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BC Civil Liberties Association says US surveillance programs violate human rights

Watchdog joins international human rights hearing on activities of the US National Security Agency

Today the BC Civil Liberties Association joined organizations from around the world in calling the United States’ mass global communications surveillance programs a violation of international human rights. In a written submission for a hearing of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the BCCLA joined international civil society groups and organizations from Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Brazil Paraguay, Argentina, Canada and the U.S. in calling for Member States of the Organization of American States to adopt measures prohibiting unchecked mass surveillance in law and in practice.

Micheal Vonn, Policy Director of the BCCLA: “The emerging picture of the US National Security Agency’s massive global surveillance program shows clearly that this is not about counter-espionage against foreign powers which is standard issue in all countries. This is about the mass surveillance of the communications of ordinary citizens from all over the world. This is not targeted interception, it is wholesale collection of much of the world’s communications. This threatens the safety and security of citizens all over the world, from those trying to safeguard human rights defenders and journalists’ sources to those trying to protect commercial trade interests.”

Last week the BCCLA launched a historic lawsuit against the Canadian government for illegal spying on Canadians by CSEC, the Canadian version of the NSA.

Vonn: “Canadians have an urgent need for transparency and oversight of our own spying agencies, but modern telecommunications go far beyond national boundaries. The vast majority of Canadians’ telecommunications are exposed to US surveillance. We must work both locally and globally to bring human rights to digital communications in the 21st century.”

Link to the submission