2020 has been very difficult given the impact of the pandemic, but we continued working hard to protect our civil liberties. Below you’ll see what we’ve accomplished in the second half of 2020, but first here’s a sneak-peek into what we have planned for 2021:
- We will continue to protect our civil liberties and human rights against surveillance, including the threat of facial recognition technology, government’s relentless attempts to weaken encryption, and online mass surveillance such as the RCMP’s spying on activists and Indigenous land defenders over social media and other websites.
- 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 to fight to abolish security certificates and end deportation to torture, including by producing a short video on the topic. 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 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 – including by producing a video on the topic.
- We will continue to call for justice for Dr. Hassan Diab and for the reform of the Extradition Act – including by producing a video on the topic.
- 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 45 member organizations informed via the News Digest.
What we’ve been up to from July to December 2020!
Privacy impact analysis of the COVID Alert app
Thanks to our group open letter, the federal government delayed the release of the national contact tracing app until the Privacy Commissioner had examined and approved it.
Our letter-writing campaign & video called for the government to protect our human rights in making this contact tracing app. Our community sent 1600 letters, which led to several of our key principles being implemented.
We wrote an analysis of the privacy issues around the COVID Alert app when it was released and met with the Director of the Privacy Management Division, Health Canada, to discuss our concerns. We continue to monitor the impact of the app.
CSIS agents breaking the law and lying to the courts
Two recent court decisions revealed new instances of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) engaging in potentially illegal activities and lying to the courts. CSIS cannot be allowed to act as though they are above the law.
We’ve issued a statement and sent a letter to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair demanding that he take immediate action to put an end to this abuse of power and hold those CSIS officers involved accountable.
We’ve created a letter-writing campaign for the public to send the same message to Minister Blair and Justice Minister David Lametti. More than 1100 emails were sent so far!
Stop the deportation to torture of Moe Harkat!
We continued our advocacy for Mohamed Harkat’s rights and life by:
- Sharing our letter-writing campaign on our News Digest & social media.
- Participating in an online panel, “Home Grown Racism and Indefinite Detention,” organized by First Unitarians Congregation of Ottawa in September. Watch here.
Protect our rights against facial recognition!
We produced a detailed video on the dangers of facial recognition technology and why Canadian police should not be allowed to use it, and distributed it widely.
We’ve created a letter-writing campaign linked to the video calling on the government to protect our rights against facial recognition, and more than 3000 emails have been sent so far!
Our parliamentary work
- Bill C-3, which would have created an independent review body for the CBSA, died when Parliament was prorogued. We continue to lobby Public Safety officials to push for a new bill to be introduced with changes to make it stronger.
- We met with various MPs, aids and government staff about the coalition’s policies and priorities, including: the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency Executive Director; the staff of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada; Sameer Zuberi, Liberal MP; Paul Manly, Green Party MP; the NDP Public Safety Critic; Greg Fergus, Liberal MP; and the Directors of Policy for the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Justice.
… and more!
- The Big Data Surveillance Project book we contributed a chapter to is finally out! You can purchase it here. You can also wait for our upcoming Patreon contest to win a free copy!
- We continue to advocate for justice for Hassan Diab and the reform of the Extradition Law, including a video that will come out in 2021.
- We met with the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism in the Hague to provide input on a new toolkit for governments regarding the rights impact of anti-terrorism administrative law.
- Our social media accounts and videos 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 first half of 2020, click here!
PPS: For what we’ve been up to since ICLMG was created in 2002, check out our Achievements page!