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Editorial: Bigger Brother

By North Shore News

Published February 12, 2014

In case you missed it on Tuesday, along with a federal budget in Ottawa, a speech from the throne in Victoria, and a little athletic contest happening in Sochi, a movement was born online.

The Day We Fight Back, a day of protest on the streets and online aimed at ending unwarranted mass surveillance, garnered support from millions worldwide but not much attention in the news cycle.

The movement has the support of Internet giants like Google and Facebook, and civil libertarian groups, including our own B.C. Civil Liberties Association, as well as everyday citizens who’d rather not have their phone, search engine and email data skimmed without justification.

This past year has seen a steady stream of revelations about the level of scrutiny we are all under, much of which came from Edward Snowden, the former U.S. intelligence analyst who now lives as a fugitive in Russia.

While the hive of intelligence-gathering appears to be the United States National Security Agency, our government has been complicit in helping the NSA extend its reach, not to mention devising some invasive intelligence-collecting techniques of its own and using RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service to spy on environmental activists.

This represents a fundamental shift in the relationship between citizens and government in a democracy, and we support the call to reverse this Orwellian course.

Let’s not forget; all of this has happened under the watch of – or direction of – a federal government that scrapped the longform census on the grounds it was too intrusive into the lives of Canadians.