Canada Dashboard Digest

Bernier: Gov’t Should Rein In Spying Powers

SURVEILLANCE

January 31, 2014

Interim Privacy Commissioner Chantal Bernier “is urging Ottawa to rein in surveillance powers of the country’s spy agencies by rewriting outdated laws to limit snooping powers online,” The Globe and Mail reports. Bernier’s report is being lauded by some privacy and security experts, but the “recommendations are nonbinding, leaving the issue in the hands of Stephen Harper’s government,” the report states, noting two cabinet ministers refused to comment and Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) has said it is already “taking steps to better inform Canadians about our activities, including publishing new fact sheets on our website.” Bernier said her recommendations are “a call to action for greater transparency, to then have greater accountability.” In other surveillance-related news, Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian raised concerns about smartphone apps “that may be being exploited by spy agencies to access personal information,” and an Access to Information request from The Globe revealed CSEC “received nearly 300 requests for assistance from domestic security agencies over a four-year period—a degree of collaboration that is raising alarm bells for privacy advocates.”
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