This weeks post for 24 Hrs, The Duel: National Security does not trump our right to privacy.
This week’s topic:
Should the government be allowed to spy on your phone calls and email?
As I watched the public reaction following the revelations of whistleblower Edward Snowden, I shook my head at the ongoing naivety of the public in general. According to Snowden, the U.S government has been engaged in gathering massive amounts of metadata from phone calls and the Internet. He claims this has been going on for years and subsequent media reports seem to back up his claims.
Facebook, Google, social media chat sites, and private cell phone calls are all on the list of places the U.S. government can and will access information in the name of intelligence and national security. Of course, they have claimed this is only in instances involving foreign communications – which may very well apply to Canadians as well. Got a friend in Lebanon? Hey, they might have your aunty’s recipe for kebbeh.
This American scandal has initiated numerous questions on the issue as it pertains to the Canadian government. Does the Canadian government spy on its own citizens? According to a recent Globe and Mail report, the answer is yes. Should they be allowed to? My answer is an absolute no, without prior and ongoing threat assessment documentation available to support such surveillance.
The Globe and Mail report claimed defence minister Peter MacKay renewed in 2011 a prior agreement to conduct the same sort of surveillance that the American government does. It also reported the program had been on hiatus prior to that renewal because of concerns of surveillance of Canadians without a warrant
Time for a reality check…
Read the rest of this weeks column, and vote for who you think is this weeks winner, at http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2013/06/16/national-security-does-not-trump-our-right-to-privacy
I encourage you to leave your comments and critiques, which are open for 48 hours following publication!!