#CyberFLASH: Tech founder puts up cash to put the brakes to Bill C-51

c51protest610pxTORONTO – A Vancouver-based entrepreneur who has earmarked $1 million of his own fortune to combating the Harper government’s controversial anti-terrorism bill said the laws dredge up unsettling memories of the totalitarian regime he fled as a child.

Frederick Ghahramani said the sweeping surveillance measures contained in Bill C-51 undermine some of the central Canadian principles that prompted his family to relocate from Iran in 1985.

A desire to uphold those values, coupled with concern for the bill’s effect on the Canadian economy, have prompted him to offer financial support to organizations intent on overturning the bill.

Ghahramani has already contributed $100,000 to Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, the University of Ottawa’s Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic and OpenMedia, adding he plans to determine how best to spend the remaining $900,000 after Monday’s general election.

The bill has garnered minimal discussion during the 11-week campaign, he said, adding that it was this lack of dialog that prompted him to stand up for what he sees as core Canadian values.

He recalled a childhood of frequent admonitions to watch what he said on the phone for fear of someone listening in, and said life in Canada offered an escape from such thinking. Newcomers to the country today, he said, may not find the same respite.

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