The Harper Government is obsessed with Big Brother
Canadian citizens have a right to be concerned, their government is taking the most unprecedented steps in recent history to monitor and manipulate our rights and freedoms. George Orwell wrote his “1984” as a warning and Harper’s government is obsessed with turning it into a handbook.
The Conservatives have and will continue to use any excuse they can acquire to hijack civil liberties and establish a legitimate assault on the privacy and freedoms of Canadian citizens. This is a government that has increased its communications staff by 15% to 4,000 people since they took power to do two things: monitor what you say and brainwash your way of thinking. This is a government who justified its last piece of spy legislation by telling its opposition to either “stand with us or with the child pornographers.” It didn’t take long before the irony set in that former Public Safety Minister Vic Toews didn’t have the cleanest record to be uttering such nonsense – and even more telling, he didn’t like his private life exposed either.
To make matters worse, the Conservatives are now using cyber-bullying as a frontal assault to legitimize their spying and censoring agenda. Imagine having a government decide what’s right and wrong on a fly and have an RCMP officer at your doorstep without a warrant. Today, such an action is illegal, but the Conservative legislation proposed and shot down last year that is trying to be revived now would make such an endeavor possible. The government doesn’t trust its citizens and its citizens have no reason to trust “their government.”
In February, former Justice Minister Rob Nicholson told Canadians they “listened to their concerns” and by consequence, “We will not be proceeding with Bill C-30 and any attempts that we will continue to have to modernize the Criminal Code will not contain the measures contained in C-30.”
Little did Canadians know that replacing Nicholson with Peter MacKay would inevitably break that word.
In a statement earlier this month, MacKay said, “Our Government is committed to ensuring that our children are safe from online predators and from online exploitation.” This to open new anti-cyber-bullying policy that would give the government the warrantless ability to monitor Canadian communications to find and combat cyber-bullying, and “revenge porn.” In the same ways that reporting these kind of crimes to the police after they occur, this legislation would do nothing but combat it after the fact, just at the mercy of every law abiding citizen whose personal discussions and opinions are now being monitored by one of the most power-obsessed governments of our time.
Add to this, the vague wording of the proposed bill, and we get this: “Everyone commits an offence who, without lawful excuse and with intent to harass a person, repeatedly communicates, or causes repeated communications to be made, with them by a means of telecommunication.” This bill isn’t about cyber-bullying, it’s about monitoring every step you make online.
Going deeper into this bill, we find another disturbing trait, the ability to monitor software and downloads, instantly convicting those who don’t use it “lawfully.” To make matters worse, the consequences are surreal, a lengthy jail sentence and the inability to own a computer for the rest of their lives… In even more detail, judges would be given the power to ban internet use and to seize computers and electronic devices.
Going deeper into their troublesome agenda, we find the encouragement of Internet Service Providers to monitor and hand over data they collect about their clients, everything from the websites they view to how they use them. Bell has already started tracking its users to ‘improve consumer quality’ but given this bill, any attempts Bell makes to safeguard such data for its corporate interests would be quashed by the state which wishes to criminalize its citizens online and manipulate their freedom of speech in doing so. Would you criticize your government if you suspected you could be hacked or arrested for it? Make no doubts, this policy is dangerous because it creates the possibility for our government to silence their critics and manipulate its citizens.
Legitimizing the monitoring and censoring of data is nothing new. Our neighbors south of the border already fall victim to such prey as the NSA has forced Google and Yahoo to fork over all their clients’ information and personal emails.
While this legislation, unlike previous legislation, doesn’t force ISPs to install monitoring systems and force a regime of warrantless surveillance, the new legislation opens all the doors necessary to implement these systems and to decriminalize the act of sharing private information from corporations meaning that instead of forcing the information over, secret arrangements elsewhere can and likely will be used.
But don’t worry, this legislation will protect you from terrorists and the guy down the street who is using your cable illegally. Let’s not criticize this legislation too much though, they have a network of payed employees monitoring sites and social media to respond with propaganda and to funnel the information needed to make propaganda. Let’s not worry too much, that was a worthy 4,000 person addition to our bureaucracy. As we speak, the government is going through a procurement process, looking for a firm that “continuously monitors social media content on a daily basis in near real time and (can) provide web-based, online media metrics and reporting capabilities.”
The firm is being asked to monitor both languages of communications through “blogs, micro-blogs, social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter, forums and message boards, traditional news websites and comment sections, media sharing websites (videos, photos and user-generated content websites including YouTube),” according to the procurement documents inside Public Works.
Public Works wouldn’t comment to CBC on the scouting process, but don’t worry, propaganda will continue to be the government’s strong suit.
Recently, outlawed American whistle-blower Edward Snowden revealed “Top Secret” documents indicating how our government allowed the NSA to work on Canadian soil at the G20 summit two years ago. Neither governments were willing to comment. Our trade partners won’t be thrilled about the spying plot, but what should you expect from governments like those of Stephen Harper here and President Barack Obama in the United States?
But don’t worry, we are only looking at the icing of the cake and the insides must taste real good, that is, if you are as obsessed about Big Brother as current governments are. Then-Defense Minister Peter MacKay passed a minister’s directive to secretly have CSEC spy on Canadians two years ago. But, again, don’t worry, “1984” now merits its warning because we have politicians who are actively trying to turn it into a world-wide life experiment. Sadly, we’re stuck with it until we get rid of it and no matter what politician of any political stripe tells you, you can’t trust the government and the government isn’t the means of “the collective.”
Are you concerned with Harper’s obsession with big brother?