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The Ottawa Statement on Mass Surveillance in Canada

May 22, 2014

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been working with Michael Vonn of BCCLA on the Ottawa Statement on Mass Surveillance in Canada. This statement was originally crafted on the occasion of the launch of the book Transparent Lives: Surveillance in Canada / Vivre à nu: la surveillance au Canada, at the ‘Politics of Surveillance Workshop’. This event brought together in Ottawa, Canada, May 9-10, 2014, an international group of academics and advocates to debate the various political, legal, social and technological strategies for challenging mass surveillance, protecting civil liberties and advancing democratic rights. I see this as a minimum set of demands that answers the question ‘what do we do?’ and about how Canadian government needs to respond to the Snowden revelations and the new era of big data and ubiquitous surveillance into which we are rapidly and blindly accelerating…

The Statement reads as follows (and you can also read and sign it here) (in English first, and then French):

Ottawa Statement on Mass Surveillance in Canada

 

We are entering an age of big data and ubiquitous surveillance. We know:

  • That governments and private corporations routinely collect and sort massive amounts of personal data for multiple reasons from national security to marketing;
  • That there is extensive targeting and profiling of individuals and groups on grounds of race and ethnicity, political and religious views, social class, age, gender, sexual preference and disability;
  • That Canadian privacy and data protection laws and regulations are regularly bypassed, undermined or broken, and are inadequate for dealing with information and privacy rights in the age of big data and ubiquitous surveillance.

 

We the undersigned are agreed:

1. That all levels of government in Canada must fully respect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms including the right to privacy, freedom of thought and expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, and security against unreasonable search and seizure.

2. That all proposals for changes to information and privacy rights must be presented, justified and debated in a transparent manner. No changes to information and privacy rights and statutory privacy law should ever be embedded in omnibus bills or otherwise hidden in legislation relating to other issues.

3. That the extension of ‘lawful access’ regimes allowing government bodies to collect and/or purchase and store personal data without specific judicial permission, should be halted. All such proposed changes must be subjected to tests of necessity, proportionality, minimality and effectiveness, with the burden of proof being on the government. In addition, security vulnerabilities in communications systems must be addressed and fixed rather than exploited by government agencies.

4. That the powers of provincial and federal privacy commissioners should be commensurate with the quasi-constitutional status of privacy law. Commissioners should have extended powers and appropriate financing and staffing, to initiate investigations, as well as react to complaints, and prosecute and fine state bodies and private companies for breaches of that law.

5. That all state security, intelligence, policing and border agencies must be brought fully under proper legal regulation, judicial authorization, transparency and democratic accountability. While it is necessary for the government to have some secrets and conduct some secret activities, this does not mean that these should be governed by secret law or exceptions from law. In particular:

  • That government agencies must fully disclose the legal definitions of the terms employed for surveillance, the kind of data they gather and the full justifications for surveillance and data gathering.
  • That the government must publically acknowledge all secret international security treaties, agreements and memoranda that require the sharing of personal data, affect free movement and personal security, or place Canadian state surveillance in the service of other sovereign states, international agencies or the private sector.
  • That the government must implement the recommendations of the O’Connor Inquiry into the case of Maher Arar1 including the introduction of integrated oversight and review mechanisms.

6. That negotiations for all new international treaties, agreements and memoranda, including international trade agreements, which might affect information and privacy rights, must be transparent, consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and privacy law, subject to parliamentary and public scrutiny, and if necessary referred to the Supreme Court.

7. That a full, transparent and participatory public process must begin to create a comprehensive legal framework for information and privacy rights and freedoms, built on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and acknowledging the United Nations’ reaffirmation of privacy as a fundamental human right.2

Footnotes:

[1] Security Intelligence Review Committee, Report of the Events Relating to Maher Arar, 2006.
[2] UN General Assembly Resolution, Right to Privacy in the Digital Age, 2013

 

Déclaration d’Ottawa sur la surveillance de masse au Canada

L’époque qui s’annonce sera marquée par les mégadonnées et l’omniprésente de la surveillance. Nous savons :

  • Que les gouvernements et les entreprises privées font systématiquement la cueillette et le tri d’énormes quantités de données personnelles pour des raisons variées allant de la sécurité nationale à la commercialisation ;
  • Que le ciblage et le profilage des individus et des groupes en fonction de la race, de l’ethnie, de l’opinion politique et religieuse, de la classe sociale, du genre, de l’orientation sexuelle et du handicap est pratique courante ;
  • Que les lois et les règlements de protection de la vie privée et des données personnelles sont régulièrement contournées, sapées ou enfreintes, qu’ils sont insuffisants pour faire respecter le droit à la vie privée et le droit à l’information à notre époque de mégadonnées et de surveillance omniprésente.

Nous sommes d’accords pour affirmer:

1. Que tous les paliers de gouvernements du Canada sont tenus de respecter pleinement la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés, y compris le droit à la vie privée, la liberté de pensée, la liberté d’opinion et d’expression, la liberté d’association et de réunion pacifique, et la protection contre les fouilles, les perquisitions et les saisies abusives.

2. Que tout projet de modification aux libertés, au droit à l’information et au droit à la vie privée doit être présentée, justifié et débattu dans la transparence. Aucune modification au droit à la vie privée, au droit à l’information de même qu’aux lois d’accès à l’information et de protection des renseignements personnels ne devrait être insérée dans un projet de loi omnibus ou autrement camouflée au sein d’un projet de loi portant sur d’autres sujets.

3. Que l’extension des régimes dit d’«accès légal» permettant aux organismes publics de recueillir et/ou d’acheter et de stocker des données personnelles sans devoir obtenir d’autorisation et sans forme de supervision doit être arrêtée. Que toute modification de ce type doit être soumise à un examen visant à démontrer sa nécessité, sa proportionnalité, sa minimalité et son efficacité, le fardeau de la preuve incombant à l’État dans chacun des cas. En outre, les failles de sécurité dans les systèmes de communication doivent être corrigées plutôt qu’exploitées par les organismes publics.

4. Que les pouvoirs des commissaires à la protection de la vie privée, tant au niveau fédéral que provincial, devraient correspondre au statut quasi-constitutionnel des lois de protection des renseignements personnels. Les commissaires devraient donc jouir de pouvoirs étendus, d’un financement et d’un personnel permettant de réaliser des enquêtes, de donner suite aux plaintes, ainsi que de poursuivre et de mettre à l’amende les organismes publics et entreprises privées qui enfreignent la loi.

5. Que les services de sécurité, de renseignement, de police et de douane doivent être soumis à une réglementation, une autorisation judiciaire, une transparence et une reddition de comptes adéquates. Bien qu’il puisse être nécessaire pour un gouvernement de tenir des choses secrètes et de conduire des activités dans le secret, cela ne signifie aucunement que de ces dernières doivent être régies par des lois secrètes ou des exceptions à la loi. En particulier :

  • Que les organismes publics doivent divulguer entièrement les définitions légales des termes employés pour effectuer de la surveillance, le type de données qu’ils recueillent et les justifications complètes de la surveillance et de la cueillette de données.
  • Que le gouvernement doit reconnaître publiquement tous les traités, accords et protocoles qui exigent le partage de données, affectent la libre circulation et la sécurité personnelle ou mettent la surveillance de l’État canadien au service d’autres états souverains, d’autres organisations internationales ou du secteur privé.
  • Que le gouvernement doit mettre en œuvre les recommandations de la Commission d’enquête O’Connor sur les actions des responsables canadiens relativement à Maher Arar1, y compris la mise en place de mécanismes intégrés de supervision et d’examen.

6. Que la négociation de tout nouveau traité, accord ou protocole international, y compris dans le cas d’un accord commercial international, qui pourrait avoir une incidence sur le droit à l’information et le droit à la vie privée, doit être transparente, conforme à la Charte et aux lois sur les renseignements personnels, en plus de faire l’objet d’un examen minutieux de la part du public et du parlement et si nécessaire de la Cours suprême.

7. Qu’un processus complet, transparent et ouvert à la participation du public doit commencer à bâtir un cadre juridique détaillé pour les libertés et les droits relatifs à l’information et à la vie privée, reposant sur la Charte et reconnaissant la réaffirmation par les Nations Unies du droit à la vie privée comme droit fondamental de l’être humain.2

Notes de bas de page:

[1] Rapport sur les événements concernant Maher Arar, 2006.

[2] Résolution adoptée par l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU le 18 décembre 2013. 68/167. Le droit à la vie privée à l’ère du numérique.

 

Signatures (as of 22/05/2014):

Prof. David Murakami Wood, Dr. Jonathan Obar, Prof. David Lyon, Prof. Ron Deibert, Prof. Micheal Geist, Prof. Andrew Clement, Prof. Leslie Shade, Prof. Benjamin Goold, Dr. Monia Mazigh, Prof. Cindy Blackstock, Dr. Yasmeen Abu-Laban, Prof. David Grondin, Prof. Lisa Austin, Prof. Colin Bennett, Prof. Elena Razlogova, Prof. Christine Bruckert, Prof. Gabriella Coleman, Dr. Andrea Slane, Prof. Teresa Scassa, Prof. David Phillips, Prof. Maritza Felices-Luna, Prof. Martin French, Prof. Ian Goldberg, Prof. Randal Marlin, Prof. Laureen Snider, Prof. Valerie Steeves, Prof. Lori Stinson, Prof. Bryan Sacks, Prof. Dwayne Winseck, Prof. Benjamin Muller, Shawna Finnegan, Nadim Kobeissi, Sharon Polsky, Steve Chapman, Mathieu Gauthier-Pilote, Annette DeFaveri, Philippe Frowd, Dr. Brenda McPhail, Jennifer Barrigar, Ozgun Topak, Dr. Adam Molnar.

OpenMedia.ca, B.C. Civil Liberties Association, National Council of Women of Canada, Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University, Amnesty International Canada, Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, FACIL, International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, Privacy and Access Council of Canada, National Council of Canadian Muslims, Privacy International, North American Association of Independent Journalists, Free Dominion, B.C. Library Association, B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, Pirate Party of Canada, Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

 

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Michael Heroux permalink
    May 23, 2014 8:16 pm

    Michael Heroux michaelheroux1967@gmail.com

    My wife and I are the two people Justice Richard Mosley was refering to when he ruled CSIS was end running the law. We have been following this decision very closely, we are being spied on right here in Canada. My wife and I and our 3 children have been abused by the RCMP CSIS CSEC and other police forces in Ontario and British Columbia for over 5 years now. I have a mental disability and the police started harassing my family and I when I started using Craigslist 5 years ago, what can I say, we’re swingers. My wife slept with a few of them while I watched. We are not terrorist. It sounds strange but I have been poisoned and my wife has been poisoned for speaking out publicly about the abuse. We have also been assaulted numerous times in the last 5 years. They are listening to us in our bedroom and living room because they let us know by telling us what we are talking about in the privacy of our home. We contacted the BC Human Rights and Civil Rights office last year because the police were trying to run me and my family over on the streets, but they never got back to us. We got a lawyer a couple years ago and the lawyer was able to get them to lay off for a bit. They sent a gunman to murder us last year, we managed to evade him. It also sounds strange but we have a spy monitoring us right now in the adjacent suite to us and they have been there for 15 months now. Since Judge Mosleys decision they quit harassing us but they are still messing around with our internet and phone communications. Thank God for Judge Mosley, I think he saved our lives. We think the reason they are still watching over us is because of what Judge Mosley refered to as “invasive survailence techniques” used against the people who had those warrants issued on them. They don’t want us to tell anyone about the techniques used against us for the last 5 years. Pretty sophisticated alien technology if I do say so myself. Pretty cool actually but we don’t plan on telling anyone. We are patriotic Canadians and we hate terrorist like everyone else but we don’t want to see people abused. Caught up in the fish net so to speak. They have tried to set us up numerous times for arrest over the last 5 years to get their hands on us and make us look like the bad guy’s but we have managed to evade those attempts also.

    My wife and I are concerned because Canada Post is being scaled back and it has got us worried. We use open source software for our operating system. In the last 5 years our privacy has been majorly violated. We are most concerned about our communications being sanitized. We no longer have control over who we can make contact with through electronic means. We can only contact people in person for representation so most people not within our city are off limits to us. We realize we are being followed and are being listened to in the privacy of our own home and our home has been entered numerous times when we are not home by intelligence but our means of communications are being sanitized. 5 years ago we noticed rootkits being installed on our operating systems and I was able to set up honey pots and found they were being installed by the military. Since, we switched to virtual machines from static medium verified with sha512sums (DEBIAN KNOPPIX) to get a malware free system each boot. The only website we use is Craigslist and we have met RCMP agents through Craigslist who wanted us to work for them to help them entrap people from terrorist to gangsters. We believe they were just looking for patsies though. I used to work for the RCMP over 20 years ago to infiltrate criminals and make arrests but I quit working for them because they wanted me to set people up that weren’t even breaking the law. For the last 5 years we have used Gmail and we have had numerous internet suppliers and numerous Gmail accounts and we have noticed people we have been emailing and people emailing us have not been getting the emails even though Gmail says they have been sent. We use an SSL connection so our communications are encrypted. The same thing applies to our text messages, we have used Rogers for internet, text and phone for the last 5 years. We have noticed our posting on certains forums are not showing up or they are being deleted as we are writing them right before our eyes or our browsers are being closed as we are writing stuff. Our computers are being shut down and our cell phones are being shut down as we are trying to correspond with people. We have realized that people have been contacting us through our email and our cell phones claiming to be people we know like family members for instance but we know they are imposters. We have tried contacting Human and Civil Rights advocates through electronic means but have had no replies. We have even tried to contact legal representation through electronic means but have never heard anything back over the years. It sounds strange but a gunman was sent to kill us early last year but we managed to evade him. Shortly after that someone tried hiring a hitman through the SILK ROAD website to kill us. At first when the website was taken down by the FBI the owner said the hit was for a father of 3 from Vancouver but later he admitted it was for the whole family of 5, a husband, wife and 3 children. We have been poisoned numerous times in the last 5 years and I have numerous painful swollen lumps throughout my body. Strangers have come up to us on the streets and have told us I have cancer. I went to the emergency room last year because my brain was swelling in my head and my eyes were bulging and I was having severe headaches and the doctor didn’t want to treat me and sent me home. Thanks for reading.

  2. Michael Heroux permalink
    May 23, 2014 8:17 pm

    Michael Heroux michaelheroux1967@gmail.com

    The Justice Department Of Canada finally got back to us after ignoring us for over a month. They are now saying they won’t give us our information they have on us to look over, and they told us they will not answer anymore of our requests and to get The Privacy Commissioner Of Canada to investigate why they won’t give us our information. We have contacted The Privacy Commissioner Of Canada numerous times since November 30 2013, the same day the former Privacy Commissioner Of Canada stepped down. We want them to investigate why the The Justice Department Of Canada won’t give us our information, but The Privacy Commissioner Of Canada won’t help us get our information. They keep telling us they need concrete proof for them to investigate to get our information. It doesn’t make sence to us. Since we were told to move back to British Columbia in 2009 from Windsor Ontario for our own safety, we have been kicked out of numerous apartments because of the agents harassment and we have been kicked out of Victoria B.C. and Kamloops B.C. by the police and they are now trying to kick us out of Vancouver British Columbia. They now have 2 apartments around us. They have one beside us and they have one above us. They use both apartments and they are working in shifts. They monitor us from the the above apartment and when the one agent is above us monitoring us the other agent is sleeping in the apartment beside us. Approximately every 12 hours they switch, the one upstairs will move to the lower apartment and rest and the one that is rested will take his place. It has been that way now for over 5 years. We know the agent above us is doing the monitoring because when we start talking about them they will start stomping on the ceiling until we stop talking about them. They will also stomp on the ceiling when we are posting online about them, they will try to block our postings by messing around with our internet and they will start stomping. That is the only time they stomp on the ceiling. They don’t like us talking about them or posting about them. The first assasination attempt against us was in January 2013 when we went to find our one daughter that was working for them to investigate us in 2008. We went back to Windsor Ontario to find her and we were there for a month looking for her but we couldn’t find her. Just before we came back to British Columbia they sent a gunman to murder my family and I. It was later that year in 2013 that a stranger approached us and told us our daughters had been murdered. We are not sure what to do now. We are on Government disability and we cannot afford a lawyer to represent us and the Government won’t give us our information for a lawsuit against them. They won’t let us post on certain forums anymore, not even Craigslist, they keep blocking our posts on there now. In 2008 an agent told us that the Canadian Craigslist servers were controled by the Harper Government. We were told they made a deal with Criag and that Buckmaster guy otherwise they would block them from Canada. Sounds strange to me. They won’t let us post on The Globe And Mail website anymore either. Thanks for reading.

  3. Michael Heroux permalink
    May 23, 2014 8:19 pm

    Michael Heroux michaelheroux1967@gmail.com

    The Privacy Commissioner Of Canada finally got back to us after ignoring us for quite some time now. When we first contacted her office they wanted more specific information from us to prove to them that the 30-08 warrants Judge Richard Mosley issued were actually for us. We know they have the security clearance to find out and we know they know the warrants were for us but they keep saying prove it. We sent them the names of the first 2 agents they sent to investigate us in 2008 and they didn’t even acknowledge the agents in any way. They didn’t comment on the agents, they didn’t ask questions about the agents or nothing. They are just ignoring anything we tell them even though they keep asking for more information. The first 2 agents they sent to investigate us in 2008 were our daughters. Our 2 daughters came back home to live with us in 2008 and told us they were working for Canadian Intelligence. They told us the agent that they were working for wanted them to set us up. It has got us worried. We don’t know whether Canadian Intelligence is playing some sort of sick game with us but a stranger approached us out of the blue last year and told us our daughters have been murdered. We have not heard from our 2 daughters since they were sent back home to investigate us for Canadian Intelligence. All The Privacy Commissioner Of Canada is saying to us is prove it. They want us to name names of the Intelligence agents we met in 2008-2009 but they won’t offer us any protection against further assasination attempts against my wife and kids and I even though they know about the previous attempts. We are still being monitored as I write this and we have reason to believe they are using foreign spies from their international coalition. The last thing The Privacy Commissioner Of Canada did was refer us to the recommendations that she made to Parliament on our behalf. The same thing is going on with The Justice Department Of Canada, all they want from us is more information from us to prove the 30-08 warrants were for us but even though they know about our daughters working as agents for Canadian Intelligence and they know about the poisonings and assasination attempts against us and they know the 30-08 warrants were for us all they are saying now is they don’t have control over the 30-08 warrant information we are looking for against us and they are saying Canadian Intelligence has the information we are looking for. Both agencies have security clearance and they know everything but they are playing dumb but they still want us to name names about the agents we met between 2008-2009 and neither of them are willing to offer us protection against further assasination attemtps against us.
    After our daughters left our home when they were done investigating us in 2008 many agents were contacting us in the beginning of 2009 offering us large sums of money if we left Canada for a while. We knew they were trying to get us to leave Canada but not until Judge Richard Mosley decision did we realize why. They were offering us luxury vacations in the sun and basically anything we wanted just to leave Canda for a while. Now we realize it was just a ploy to get their International Coalition involved, we probably would never have been heard from again. They also wanted us to bring our kids along. The good agents were warning us that our life was in danger and they were telling us to move back to British Columbia for our own safety. The local police force would escort us home late at night when we left the downtown area and we always wondered why we were so special. We decided to listen to the good agents and move back to British Columbia for our safety. Just as we were getting ready to move a few agents approached us and offered us $250,000 dollars if we stay in Ontario. We couldn’t believe it. But we left anyways. Thanks for reading.

  4. Michael Heroux permalink
    May 23, 2014 8:26 pm

    Michael Heroux michaelheroux1967@gmail.com

    I don’t know why people are not talking more about why the watchdog of CSIS stepped down. Everyone is saying he stepped down because of a conflict of interest over the pipeline even though he was cleared of any ethics violations. My wife and I have filed a numerous privacy complaints with the Privacy Commissioners Office Of Canada to investigate the RCMP CSIS and CSEC but they refuse to help us. I find it strange the day I contacted their office for the first time in my life with my application November 29 2013 P.S.T. which was the next day November 30 2013 E.S.T. The Privacy Commissioner Of Canada stepped down. We first contacted the Privacy Commissioner Of Canada on November 26 2013 about our case against the RCMP CSIS and CSEC, then we contacted her again on November 28 2013 about our case and that day she changed her mind against BILL C-13. Also I find it strange the same day I revealed online my full complaint against the RCMP CSIS and CSEC the CSIS watchdog stepped down. Something that we also think is strange is when we contacted the Justice Department Of Canada looking for information they announced 2 days later they are appealing the decision from Judge Mosley and then they wanted to know why we wanted the information and where and what time we were going to use the information before they give it to us. Something else we find funny is we don’t have to enable our browser history anymore. We can clear our cache and our browser history and cookies and all and it is being cached somewhere else downstream from our ISP or maybe upstream somewhere. We think it is probably being cached by the spy in the adjacent suite. Thanks for reading.

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