Couple decades ago claiming that the government is tracking your moves and who you keep in touch with would’ve labeled you a lunatic – or at least a conspiracy nut – but today that all is reality, and the practice keeps spreading larger as countries grant their internal spy agencies more power for surveillance.
We all know who Edward Snowden is and how he got famous – if infamous, depends who you’re asking. We also know what the NSA does, or at least we have a pretty good idea of it. But now also the Canadian House of Commons has passed a so-called ‘anti-terror bill’ that to many looks more like a veiled invasion of privacy in the name of national security. But is that the whole truth or not?
The Anti-Terrorism Act, or C-51 as it’s called, will grant the officials even more power to monitor the citizens of Canada than they used to have, and use this information exactly the way they see fit. This is all done in the name of anti-terrorism, and thus allows the government agencies to increase their reach as far as to passport applications. Not only that, with the new bill these agencies, institutions and departments could swap information between themselves, meaning that everything from Public Health to the Revenue Agency and Food Inspection to the Armed Forces would have all your information. Scared yet?
At least for the time being this bill, while having passed, is not yet a law, but if it becomes one we’re sure to see some very interesting times when it comes to issues of privacy. The thing is that the bill doesn’t only limit itself to actual anti-terrorism and national security when it comes to sharing the information of the citizens, but that can also be done for the “economic or financial stability of Canada”. I’ll leave you to ponder what kinds of this that could cover, but I’m sure you’ll get to the same, horrifying end result as others – way too many, way too irrelevant.
It’s easy to forget how much decisions like this can also impact countries abroad, and while everyone should focus on making their own part to be heard and making sure that such bills won’t pass it’s still clear for us that the powers that be are tying to tighten their grip around us. In many countries the freedom of speech has already been either eradicated completely or the press has been restricted to be only a pupped of the military government, but adding citizen surveillance like that on top of it? I guess we would be seeing some uprisings sooner or later.
But the whole this is not as black and white as it might initially seem. After all, terrorism has been on the rise in the past years so something should be done to that, that is obvious and I am pretty sure that everyone will agree with me. However I do not think that the correct way to accomplish this is to go snooping around the citizens for completely no reason at all. This will just send the wrong message to the public, and make them wary of the government, ultimately leading to the terrorism against the government that once swore to protect its people but ended up doing the exact opposite. We should be living with the attitude of ‘if you have nothing to hide, this should matter to you’, because it really does matter. Just because I have nothing to hide doesn’t mean that I would or should be giving up my right to privacy.
Governments have been overthrown before during the history of the mankind, and they will continue to happen in the future – that I am sure of. And while I’m not suggesting that people should go and take up in arms, we should all do what we can in order to stop these types of bills from becoming laws and even passing in the first place. It is our duty. We all have the right to our privacy and any government cannot take that away from us, ever.
Like said, the bill has not yet become a law, and I dearly hope it never will get to that point, but now if ever is the time for local Canadians to make their voice heard and stop this from happening. We have seen how public opposition can drive trainwreck-ideas like SOPA and PIPA out of existence so we should not stop now. Those two got massive, international support and I am sure that if this Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act is going to only cause harm to its own citizens there will be support from all over the world. After all, we all know that the smaller countries can and will follow in the footsteps of their big brothers – for better or for worse.