Yesterday, Canada – Anti Terror Bill C-51 Passed Senate – “Today, the Senate approved PM Harper’s controversial Bill C-51 after a long period of study. The bill will give Canadian spy agency CSIS more powers to detain people.”
A Canadian friend at the end of the vote when I asked how it was possible the people allowed this law to even come about (like I should talk) – “What happened.. couldn’t say it in less than all the words ever…. I’m… lower than ever I’ve been I think.. or maybe just a different type of horrific low… I don’t know..”
Hours before the vote – friend was in conversation on twitter with another Canadian – “I wish we had the wisdom to learn from the mistakes made by the US instead of just repeating them”
May 27, 2015 – Margaret E. Atwood @MargaretAtwood – As a journalist, I could be detained for 7 days w/out charges under #BillC51. + I & anyone could be “pre-criminalized.” This is Stalinist.
More from “the people” at C51 hashtag – here.
An absolute must read though it is very long so I shall paste here just the conclusion. It will all look very familiar if one just thinks NSA. – Who Knows What Evils Lurk in the Shadows?
Notwithstanding C-51, Canadians are long overdue for a serious discussion about the proper legal limits of powerful security agencies like CSE in the era of Big Data. In a short span of a few years we have fundamentally transformed our communications environment, turning our digital lives inside out and leaving a trail of highly revealing personal information around us where ever we go. Meanwhile, CSE and other signals intelligence agencies have reoriented their mission and capabilities to “collect it all” without public debate, and without any corresponding adjustment in the Cold War-era limitations that ostensibly safeguard citizens from potential abuse.
C-51 takes us in a dramatically different direction than we need to go: more covert collection and disruption against a broader range of targets at the behest of a larger number of security agencies; looser information sharing practices among a broader range of domestic and foreign intelligence agencies; less, rather than more, rigorous checks and balances, oversight, and public accountability. We are entrenching 1950s-era oversight of a 21st century security service machine.
To be sure, societies face serious threats and need properly trained and equipped state security services to deal with them. But without proper checks and balances we lose sight of what those services are ostensibly designed to secure in the first place. And we open up the potential for enormous abuse of power. Twenty first century SIGINT agencies, like CSE, are massive electronic omnivores. They are extraordinarily powerful arms of the state. C-51 will boost CSE’s resources, reach, and interaction with other domestic security agencies without any corresponding investment in political restraints that can properly assure Canadians such awesome powers will not be abused.
What evils lurk in the shadows? Who really knows.
The 1st Amendment is still in place here in America but not for much longer. Perhaps those not watching this march to tyranny, not only in America but around the world, will listen to a Brit who ought to know – Video H/T cmblake6 –