Digital rights group OpenMedia is throwing its support behind a massive National Day of Action against Bill C-51 this Saturday March 14. Sparked by concerned citizens on social media platforms Facebook, and reddit, events are being organized right across Canada, from Victoria to Halifax. OpenMedia is supporting the day of action by launching an online action platform to allow those speaking out against C-51 at http://StopC51.ca
Public opinion is rapidly turning against the bill, with a recent EKOS opinion poll revealing that only 29% of Canadians would give up personal privacy safeguards to boost spy agency powers. Over 75,000 people have already spoken out online in recent weeks calling on Prime Minister Harper to rein in the unaccountable powers and violations of our civil liberties contained in Bill C-51.
“This bill encourages reckless sharing of our sensitive private information, dangerous new powers for CSIS, and offers zero accountability or oversight,” said Steve Anderson, OpenMedia Executive Director. “Everyone knows the Conservative government is bad on privacy issues, but Bill C-51 takes it to a whole new level.”
Anderson continued: “That’s why we’re joining with Canadians from across the political spectrum to take to the streets this Saturday. It’s not something we do very often, but C-51 is so reckless and dangerous it calls for all of us to do all that we can to speak out. There will be a steep political price to pay at election time for these reckless, dangerous, and ineffective privacy intrusions.”
When OpenMedia initially came out against Bill C-51, there were few standing up to oppose the proposed legislation. Now former prime Ministers, independent Conservative MPs, the government’s own privacy commissioner, a huge range of organizations, and even media outlets, have all come out against C-51.
Citizens are concerned that Bill C-51 would greatly expand the powers of CSIS, to the point where the Globe and Mail warns it will create a “secret police force”. If the bill passes, no fewer than 17 government agencies and even foreign governments will be granted access to Canadians’ sensitive private information.
OpenMedia’s core concerns are that Bill C-51 is:
1. Reckless: It turns CSIS into a ‘secret police’ force with little oversight or accountability.
2. Dangerous: It opens the door for violations of our Charter Rights including censorship of free expression online.
3. Ineffective: It will lead to dragnet surveillance and information sharing on innocent Canadians that even Stephen Harper has admitted is ineffective.
OpenMedia 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
About OpenMedia’s privacy campaign
OpenMedia.ca led the successful StopSpying.ca campaign that forced the government to back down on its plans to introduce a costly, invasive, and warrantless online spying law (Bill C-30). Nearly 150,000 Canadians took part in the campaign. To learn more, see this infographic.
Last October, OpenMedia.ca joined with over 60 major organizations and over a dozen academic experts to form the Protect Our Privacy Coalition, which is the largest pro-privacy coalition in Canadian history. The Coalition is calling for effective legal measures to protect the privacy of every resident of Canada against intrusion by government entities.
OpenMedia.ca and the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) are working together to put a stop to illegal government surveillance against law-abiding Canadians. OpenMedia.ca has launched a national campaign encouraging Canadians to support a BCCLA legal action which aims to stop illegal spying by challenging the constitutionality of the government’s warrantless collection of data on Canadians’ everyday Internet use.