone who cares about civil liberties to keep their eyes and ears open; if we don't keep an eye on the government, they're going to be keeping an uncomfortably close eye on us.

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