Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

The Canadian Progressive: Illegal Spying: Class action lawsuit filed against Canada’s electronic spy agency

by: BC Civil Liberties Association | Press Release | April 1, 2014

VANCOUVER – Today, lawyers for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) filed a proposed national class action lawsuit on behalf of Canadians whose private communications and metadata information has been collected by the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) in a manner that violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The proposed class action statement of claim, filed today in Federal Court, is a companion case to the claim filed by the BCCLA in the B.C. Supreme Court in October of 2013. If the BCCLA’s original lawsuit (Read more…)

OpenMedia.ca: Protect Our Privacy with our Letter to the Editor tool

Highlight Image: 

Highlight Link:  https://openmedia.org/privacy/letter

Susan on the Soapbox: Alberta’s “Traffic Court Reform”: One Step Closer to a Police State

Justice Minister Denis is touting “Traffic Court Reform” as a “citizen-friendly” dispute resolution process to “resolve” traffic tickets. It’s also the first step into a quagmire that erases our civil liberties in order to save money (and help the minister meet his 2014 budget targets).

The Justice minister requested “feedback” on the four principles underlying his draconian proposal. I sent him the following response:

Principle 1: The premise underlying the request for feedback is flawed. It is based on the assertion that traffic matters should be removed from the traditional court system and into an administrative (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Rights groups demand independent oversight of federal agency CBSA

by: BC Civil Liberties Association | Press Release

Public inquiry recommended oversight in 2006 – no action since that time

The BC Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Council for Refugees and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers today called on the government to end its long inaction on the need for an independent and effective complaints and monitoring mechanism for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The Maher Arar judicial inquiry recommended that CBSA’s national security activities be subjected to independent review in 2006. The federal government has failed to act on this recommendation.

While CBSA has sweeping police (Read more…)

wmtc: freedom to read week 2014: celebrate your freedom to read

Image from Freedom to Read website

Freedom to Read Week 2014 runs from February 23 to March 1. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Freedom to Read Week in Canada.

Freedom to Read Week – called “Banned Books Week” in the United States – encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, a human right guaranteed to us under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. For me, it is also a time to celebrate the library as a bulwark against censorship, and for library workers to reflect on our jobs in a broader political context.

(Read more…)

wmtc: surveillance at the border: outrage fades as we accept the new normal?

The surveillance state continues to grow; news of its magnitude continues to trickle out. Some people shrug, claiming only criminals and terrorists need be concerned, but in these extreme conditions, that attitude looks increasingly ridiculous – or government-sponsored. The rest of us shudder and shake our heads… but what more?

The Canada-US border has become another instrument of the surveillance state. For decades, people have claimed that border agencies had access to all our personal information, including tax and credit status. In the past, that was a myth. Now, what was once paranoid rumour appears to be true.

We, the (Read more…)

wmtc: canadian woman refused entry to u.s. based on confidential health records

According to this news story, a Canadian woman named Ellen Richardson was refused entry into the United States because of a prior medical condition. That is, when the US border guards swiped her passport, information taken from her health records came up.

Now, the US can refuse entry to any non-citizen for any reason or no reason. The more important question is why was a Canadian’s confidential medical information in the Department of Homeland Security database?? How did it get there? How many of our health records are in the DHS database? You don’t need to wear a tinfoil (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Canada’s privacy czar questions Harper’s cyberbullying Bill C-13

Canada’s privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart says the Harper government’s new cyberbullying Bill C-13 lacks “accountability and reporting mechanisms to shed light on new investigative powers”.

The post Canada’s privacy czar questions Harper’s cyberbullying Bill C-13 appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Writings of J. Todd Ring: NAFTA, “Free Trade” and the TPP: Fast-Track To Full Corporate Rule

“Twenty years ago, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed into law. At the time, advocates painted a rosy picture of booming U.S. exports creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and economic development in Mexico, which would bring the struggling country in line with its wealthier northern neighbors. Two decades later, those […]

wmtc: on the internet, everybody knows you’re a dog (the story behind the iconic cartoon)

We all know the iconic cartoon the title of this post refers to. Boing Boing has republished a story about it, originally run in The Magazine, an ad-free, reader-supported magazine that looks really interesting.

It’s a wonderful little piece: the story behind the story, a glimpse into the life of people who try to earn a living from their own considerable talents, and a look back at the early days of the internet, and how things have changed, before tinfoil-hat predictions were proven to be not paranoia, but prescience.

Go here to read the story (really, it’s fun), and (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Civil Liberties Group Sues Spy Agency Over Illegal Spying On Canadians

The BC Civil Liberties Association has filed a lawsuit against Canadian spy agency ASEC, claims its surveillance of Canadians is unconstitutional.

The post Civil Liberties Group Sues Spy Agency Over Illegal Spying On Canadians appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Politics and its Discontents: For Those Who Don’t Know Their Place

What do you do when citizens believe that democratic rights should be more than an illusion? Call in the authorities to remind them of their true place in the foodchain.

On a related topic, The Star’s Rosie DiManno has an excoriating assessment of yet another free pass given by the SIU to the officers involved in the ‘high-risk’ takedown of 80-year-old Iole Pasquale, the dementia sufferer who was tasered, not once but twice, while meandering down the street in the middle of the night in late August holding a bread knife.

Says DiManno:

… as SIU head Ian Scott noted (Read more…)

wmtc: snowden: mass surveillance threatens to be the greatest human rights challenge of our time

The heroic Edward Snowden, in his own words, via Jesselyn Radack, at the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee in Brussels. I thank the European Parliament and the LIBE Committee for taking up the challenge of mass surveillance. The surveillance of whole populations, rather than individuals, threatens to be the greatest human rights challenge of our time. The success of economies in developed nations relies increasingly on their creative output, and if that success is to continue, we must remember that creativity is the product of curiosity, which in turn is the product of privacy.

A culture of secrecy has denied (Read more…)

Writings of J. Todd Ring: The deeper reasons for the “war on drugs”

There is a deeper reason for the war on drugs, which is the central reason for the policy, even outweighing profits from private prisons and seizure of property by law enforcement officers, both of which no doubt are also significant and strong motivations for keeping the “war on drugs” going. Nearly thirty years ago, Chomsky […]

wmtc: snowden, greenwald, miranda, and the creeping police state: one month later, we should still be disturbed

One month ago, something happened that should trouble us gravely.

Something happened that people who believe in democracy and free speech and an independent media and civil liberties and human rights should find appalling and unacceptable.

It’s old news by now; anything that occurs one month ago is ancient history. I wasn’t able to blog about it at the time, and in a way that is good. Events of great significance occur – our rights continue to shrink, governmental powers continue to expand, fascism and police states continue to be normalized – and we rarely have a moment to process (Read more…)

wmtc: a witchunt and its backlash: interest in "a people’s history" surges, thanks to censorship attempts

Once upon a time in the state of Indiana…

Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States, one of the country’s most widely read history books, died on January 27, 2010. Shortly after, then-Governor of Indiana Mitch Daniels got on his computer and fired off an email to the state’s top education officials: “This terrible anti-American academic has finally passed away.”

But Gov. Daniels, now president of Purdue University, was not content merely to celebrate Howard Zinn’s passing. He demanded that Zinn’s work be hunted down in Indiana schools and suppressed: “The obits and commentaries mentioned (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Democracy Now interview: Ladar Levison talks about decision to close Lavabit rather than comply with U.S. government

In a follow-up to the previous entry I’m posting a Democracy Now interview with Lavabit owner and operator Ladar Levison.

Levison made the difficult decision to shut down the encrypted email service, Lavabit, after an apparent bid by the U.S. government to gain access to customer data. As mentioned in the previous post, it’s been reported that Lavabit was a service used by NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden.

Also check out a Democracy Now interview with Nicholas Merrill, who operated a New York-based internet service. Merrill was the recipient of a “national security letter” that ordered him to hand over (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Bradley Manning found not guilty of aiding the enemy, guilty of lesser charges

Military judge Colonel Denise Lind found whistleblower Bradley Manning not guilty of the serious charge of “aiding the enemy”, and guilty of lesser charges which still carry the possibility of over 100 years behind bars.

The post Bradley Manning found not guilty of aiding the enemy, guilty of lesser charges appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: Whistleblowers Blast NSA Programs, Award Snowden

by: Institute for Public Accuracy | Press Release:

WASHINGTON, July 8, 2013 – Edward Snowden has been named recipient of this year’s “award for truth telling” given by Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence. The following are members of the group or past recipients of the award. The group’s statement is below.

DANIEL ELLSBERG, ellsbergd1 at gmail.com Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971. He wrote an op-ed that was published today in the Washington Post, which notes that “for the whole two years I was under indictment, I was free to speak to the media (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Journalist Glenn Greenwald interviews NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden [VIDEO]

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘” don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things”

Video available on YouTube

We recommend: The NSA Black Hole: 5 Basic Things We Still Don’t Know About the Agency’s Snooping #freebrad: Tweeting Bradley Manning Trial Before US Military Court CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou: Torture was official US policy ‘Why I Did It’: Whistleblower Bradley Manning Tells US Military Court Aaron Swartz’s Last Gift: Site Launches Whistleblower Safe House

The post Journalist Glenn Greenwald interviews NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden [VIDEO] appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

. . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Journalist Glenn Greenwald interviews NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden [VIDEO]

The Canadian Progressive: Dissent or Terror: New Report Details How Counter Terrorism Apparatus Was Used to Monitor Occupy Movement Nationwide

By: Center for Media and Democracy | Press Release: MADISON, WI – May 20 – DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy today released the results of a year-long investigation: “Dissent or Terror: How the Nation’s Counter Terrorism Apparatus, In Partnership With Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street.” The report, a distillation of thousands [...]

The post Dissent or Terror: New Report Details How Counter Terrorism Apparatus Was Used to Monitor Occupy Movement Nationwide appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Politics and its Discontents: Our Inconvenient Civil Liberties/Charter Rights

It may be that I am overly sensitive to the reactionary agenda that seems to dominate society today. It may be that I am misinterpreting a public statement made by a Canadian professor who teaches at both the Royal Military College of Canada and Queen’s University. It may mean nothing at all. Or it could have very dangerous implications.

Ever since the terrorist attacks in New York in 2001, there has been a steady erosion of civil liberties in the United States. Illegal renditions by that country, aided and abetted by many other jurisdictions, targetting American citizens for assassination, (Read more…) denying suspects their Miranda rights are but three examples.

Lest we think we are beyond such practices in Canada, we need only think of the infamous case of Maher Arar, whose rendition to Syria for torture and imprisonment was aided and abetted by our government.

. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Our Inconvenient Civil Liberties/Charter Rights

Politics and its Discontents: Our Inconvenient Civil Liberties/Charter Rights

It may be that I am overly sensitive to the reactionary agenda that seems to dominate society today. It may be that I am misinterpreting a public statement made by a Canadian professor who teaches at both the Royal Military College of Canada and Queen’s University. It may mean nothing at all. Or it could have very dangerous implications.

Ever since the terrorist attacks in New York in 2001, there has been a steady erosion of civil liberties in the United States. Illegal renditions by that country, aided and abetted by many other jurisdictions, targetting American citizens for assassination, (Read more…) denying suspects their Miranda rights are but three examples.

Lest we think we are beyond such practices in Canada, we need only think of the infamous case of Maher Arar, whose rendition to Syria for torture and imprisonment was aided and abetted by our government.

. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Our Inconvenient Civil Liberties/Charter Rights

The Ranting Canadian: Young woman arrested for posting photo of graffitti online

Young woman arrested for posting photo of graffitti online:

According to CBC News:

A 20-year-old woman has been accused of criminal harassment and intimidation against a high-ranking Montreal police officer after she posted a photo of anti-police graffiti online.

Pawluck insists that she’s done nothing wrong and the actions of the Montreal police amount to harassment.

Montreal criminal defence attorney Eric Sutton says the Crown will have to prove that Lafrenière reasonably feared for his safety because of the photo posted by Pawluck.

“I think this may be somewhat of a political statement by the police

. . . → Read More: The Ranting Canadian: Young woman arrested for posting photo of graffitti online