Thursday, January 23, 2014

Call for telecom transparency

The Citizen Lab and other Canadian academics and civil rights organizations are calling on Canadian telecommunications companies to reveal to Canadians the amount and kinds of customer data they are providing to government (Ian MacLeod, "Reveal extent of government data surveillance, campaign asks telecom companies," Ottawa Citizen, 22 January 2014):
Government spying on Canadians’ digital lives has leading privacy, security and civil rights scholars pressing hard for telecommunications companies to finally reveal the extent of customer data handed over to police, security services and others.

A campaign led by the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs issued a letter this week to the country’s Internet and phone service providers asking how, when and why they disclose private and personal information to agents of the state.

“We’re giving service providers the opportunity to tell their side of the story in a non-adversarial way,” said Christopher Parsons, a post-doctoral fellow organizing the campaign at the University of Toronto’s Munk school lab.

“It puts data on the table that Canadians, researchers, everyone can start having a much more nuanced discussion on lawful access” by government to personal digital information.
The letter sent to the companies can be read here.

More on the campaign from the Citizen Lab: Towards Transparency in Canadian Telecommunications, January 22, 2014

Other recent calls for greater transparency and a real debate on the balance between surveillance and privacy in Canada:

- Wesley Wark, "The debate Canada won’t have," Ottawa Citizen, 21 January 2014
- Wesley Wark, "Reforming the Spy Game," CIPS Blog, 21 January 2014
- Travis Lupick, "Cyberspace expert Ron Deibert raises the alarm on government surveillance in Canada," Straight.com, 21 January 2014

Update 25 January 2014: Michael Geist, "Why Canada’s telecoms should come clean about customer information," Toronto Star, 24 January 2014.

Update 29 January 2014
: Christopher Parsons, "More Voices Call for Transparency in Canadian Telecommunications," Technology, Thoughts & Trinkets blog, 28 January 2014.

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