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Posts Tagged ‘Surveillance’

After reading an article in the Vancouver Sun today regarding proposed legislation that would give Canadian authorities the right to, without warrant, monitor our online activities, I wrote the following letter to my local Member of Parliament. I urge all Canadian readers to do the same and support our privacy commissioner in putting an end to this legislation before it is too late:

Dear Honourable MP, Cathy McLeod,

I am writing to you concerning news I just read that Vic Toews and the Harper Government are choosing to ignore privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart’s warnings regarding the unethical monitoring of citizen’s online activities. I do not support this type of behaviour from my government and I urge you to listen closely to Jennifer Stoddart’s warnings. Canadian citizens need to support her on this one. I wouldn’t want the government to have access to a video camera in my home watching my every move: In a similar regard, I don’t think they should have access to my online life. Any attempt to circumvent our rights by condoning the authorities to not require warrants to search our homes and online communications, is essentially unfair, unjust, and undemocratic. It does not make me feel at all safe to know that my government would willingly choose to have the power to be so invasive into my personal affairs. What I do in my spare time online is of nobody’s business but my own. To illustrate my point by analogy: If my neighbour killed someone, this wouldn’t give the police the right to search my home without warrant. Likewise, if someone breaks the law online, this shouldn’t give the authorities the right to intervene in my affairs without warrant. This isn’t merely of concern only to myself; this extends to you and your personal affairs as well. Do you feel confident that your political opponents found in positions of such authority would not, without warrant, search through your affairs online for personal or political gain? Believe it or not, providing authorities with the right to monitor all citizens to such degrees leaves ample room for all sorts of privacy abuse: Your own privacy included. So, whether  or not you feel safe allowing such intrusive laws to flourish in this country, I am not alone in feeling, without reservation, completely against this form of authority. I assure you that I will be sharing this letter with as many people as possible and urging them to write their local MP’s as well. I hope you will not support your party leader in this proposed legislation by voting against it in parliament.

Sincerely,

Justin Allen Philcox
Kamloops, BC, Canada.

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When wildlife researchers want to study the migration habits of specific animal species, they frequently implant, or tag, a member of the species with a tracking device. Now imagine a corporation wanted to understand the movements of humans.  Is this the same thing? Should data on our individual locations at any given time be accessible to a corporate entity, like a phone company? If your answer to this question is “yes” or “I don’t care,” ask if you would like the government to know your whereabouts at all times? If you answer “yes” or “I don’t care,” then I think you are completely irrational. Either that, or you feel that you can gain something from being tracked, recorded, analysed, manipulated, or monitored.

No government or corporation should be given the right to monitor us to the extent that computer and telecommunications companies today do. This amounts to a startling precursor to potential mass social control; it really is akin to dystopic science fictions like “Minority Report,” “1984,” or “THX1138“.If you haven’t seen these films, then get them and see some of the negative implications and possibilities of living in such a society.

Having recorded data on any individual with a cell phone is a very powerful thing. It can reveal your life patterns and your daily schedules.  It could so easily be abused for monetary gains or an uneasing new brand of law enforcement. It effectively amounts to a form of imprisonment. It gives people with access to such information a certain power over you that many may not fully realise. Do you really want some strange company who works with government security agencies to know who you are, where you are, who you are with, when you were where, what you are likely doing at any given time? Not to mention, these same companies have access to our Internet searches, our communications, our social networks. It is rather naive to think that companies with access to such powerful information would completely neglect using it for some aim to their own benefit.

More important to ask than “What are these companies doing with our information?” is “What capabilities do they have?”

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When government spies and internet giants pool their money together it should turn some heads. It is 2011 and 1984 is just entering the month of February. Google and the Investment Branch of the CIA, NSA, and FBI etc. (In-Q-tell) invested in the same company together. Want to know what they are up to? Follow this link down a bit of a rabbit

hole to an article full of other links to really get you thinking about the future we are heading towards: Financial Post

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