#CyberFLASH: Canadian privacy advocates joining Day We Fight Back campaign

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Two years after the death of the Stop Online Piracy Act bill in the U.S., privacy advocates around the world are staging another online protest. This time around, it’s not to stop one bill – it’s to protest how the world’s government intelligence agencies are collecting data on their citizens.

Branded as “The Day We Fight Back” campaign, more than 6,000 websites are taking part in the protest, with sites like Demand Progress, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Reddit putting banners at the bottom of the screen to encourage people to participate. Companies like Google, Twitter, and Mozilla are also joining in.

Here in Canada, a number of privacy-based organizations have been active with The Day We Fight Back as well. While the NSA is a U.S. government agency, the Canadian government has a similar agency in Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), an arm of the government responsible for collecting metadata on its citizens – and Canadian privacy advocates need to push back, says David Christopher, communications manager for OpenMedia.ca, based in B.C.

“Six months ago, there wasn’t a huge number of people following this … [But] there is a building sense of momentum and something’s really got to change,” Christopher says, adding there needs to be more oversight over CSEC’s activities, including curbing its spending. Plus, the CSEC commissioner needs to have more power to conduct independent reviews of the agency, he says.

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