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Canada: Govt tries to shut down debate on Online Spying Bill

For Immediate Release

Government attempts to shut down debate on Online Spying Bill show they’re running scared of public opinion, says OpenMedia.ca
Government could shut down Parliamentary debate on Bill C-13 as early as today

April 28, 2014 – The government looks likely to shut down debate on its controversial Online Spying Bill C-13, which MPs are scheduled to discuss later today. The move comes after tens of thousands have spoken out on a pro-privacy petition organized by OpenMedia.ca and a huge nationwide 50 organization Protect our Privacy coalition. If the government succeeds, this could be the last day of 2nd Reading debate on the bill, which is being driven forward by Justice Minister Peter MacKay.

Bill C-13 sparked immediate controversy after experts revealed how over 60 pages of the bill were lifted from Vic Toews’ failed online spying Bill C-30, which the government was forced to withdraw after Canadians spoke out against it. Experts say that Bill C-13 would give a wide range of authorities access to the private lives of law-abiding Canadians. The bill grants legal immunity to telecom providers who hand over Canadians’ private information without a warrant, as has already happened over 18,000 times in the case of just a single government agency last year.

“This government is running scared of Canadians including those in their own party, and that’s why they’re trying to ram this bill through Parliament with as little debate as possible,” says OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson. “This is a disgraceful approach that is typical of a government with such a terrible track record on privacy, and it’s no wonder that so many people, including many grassroots conservative supporters, are speaking out.”

Anderson continued: “Let’s be clear about what Bill C-13 would do. It would open the door to unprecedented warrantless surveillance of law-abiding Canadians. It would give government bureaucrats access to our private lives at any time without judicial oversight. It would even encourage telecom providers to hand over our private information without a warrant and without even telling victims that their privacy had been violated. Peter MacKay needs to listen to Canadians and rethink this dangerous legislation.”

Privacy expert Professor Michael Geist has highlighted how Bill C-13 “establishes a new system for voluntary disclosure of personal information that is likely to lead both to increased requests without court oversight and to increased disclosures”.

A hard-hitting video about Bill C-13 was launched recently by OpenMedia and rapidly went viral, getting over 12,000 views and securing the top two spots of Reddit Canada.

Tens of thousands of Canadians are calling for effective legal measures to protect our privacy from government surveillance at http://OurPrivacy.ca

About OpenMedia.ca

OpenMedia.ca is an award-winning community-based organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy by engaging hundreds of thousands of people in protecting our online rights.

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

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