Jan. 28 —The Canadian government should strengthen its privacy policies to ensure that actions taken in the name of national security don't have an adverse impact on Canadians' expectations for personal privacy, Chantal Bernier, the interim chief of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada said in a Jan. 28 special report to Parliament.
Measures to improve transparency, modernize privacy statutes and boost Parliament's oversight are needed to address privacy in the context of national security, Bernier said in a statement accompanying the report.
“While a certain level of secrecy is necessary within intelligence activities, so is accountability within a democracy,” she said.
The report recommended that Parliament:
The federal privacy office wasn't the only data protection authority in Canada calling for changes in the wake of surveillance revelations.
Ontario Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian Jan. 28 issued a statement calling on the federal government to improve its transparency and accountability, particularly in the activities undertaken by the CSEC.
Edward Snowden's “brave sacrifices” in releasing details of privacy-invasive activities by intelligence agencies in the United States have demonstrated the significant dangers associated with unchecked state powers, Cavoukian said.
“Our silence is unacceptable, as we are now vulnerable to both indiscriminate data collection and warrantless surveillance,” she said. “The federal government needs to respond by ensuring that CSEC's surveillance powers are transparent and accountable so that our right to privacy remains protected. We can, and indeed must have, both privacy and security.”
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The report, “Checks and Controls: Reinforcing Privacy Protection and Oversight for the Canadian Intelligence Community in an Era of Cyber-Surveillance,” is available at http://www.priv.gc.ca/information/sr-rs/201314/sr_cic_e.pdf.
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