Crowdsourcing tool allows Canadians to shape a pro-privacy action plan

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Launch of new pro-privacy crowdsourcing initiative comes just days after Peter MacKay’s online spying Bill C-13 passes House of Commons, and follows over a year of revelations about the activities of Canada’s spy agency CSEC October 22, 2014 – Canadians are working together to shape a new pro-privacy action plan to help address the government’s privacy deficit. That’s the message of a new crowdsourcing initiative that aims to gather the views of everyday Canadians and Internet users about priorities for privacy online. The project is led by community-based OpenMedia.ca, which is leading a diverse national pro-privacy coalition supported by over 60 organizations and 40,000 Canadians. The new crowdsourcing tool includes a drag-and-drop feature enabling Canadians to set out their priorities when it comes to privacy, and also seeks citizen input on a wide range of privacy issues. Feedback from the tool will be analyzed and used to shape a crowdsourced set of key policy recommendations for decision-makers early next year, with input from privacy experts across the country. The launch of the tool comes just days after Peter MacKay’s spying legislation Bill C-13 passed the House of Commons on Monday, and follows over a year of revelations about how Canada’s spy agency CSEC has monitored law-abiding Canadians. "This is the second time we've seen the government try to ram through their unpopular, heavy-handed, and invasive approach to privacy,” says OpenMedia.ca communications manager David Christopher. “That's why it's more important than ever to come up with a positive, citizen-driven alternative - a crowdsourced vision that decision-makers will find impossible to ignore.” Christopher continued: “We know from past experience that one of the most powerful ways to speak out is to have our own solution in hand. That’s why we’ve launched this new initiative this morning. We know that what this government is doing is hugely unpopular, even among their own grassroots supporters. Now every Canadian has an opportunity to make their voice heard, and identify the privacy priorities that matter most to them.” Tom Henheffer, Executive Director of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), said: “Mass government surveillance reeks of authoritarianism. If citizens can’t communicate without fear of government eavesdropping, they do not truly live in a free and open society. Unfortunately, we’re now at a point where Canadians must fight to stop the erosion of their right to privacy.” Free Dominion’s Connie Fournier said: “As conservatives, we are utterly appalled by the direction our government has been taking with regard to privacy issues. There is no conservative principle that allows for this kind of dangerous control by government, and we strongly oppose their high-handed disregard for the will of the people and for the constitutional privacy rights of Canadians that were recently reaffirmed in the Spencer decision. We are pleased to partner with OpenMedia.ca in their plan to address this frightening privacy deficit. It's time.” Groups supporting the launch of the tool include: B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, Free Dominion, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, and the Privacy and Access Council of Canada. Canadians can take part by using the crowdsourcing tool at https://OpenMedia.org/PrivacyPlan -30- Contact David Christopher Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca 1-778-232-1858 david@openmedia.ca About OpenMedia.ca OpenMedia.ca is a network of people and organizations working to safeguard the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy. Through campaigns such as StopTheMeter.ca and StopSpying.ca, OpenMedia.ca has engaged over half-a-million Canadians, and has influenced public policy and federal law. About Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) CJFE monitors, defends and reports on free expression and access to information in Canada and abroad. Rooted in the field of journalism, CJFE promotes a free media as essential to a fair and open society. CJFE boldly champions the free expression rights of all people, and encourages and supports individuals and groups in the protection of their own and others' free expression rights. For more information, visit cjfe.org

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