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  • Mass surveillance: Time to heed the voices in the wilderness | Amnesty International Canada
    EPA ALEX EHLERS It s time to draw a line under the debate Edward Snowden sparked with his revelations about intrusive government mass surveillance and move on So the UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told a meeting of national security and intelligence professionals last month He was wrong In fact the debate is only beginning Just two days after Hammond s speech the UK Parliament s Intelligence and Security Committee released a report which concluded that British laws governing intelligence agencies and mass surveillance require a complete overhaul to make them more transparent and understandable Amnesty International called the country s regulation of government surveillance an inadequate mess This is not mere rhetoric The organization is in the process of bringing fresh legal action against both the UK and US governments to challenge their use of indiscriminate mass surveillance programmes to hoover up our communications emails calls internet searches contact lists phone locations webcam images and more on an unprecedented scale Both these challenges proceed from the basis that such programmes constitute a fundamental breach of the human rights to privacy and freedom of expression As far as human rights organizations are concerned the surveillance of their confidential communications with their contacts also has grave implications for their ability to carry out their day to day work Conversation piece Digital rights experts say that the debate over these issues not just with governments but with the powerful tech giants behind the internet will be crucial to ensure that the online world remains a place where rights are protected One of these growing number of voices in the wilderness is Andrew Puddephatt Executive Director of Global Partners Digital An expert on freedom of expression policy and practice for decades he has focused extensively on digital rights National governments as well as intergovernmental organizations such as the Council of Europe the Commonwealth UNDP and UNESCO have sought his advice According to Puddephatt those fighting to ensure the right to privacy is respected online are stuck between Scylla and Charybdis facing off against restrictive governments on the one hand and profit seeking corporations on the other But he is adamant that the dialogue needs to continue not only with national governments but also with the private sector I think we need to be talking to the companies who are at the forefront of innovation not in an antagonistic way but just to say it s just useful for us to understand where you re going with the technology To have a conversation about any potential human rights implications that we see said Puddephatt Massive transformation When it was founded the internet was seen as a space where free speech and open debate could flourish Today that vision is under attack And the human rights implications are far ranging There is massive transformation going on all around us but we re like rabbits in the headlights Puddephatt warned he internet and the ever expanding range of new applications it hosts social media networks video

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/blog/mass-surveillance-time-to-heed-the-voices-in-the-wilderness (2016-02-13)
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  • Lessons from the Stasi: A cautionary tale on mass surveillance | Amnesty International Canada
    Contact Us Home Lessons from the Stasi A cautionary tale on mass surveillance Wednesday April 1 2015 08 38 Photo Credit The Stasi s massive archive held files on millions Photo credit JOHN MACDOUGALL AFP Getty Images By Thomas Coombes Campaigns press officer at Amnesty International Follow Thomas on Twitter T Coombes Four decades of domination over almost all aspects of life in East Germany came to an abrupt halt exactly 25 years ago today On 31 March 1990 one of the most intrusive surveillance organisations in human history the Ministry for State Security more infamously known as the Stasi was dissolved Two months ago I was at the old Stasi headquarters today a museum in Berlin for an open day commemorating the storming of the building by East Germans a few weeks after the Berlin Wall fell There were film screenings discussions information stands and a tour through the Stasi s enormous archive that at one point contained files on an estimated six million people Some say a file was kept for one in three citizens It took me an hour to wander through the archive Thousands of Germans visiting the site appeared shell shocked amid the labyrinth of corridors and ceiling high filing cabinets that had documented and controlled their lives or the lives of others for years The very building with its grey concrete Communist era architecture was a symbol of fear the place you were taken for interrogation or intimidation While the Stasi archive is overwhelming today s spies can gather far more information with a fraction of the effort The Snowden revelations suggest the NSA can collect 5 billion records of mobile phone location a day and 42 billion internet records including email and browsing history a month German organisation OpenDataCity estimates that while the Stasi archives would fill 48 000 filing cabinets just one US government server could store so much data that if printed out the reams of paper would fill 42 trillion filing cabinets We know very little about what the NSA does with all this data But leaving historical parallels aside the Stasi archive is a timely warning of the potential consequences of unchecked surveillance It shows how quickly a system for identifying threats evolves into a desire to know everything about everyone If knowledge is power so is personal data The Stasi took surveillance to unprecedented intrusive levels to gather deep knowledge about what people did and said which they used to manipulate and control the population Like the USA and the UK who today intercept our emails and internet records the Stasi sought to infiltrate personal life to collect intimate information about peoples lives to identify those they considered a threat In the Stasi museum today you can see the personal and seemingly inane material kept on file including photographs of bedrooms and record collections The Stasi s surveillance network spiralled out into every aspect of daily life Among an estimated 274 000 employees were at least 174 000

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/blog/lessons-from-the-stasi-a-cautionary-tale-on-mass-surveillance (2016-02-13)
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  • Easy guide to mass surveillance | Amnesty International Canada
    the Death Penalty Treatment of Prisoners Setting and Upholding Standards Freedom of Expression and Assembly in Vietnam and Cambodia Individuals at Risk Focus on Asia Pacific Human Rights Defenders in the Americas North Korea Prison Camps Pakistan Attacks on Journalists Use of Blasphemy Laws Training and Capacity Building Get Involved Take Action Now Online Actions Petition Library Urgent Action Network Latest Urgent Actions Donate Come and join us Sign Up Be a Youth Activist 2015 Human Rights College for Youth Dance for Rights Human Rights College 2015 Planning Committee Member Application Lifesaver Actions for Young Activists Student Group Registration Form Youth Leadership Oppotunitities Join a group Community Activism Volunteer Leadership Fieldworkers Join our Membership Consultation Committee MCC Volunteers Wanted Nova Scotia University Orientation Week Country and Theme Coordinators in Canada The Board of Directors Resources for Activists Activism Fund Have your say Seasonal Activism Guide Meet our Team Work Volunteer Opportunities Donate Become a Monthly Donor Sign Up Online Your Donations at Work Amnesty Canvassers Telephone Canvassing Make a One time Donation Donate Online Leave a gift in your will Why we are remembering Amnesty in our wills Bequests RRIFs and RRSPs Life Insurance Contact our Planned Giving Associate Disclaimer Gifts of Stocks and Securities Give a Gift in Memoriam Send a Special Occasion Gift Raise Money for Human Rights Tips for Raising Money Fundraising Q As Donate a car Update your monthly donor information Join Us About Us What we do Key Facts about Amnesty International How We Make A Difference Our Leaders Our Impact Governance Financial Information Work With Us FAQ Members Thank You Contact Us Home Easy guide to mass surveillance Wednesday March 18 2015 11 47 Photo Credit A man stands in Grand Central Terminal NYC REUTERS Zoran Milich Your two minute UnfollowMe guide to how our governments are collecting and monitoring all our private data With thanks to Privacy International What is surveillance Surveillance is the monitoring of a person s communications actions or movements When is surveillance legal Broadly when it is necessary targeted based on sufficient evidence of wrongdoing and authorised by a strictly independent authority such as a judge What is mass surveillance Indiscriminate mass surveillance is the monitoring of internet and phone communications of large numbers of people sometimes entire countries without sufficient evidence of wrongdoing Can mass surveillance ever be legal Governments can legalise mass surveillance in their own country but that would completely contradict the international laws that most nations have signed up to Who are the five eyes The five eyes refers to an intelligence sharing alliance between Australia Canada New Zealand UK and USA What is GCHQ Government Communications Headquarters is the security agency responsible for providing communications intelligence to the UK government What is the NSA The National Security Agency is responsible for collecting and analysing intelligence information and data in the USA Are governments spying on me If you use the internet or a mobile phone the answer is probably yes Secret government surveillance Programmes

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/blog/easy-guide-to-mass-surveillance (2016-02-13)
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  • 8 Facts You Need to Know: Why We’re Suing to Stop Surveillance – and Protect Human Rights | Amnesty International Canada
    Consultation Committee MCC Volunteers Wanted Nova Scotia University Orientation Week Country and Theme Coordinators in Canada The Board of Directors Resources for Activists Activism Fund Have your say Seasonal Activism Guide Meet our Team Work Volunteer Opportunities Donate Become a Monthly Donor Sign Up Online Your Donations at Work Amnesty Canvassers Telephone Canvassing Make a One time Donation Donate Online Leave a gift in your will Why we are remembering Amnesty in our wills Bequests RRIFs and RRSPs Life Insurance Contact our Planned Giving Associate Disclaimer Gifts of Stocks and Securities Give a Gift in Memoriam Send a Special Occasion Gift Raise Money for Human Rights Tips for Raising Money Fundraising Q As Donate a car Update your monthly donor information Join Us About Us What we do Key Facts about Amnesty International How We Make A Difference Our Leaders Our Impact Governance Financial Information Work With Us FAQ Members Thank You Contact Us Home 8 Facts You Need to Know Why We re Suing to Stop Surveillance and Protect Human Rights Wednesday March 11 2015 15 08 Photo Credit March 2014 demonstration at the office of Senate Intelligence Committee JIM WATSON AFP Getty Images Amnesty International USA has gone to court represented by the ACLU because in a world under threat of constant all encompassing surveillance our work to protect human rights is made much harder The U S surveillance machine is thwarting Amnesty International USA s ability to protect people from human rights violations including governments that torture kidnap and extrajudiciallly kill people for their non violent protest dissent and activism Here are 8 facts you need to know about how Amnesty International works and why mass surveillance harms our ability to protect human rights 1 Amnesty International bears witness to brutality violence and atrocities We send researchers into conflict zones We are on the ground in places throughout the world to collect evidence of human rights abuses We ask people to tell us the horrors they saw whether they are the witnesses or the lone survivors 2 These people our sources are often taking a personal risk by talking to us Our worst fear is that they could be retaliated against by police intelligence or security forces who found out they spoke to us It is for this reason that we take precautions to ensure the confidentiality of our communications and their identities 3 But in a world of mass surveillance by the U S government our precautions may not provide enough protection to our sources When Edward Snowden was asked if the U S spied on highly sensitive and confidential communications of human rights organizations including Amnesty International he responded The answer is without question yes Absolutely And the U S government has never officially denied Snowden s allegation 4 Even putting that aside the sheer enormity of the U S surveillance machine can cause our sources to fear they can t talk to us without being put under U S surveillance And the U S

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/blog/8-facts-you-need-to-know-why-we%E2%80%99re-suing-to-stop-surveillance-%E2%80%93-and-protect-human-rights (2016-02-13)
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  • 5 reasons why we should care about mass surveillance | Amnesty International Canada
    our Team Work Volunteer Opportunities Donate Become a Monthly Donor Sign Up Online Your Donations at Work Amnesty Canvassers Telephone Canvassing Make a One time Donation Donate Online Leave a gift in your will Why we are remembering Amnesty in our wills Bequests RRIFs and RRSPs Life Insurance Contact our Planned Giving Associate Disclaimer Gifts of Stocks and Securities Give a Gift in Memoriam Send a Special Occasion Gift Raise Money for Human Rights Tips for Raising Money Fundraising Q As Donate a car Update your monthly donor information Join Us About Us What we do Key Facts about Amnesty International How We Make A Difference Our Leaders Our Impact Governance Financial Information Work With Us FAQ Members Thank You Contact Us Home 5 reasons why we should care about mass surveillance Wednesday February 25 2015 15 57 By Tanya O Carroll adviser in Amnesty International s Technology and Human Rights program Follow her on Twitter TanyaOCarroll Every border you cross every purchase you make every call you dial every cell phone tower you pass friend you keep article you write site you visit is in the hands of a system whose reach is unlimited but whose safeguards are not Edward Snowden CITIZENFOUR In June 2013 Edward Snowden revealed the shocking extent of government spy networks across the world The documents he released laid bare how governments are using illegal mass surveillance to collect store and analyse millions of people s private communications around the world It is almost two years since Snowden s first disclosures CITIZENFOUR the powerful film directed by Laura Poitras documents those tense days when the revelations first hit with Snowden confined to his hotel room as the storm erupts On Saturday the film was awarded an Oscar for best documentary 2014 The film lays out the case against mass surveillance in brilliant and terrifying detail and the need to bring government surveillance powers back within the law For those who haven t watched it yet here are 5 reasons why you should care about what Snowden revealed to the world 1 Mass surveillance treats us all like criminals The Snowden files show our governments are hoovering up every private communication we make and every trace of digital data we leave behind When they do that they abandon long standing principles of law which says that surveillance must be targeted based on sufficient evidence of wrongdoing and authorised by a strictly independent authority such as a judge Instead they re treating us all as criminal suspects guilty until proven innocent and every detail of our personal lives as suspicious 2 Mass surveillance doesn t help catch terrorists Our politicians keep saying they need more spying powers so they can catch terrorists But there isn t any evidence that mass surveillance will help them Before the attacks in Paris the security services identified the suspects but then ruled them out No amount of our personal data would have made up for this The truth is that governments

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/blog/5-reasons-why-we-should-care-about-mass-surveillance (2016-02-13)
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  • Insecurity and Human Rights: Canada’s proposed national security laws fall short of international human rights requirements | Amnesty International Canada
    General of Amnesty International Canada Anti terrorism laws cannot put human rights second to security and absolutely must not be used to target or have disproportionate impact on individuals and groups exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of religion expression and association Bill C 51 proposes unprecedented new powers for Canadian Security Intelligence Service CSIS officers to take action to reduce security threats But these powers are based on a broad definition of threats to the security of Canada that exceeds the current definition of terrorism in Canada criminal law While advocacy protest and dissent activities that are lawful are excluded any such activities that while not lawful are certainly not criminal would be susceptible to interference and disruption through these new powers Demonstrating without an official permit or protesting despite a court order activities that are commonly carried out by Indigenous communities environmental groups the labour movement and many others could be targeted by the new CSIS powers even though they are fully protected under the Charter of Rights and international law These new powers to reduce security threats by CSIS agents are not defined The only exclusions are acts that would lead to death bodily harm perversion of justice or violation of sexual integrity Other internationally guaranteed human rights such as liberty privacy and freedom of expression are not protected from these new CSIS powers CSIS agents can also seek authorization from Federal Court Judges for warrants to take action that violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and permits them to act in disregard of local law in the countries where they are operating These new powers proposed by Bill C 51 are being given to officials without the training command structures accountability or public transparency that is required by other law enforcement agencies Bill C 51 creates a new criminal offence of advocating or promoting the commission of terrorism offences in general The breadth of what is included has the potential to violate and cast a chill on freedom of expression As the briefing notes it is not clear why a new offence is necessary when directly inciting threatening counselling or conspiring to commit terrorist activities are already offences In addition the new offence serves as the basis for what the Bill categorizes as terrorist propaganda and gives new power to seize publications and material stored on a computer system Also expanded in Bill C 51 is the power to detain without charge individuals suspected of planning to commit terrorist acts Detention without charge under recognizance with conditions provisions is extended from the current three to seven days The threshold of suspicion for detention has been lowered to believing that a terrorist activity may be carried out from the previous will And taking a person into custody is no longer because it is necessary to prevent a terrorist action but rather that it is simply likely The UN Human Rights Committee has made it clear that such detention should be limited to where the person

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/news/news-releases/insecurity-and-human-rights-canada%E2%80%99s-proposed-national-security-laws-fall-short (2016-02-13)
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  • Canada: Rights groups welcome statement from eminent Canadians calling for review and oversight of national security activities | Amnesty International Canada
    Background Resources Donate Contact Mexico Zimbabwe Russia Central African Republic The Rebellion in the Middle East and North Africa Libya Bahrain Yemen Egypt Tunisia Syria Iran Iraq Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories Nigeria Ukraine Individuals at Risk Case Updates Huseyin Celil Raif Badawi Good News 2014 in Pictures 2015 in Pictures Projects Syrian refugees Global Campaign to Stop Torture Focus on priority countries China Illegal Detention and Torture Europe Human Rights Migration Control Bringing the Arms Trade Treaty into Force Strategic Arms Controls Working Against the Death Penalty Treatment of Prisoners Setting and Upholding Standards Freedom of Expression and Assembly in Vietnam and Cambodia Individuals at Risk Focus on Asia Pacific Human Rights Defenders in the Americas North Korea Prison Camps Pakistan Attacks on Journalists Use of Blasphemy Laws Training and Capacity Building Get Involved Take Action Now Online Actions Petition Library Urgent Action Network Latest Urgent Actions Donate Come and join us Sign Up Be a Youth Activist 2015 Human Rights College for Youth Dance for Rights Human Rights College 2015 Planning Committee Member Application Lifesaver Actions for Young Activists Student Group Registration Form Youth Leadership Oppotunitities Join a group Community Activism Volunteer Leadership Fieldworkers Join our Membership Consultation Committee MCC Volunteers Wanted Nova Scotia University Orientation Week Country and Theme Coordinators in Canada The Board of Directors Resources for Activists Activism Fund Have your say Seasonal Activism Guide Meet our Team Work Volunteer Opportunities Donate Become a Monthly Donor Sign Up Online Your Donations at Work Amnesty Canvassers Telephone Canvassing Make a One time Donation Donate Online Leave a gift in your will Why we are remembering Amnesty in our wills Bequests RRIFs and RRSPs Life Insurance Contact our Planned Giving Associate Disclaimer Gifts of Stocks and Securities Give a Gift in Memoriam Send a Special Occasion Gift Raise Money for Human Rights Tips for Raising Money Fundraising Q As Donate a car Update your monthly donor information Join Us About Us What we do Key Facts about Amnesty International How We Make A Difference Our Leaders Our Impact Governance Financial Information Work With Us FAQ Members Thank You Contact Us Home Media Awards Multimedia Canada Rights groups welcome statement from eminent Canadians calling for review and oversight of national security activities Public statements Joint Press Release February 19 2015 Today a group of 22 eminent Canadians comprised of former Prime Ministers Ministers of Justice Ministers of Public Safety Solicitors General Supreme Court of Canada Justices and members of national security law enforcement and privacy review bodies published a statement in The Globe and Mail and La Presse calling urgently for an enhanced approach to national security review and oversight in the country The group includes men and women whose public service in areas where they have been responsible for addressing wide ranging national security challenges stretches from 1968 to 2014 This important statement comes at a time when Canada is considering a radical expansion of national security powers across government but has made no equivalent proposals for

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/news/public-statements/joint-press-release/canada-rights-groups-welcome-statement-from-eminent (2016-02-13)
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  • Guantánamo hunger strikes: Five steps the US government must take to end the injustice | Amnesty International Canada
    About Us What we do Key Facts about Amnesty International How We Make A Difference Our Leaders Our Impact Governance Financial Information Work With Us FAQ Members Thank You Contact Us Home Guantánamo hunger strikes Five steps the US government must take to end the injustice Tuesday May 7 2013 09 49 Given the uncertainty and anxieties surrounding their prolonged and apparently indefinite detention in Guantánamo it is scarcely surprising that people s frustrations boil over and they resort to such desperate measures High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on the latest Guantánamo hunger strikes In a matter of weeks the number of detainees recognized by the Guantánamo authorities as being on hunger strike increased dramatically from fourteen detainees in mid March to one hundred by the end of April Twenty three hunger strikers are now being tube fed and four of these detainees are in hospital A number of those being force fed are reportedly detainees approved for transfer years ago by the US authorities In the wake of the US Navy sending forty more medical personnel to Guantánamo to respond to the hunger strike the American Medical Association raised concerns with US Secretary of Defense Charles Hagel about the medical ethics of force feeding mentally competent hunger strikers Hunger strikes and the practice of force feeding began in Guantánamo in 2005 and have contented periodically since then A backdrop of injustice Whatever the initial trigger was for the current hunger strike there is no escaping the backdrop to it detainees being held year after year after year with no indication of when if ever they will be released or brought to trial Distress and protest are predictable outcomes of treating detainees as if they have no human rights essentially cut off from families and communities that are continents away and their fate left to the whims of domestic politics with no consideration of international human rights law and principles As early as January 2004 the International Committee of the Red Cross ICRC the only outside agency with access to the Guantánamo detainees issued a rare public statement noting that they had observed a worrying deterioration in the psychological health of a large number of them In the intervening nine years that warning has gone largely unheeded On April 11 2013 ICRC President Peter Maurer again went public calling on the United States including its Congress to urgently find a way to resolve all pending humanitarian legal and policy issues relating to the detention of persons held at Guantánamo Bay International criticism of Guantánamo now also includes many of the US government s close allies The UK government s 2013 human rights report stated that the indefinite detention without trial of persons in Guantánamo Bay is unacceptable and that the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay should be closed US President Obama has repeatedly promised to close down the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay and blames the US Congress for blocking the way Yet other options are clearly available

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/blog/guant%C3%A1namo-hunger-strikes-five-steps-the-us-government-must-take-to-end-the-injustice (2016-02-13)
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