#CyberFLASH: How Bill C-51 Eviscerates Privacy Protection

images-126As witnesses line up to warn about the dangers associated with Bill C-51, Canada’s anti-terrorism bill, it is increasingly clear that the proposed legislation is an unprecedented undermining of Canadian privacy protection.

Much of the focus on the bill has related to oversight: the government implausibly claims that it increases oversight (it does not), the Liberals disappointingly say they support the bill but would like better oversight, and much of the NDP criticism has also centred on oversight. Yet with respect to privacy and Bill C-51, lack of oversight is only a part of the problem.

The privacy-related concerns stem from Bill C-51’s Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, a bill within the bill, that goes far further than sharing information related to terrorist activity. It does so in three steps.

First, the bill permits information sharing across government for an incredibly wide range of purposes, most of which have nothing to do with terrorism. The government has tried to justify the provisions on the grounds that Canadians would support sharing information for national security purposes, but the bill allows sharing for reasons that would surprise and disturb most Canadians.

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