The expected re-introduction of federal “lawful access” bills in Parliament, if passed in their original form, would provide police with much greater ability to access and track information about identifiable individuals via the communications technologies that we use every day, such as the Internet, smart phones, and other mobile devices, at times, without a warrant or any judicial authorization.
“I consider this to be such a serious issue that I have organized a public symposium and launched a new website, Real Privacy, to broaden awareness and educate Canadians, in an effort to improve the legislation before it is re-introduced,” said Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.
“In my view, this legislation represents a looming system of ‘Surveillance by Design,’ that should concern us all in a free and democratic society. Taken together, these ‘lawful access’ bills will provide the police with much greater ability to access and track information on us all, via the communications technologies that we use every day, such as the Internet, smart phones, and other mobile devices, in some circumstances, without a warrant or judicial oversight.”
The new website, Real Privacy, includes:
- background information on proposed lawful access legislation such as relevant media articles, key letters, and editorials;
- proposed solutions on how the federal government can improve the legislation to respect privacy while also enhancing security; and
- a new Write My MP tool by which individuals can easily share their concerns with their Member of Parliament and urge the government to reconsider the proposed laws. We are inviting members of the public to write to the MPs, raising their concerns and asking them to question the proposed legislation.
Beware of “Surveillance by Design:” Standing Up for Freedom and Privacy
To discuss the implications of the proposed bills, our Office will be holding a symposium on Friday, January 27, from 9:00am to 11:00am ET at the MaRS Discovery Centre in downtown Toronto. Everyone is invited to attend (event details here). The following highly respected thought leaders will share their unique perspectives on this hot topic:
- Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Information and Privacy Commissioner, Ontario, Canada;
- Professor John Villasenor, The Brookings Institution and UCLA;
- Dr. Ron Deibert, Professor, Political Science, University of Toronto;
- John Ibbitson, Ottawa Bureau Chief, Globe and Mail;
- Nathalie Des Rosiers, General Counsel, Canadian Civil Liberties Association;
- David Fraser, Lead, McInnes Cooper Privacy Practice Group.
The Commissioner’s theme for the Symposium is, “Give me Real Privacy now, not Privacy Theatre,” and she will expand upon this during her talk.
For those wishing to attend virtually, this symposium will be webcast live and fully archived.
This event is also being held to celebrate International Privacy Day, marking 31 years since the first binding international convention on privacy came into force.