The juxtaposition of these two stories on top of each other in my news feed yesterday was priceless:
It is kind of amazing that it is the US whose democratic process is working towards curbing the status quo in online spying while in Canada the Conservatives are pushing forward despite the public outrage.
Ever since the Snowden NSA links, light has been shed on the previous opaque status of what our governments are doing with our digital data. The leaks have sparked a genuine and sorely needed conversation about the appropriate role of the government in using our private information from the internet, ostensibly for crime and terrorism reduction. For most people, the conclusion is that both governments have been significantly overstepping reasonable bounds.
To be fair, the sheer size and scope of the US programs dwarf that of Canada's. However, if nothing else, at least in the US the elected representatives - Democrat and Republican alike - are coming together in a major bipartisan supermajority to restrict some of the more egregious aspects of these programs. That is how democracy is supposed to work. When new revelations come to light of things that the people broadly abhor, the representatives of those people work to change the status quo.
Unfortunately, in Canada, despite repeated and considerable public opposition, the Conservatives are doing everything they can to further entrench these online spying policies. Amazingly, we are moving in the wrong direction while the US is moving in the right one.
Canadian's do have one saving grace: the Supreme Court. Like much of the Harper agenda that has been thwarted by the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court has recently ruled against telecom companies handing over private data to the government without a warrant, precisely the kind of thing included in Bill C-13.
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