The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and The Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) have long been in the anti-terrorist racket, but now it appears that terrorists include people like you and me who might support Greenpeace and PETA. According to documents released under the Access Information legislation and reported in the Globe and Mail,
Federal security services have identified Greenpeace and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals as the kind of “multi-issue extremist” groups that pose a threat to Canadians.
Greenpeace director Bruce Cox says it is ridiculous.
This is part of the government’s attitude that ‘you’re either with us or against us,’” Mr. Cox said. “We do not pose a threat to public safety and we are not a violent threat.
PETA loves every minute of it, every time they are in the paper, as long as they spell their name right.
If it is extreme to oppose bashing in the heads of baby seals, anally electrocuting chinchillas for a coat collar, scalding chickens to death in defeathering tanks, and poisoning cats in cruel lab experiments, then so be it,” said Jane Dollinger, the group’s Washington-based spokeswoman.
More in the Globe and Mail.
Now you or I might say that's fine, it doesn't affect me, I am not a member of these groups, I just donate a bit of money to them. But when you combine this with the changes that the government proposes on warrantless internet surveillance, you have a real problem in this country. Vic Toews, the Minister of Public Safety, has just introduced legislation that allows warrantless access to all kinds of private information from our internet service provider, all under the guise of dealing with child pornography. It is even called the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act. The National Post summarizes the powers given under the act:
In addition to a name, address, phone number and email address, companies would also be required to hand over the Internet protocol address and a series of device identification numbers, allowing police to build a detailed profile on a person using their digital footprint and to facilitate the tracking of a person’s movement through the location of their cellphone.
Toews says that if you are against the act, "you are with us, or you are with the child pornographers." People of all political stripes are outraged; even the conservative writer Margaret Wente says On Internet privacy, I’m with the child pornographers.
In the meantime the Internet is fighting back. In Canada the media tend to still respect the privacy of politicians, so we don't usually see people digging into public records and exposing scandals. But somebody is, tweeting "Vic wants to know about you. Let's get to know about Vic" and is tweeting the records from Toew's acrimonious divorce after he had a child with the babysitter, which are shocking, along with all of his expenses, which are hilarious.
The scary part of this legislation is that basically, if you support any organization trying to stop the Gateway pipeline, if you have any interest in animal rights, they can just open up your internet records, which the service provider is required to keep, having been forced to buy equipment that allows police to enter a "back door" into your computer. Heather Mallick of the Star writes:
Online, people are saying they’re ashamed to be Canadian. I’m not ashamed. I’m frightened.