The governments of the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance met this month to discuss their mutual spy agency coordination and decided to issue a public communique. Unsurprisingly, the governments of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England and the United States jointly called for more government access to digital information and threatened measures against tech companies which do not comply with their demands. Obviously, this is right in line with the Trudeau government's attempt in its new national security Bill C-59 to extend cyber surveillance and state spy agency access to this same information.
The communique says, “Privacy laws must prevent arbitrary or unlawful interference, but privacy is not absolute. The increasing gap between the ability of law enforcement to lawfully access data and their ability to acquire and use the content of that data is a pressing international concern that requires urgent, sustained attention and informed discussion on the complexity of the issues and interests at stake.”
“Should governments continue to encounter impediments to lawful access to information necessary to aid the protection of the citizens of our countries, we may pursue technological, enforcement, legislative or other measures to achieve lawful access solutions.”
This is the same tactic all of these governments used to create new “National Security” laws after September 11, 2001 – claiming that existing laws don't allow them to protect populations properly. Then trying to dismantle as much of the privacy, human and civil rights frameworks in their countries as possible.
They have been successful in many areas, but have also faced significant resistance and forced to compromise. Stephen Harper famously saw his re-election chances implode after pushing through his Bill C-51 “Anti-Terrorism” Law, and now Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been very careful in how he presents his C-59 “diet Pepsi” version of the same law and has tried to prolong the process in the hopes of allowing public anger and attention to die down.
This is certainly not what has happened in Vancouver, where the Working Group to Stop Bill C-51 has continued a weekly action campaign for over 180 straight weeks, and shows no sign in stopping. The month of August saw the Working Group hold two banner drops and two picket and petition campaigns in Vancouver and Burnaby. Despite facing attempted police intimidation at the busy banner drop over the #1 Highway on August 20, the Working Group reaffirmed their right to freedom of assembly and completed the action. Despite returning to transit stations where there have already been multiple actions before, the Working Group continues to find genuine interest and anger when it comes to government attempts to limit democratic and human rights.
While C-59 has not been passed yet in the Senate of Canada to become law, we still have time to make our voices heard and to demand that Prime Minister Trudeau scrap his dangerous and unnecessary Bill C-59, and repeal the equally violative Bill C-51. The time is always right to defend human and democratic rights but now is particularly important. Our struggle and our opposition will be continued.
Repeal Bill C-51!
Scrap Bill C-59!
Our Security Lies in Defending the Rights of All!
Follow Thomas Davies on Twitter: @thomasdavies59
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