What we’ve been up to so far in 2020! Help us continue protecting civil liberties

The first half of 2020 has been very difficult given the impact of the pandemic, but we continued working hard to protect our civil liberties. Below you can see what we have accomplished so far this year, but first here is a sneak-peek into what we plan to do for the second half of 2020:

  • We will continue to protect our civil liberties and human rights against the threat of digital surveillance in the response to COVID-19, as well as the growing dangers of facial recognition technology.
  • We will continue to fight to abolish security certificates and end deportation to torture. Central to this is our work to stop Mohamed Harkat’s deportation to torture.
  • We will continue to monitor the implementation of the National Security Act, 2017 (formerly Bill C-59), especially around mass surveillance and immunity for CSIS employees.
  • We will continue to push for greater accountability and transparency for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), including the establishment of a strong, effective and independent review mechanism.
  • We will continue advocating for the repeal of the Canadian No Fly List, and for putting a stop to the use of the US No Fly List by air carriers in Canada for flights that do not land in or fly over the US.
  • We will continue to call for justice for Dr. Hassan Diab and for the reform of the Extradition Act.
  • We will continue to pressure lawmakers to protect our civil liberties from the negative impact of national security and the “war on terror”, as well as keeping you and our 47 member organizations, informed via the News Digest.

Help us achieve our goals!

What we’ve been up to from January to July 2020!

Fighting COVID-19: Seven Principles to Protect Our Privacy COVID-19 and digital surveillance
  • We co-wrote a statement listing our seven principles, launched a letter-writing campaign, and created a video to protect our rights if digital surveillance is used to fight COVID.
  • We met with the Justice Minister to discuss our principles.
  • We helped draft an open letter calling on the federal government to delay the release of a national contact tracing app as the Privacy Commissioner should examine it first. The app’s release was delayed and no new date has been set.
  • We participated in an online panel on pandemics and civil liberties.
  • We’ve added our voice to 300 organizations and individuals to call on all levels of government to strengthen human rights oversight amid the pandemic.

Letter to the Minister of Public Safety: Ban Facial Recognition Surveillance

The ICLMG, 30 other organizations and 46 individuals, all active in protecting privacy, human rights and civil liberties, issued a call for the federal government to ban the use of facial recognition surveillance by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, including the RCMP.
Facial recognition surveillance is invasive and inaccurate. This unregulated technology poses a threat to the fundamental rights of people in Canada. See the full letter, addressed to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, and list of signatories here.

We need your help to continue fighting for justice and human rights!

Yasser Albaz is finally back in Canada!

Canadian Yasser Albaz spent 16 months without charge and in awful conditions in an Egyptian prison. Alongside his daughter, his wife, numerous individual supporters, NCCM and Amnesty International, ICLMG campaigned for his safe return home. Our National Coordinator, Tim McSorley, spoke at a press conference before the Foreign Affairs Minister’s visit to Egypt, and at recent rally in front of the Prime Minister’s office.

Stop the deportation to torture of Moe Harkat!

We continued our advocacy for Mohamed Harkat’s rights and life:
  • We sent a joint letter to the Public Safety Minister & rallied at his office.
  • 4000 more letters have been sent to the Minister urging him to let Mr. Harkat’s stay in Canada.
  • We met with MP Paul Manly and Green Party caucus staff, resulting in a letter to the Public Safety Minister.
  • We presented on security certificates and inadmissibility to a law class at the University of Windsor.

Criminalization and silencing of dissent

  • We co-organized & moderated a book launch on the targeting of anti-poverty groups by national security agencies in the 1960s & ’70s, which was live-streamed.
  • We issued a statement condemning the RCMP invasion of Wet’suwet’en territory, the use of national security concerns to criminalize land defenders, and the suppression of freedom of the press.

We published the News Digest

We continue to publish our now bi-monthly News Digest, which all of you receive and is distributed to thousands of people every two weeks. Check out the News Digest archive if you’ve missed some of our issues.
If you know anyone interested in national security and/or human rights, send them an invite to sign up!
Our parliamentary work
  • We monitored the implementation of the National Security Act, 2017 (Bill C-59).
  • We lobbied and strategized around Bill C-3, which would create an independent review body for the CBSA.
  • We had several meetings with lawmakers including the Policy Director for the Public Safety Minister.
  • We were invited to meet with the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.
  • With other groups, we’ve sent a letter to the Prime Minister & filed access to information requests regarding the return of Canadians detained in North-East Syria.
… and more!
  • The Big Data Surveillance Project book we contributed a chapter to will come out in Fall 2020 and we are contributing to plans for the project’s final conference, to be held in Ottawa in 2021.
  • We participated in the Green Square campaign to mark the anniversary of the horrific attack on the Centre culturel Islamique de Québec.
  • We participated in three civil society roundtables with staff of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
  • We presented to the National Security Transparency Advisory Group.
  • We are in regular contact with the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency.
  • Our National Coordinator gave several media interviews.
  • Our social media accounts and live-streams reached tens of thousands.

If you think our work is important, please support the ICLMG!

We do not receive any funding from any federal, provincial or municipal governments or political parties so your support is essential to our work.

We are counting on people like you.

Thank you for your support in protecting civil liberties!

— Anne & Tim

PS: For what we were up to in the second half of 2019, click here!

PPS: For what we’ve been up to since ICLMG was created in 2002, check out our Achievements page!