Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime Confirms Victims Split on Bill C-13

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Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime Confirms Victims Split on Bill C-13

The federal government created the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime in 2007 to ensure that victims concerns and voices were heard. Last week, Sue O’Sullivan, the current ombudsman, appeared before the committee studying Bill C-13, the lawful access/cyberbullying bill. Ms. O’Sullivan, a former Deputy Chief of Police for the Ottawa Police Service, confirmed what has become increasingly obvious. Despite the government’s expectations that victims and their families would offer strong support for Bill C-13, that community is split on the bill:

I would like to touch briefly on what appears to be the most controversial aspects of the bill, those which relate to investigative tools and the balance of powers and privacy. Privacy matters and technical investigative tools do not generally fall within my mandate. It is worth noting that among the victims we have spoken to, there is no clear consensus on the element of the bill. I have spoken with victims who very much support further measures to assist law enforcement in their investigation, and find the tools included in this bill to be balanced and necessary. I have, like you, heard opposing points of views from victims who don’t wish to see these elements of the bill proceed for fear they will impinge on Canadians’ privacy rights. From my own perspective, I would say that there is a balance to be struck, and the dialogue that Canadians are having is a needed and valuable one.

The comments come after Carole Todd, the mother of Amanda, told the committee:

I don’t want to see our children victimized again by losing privacy rights. I am troubled by some of these provisions condoning the sharing of the privacy information of Canadians without proper legal process. We are Canadians with strong civil rights and values. A warrant should be required before any Canadian’s personal information is turned over to anyone, including government authorities. We should also be holding our telecommunication companies and Internet providers responsible for mishandling our private and personal information. We should not have to choose between our privacy and our safety.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, also expected to be a supporter of Bill C-13, expressed similar concerns:

We understand that Bill C-13 has also raised concerns on the respect of privacy. Young people deserve to be protected from cyberbullying, but they also deserve to be protected and respected for their privacy. Now, we’re no experts on privacy, so our only recommendation on that is to encourage you to listen, obviously, to any concerns that are brought up, any considerations that are brought up, by the experts who are dealing with privacy, to make sure that we’re protecting youth from cyberbullying but we’re also protecting our children and youth and their privacy rights.

Despite the concerns – and the urging to listen to the privacy community – the committee will not hear from a single Canadian privacy commissioner as part of its study on the bill.

4 Comments

  1. Devil's Advocate says:

    Carole Todd is dead-on
    1) “We should also be holding our telecommunication companies and Internet providers responsible for mishandling our private and personal information.”

    Providers and companies we deal with all the time have been going on and on and on about how they care about our privacy and how much they’re taking care of our personal information, yet we know their behaviour has always been contrary to those promises.

    It’s time we held EVERYONE’S feet to the fire on that.

    2) “We should not have to choose between our privacy and our safety.”

    We’re constantly being fed this BS about having to choose between “safety” and privacy, but we’re also watching our privacy being steadily eroded by COMMERCIAL interests as well. 3rd-party data mining has been scooping up everything on us for over a decade now, and being widely sharing the databases with “affiliates” and “strategic partners”. All this happens outside of our ability to control any part of that.

    Allowing all this data on ourselves to get “out in the wild” like that, has only made the act of protecting it significantly harder.

  2. Justice dept Faq page
    In light of http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/news-nouv/nr-cp/2013/doc_33002.html , is bill C-13 still an issue and is this Myth/Faq page providing accurate and non-misleading information?

  3. Devil's Advocate says:

    Re: Justice dept Faq page
    Since Bill C-13 hasn’t been incorporated into our law books, the Government can SAY whatever they want on a “FAQ” page about how the proposed bill would work.

    They do the same thing with election campaigns – each candidate telling us about all the wonderful things that are going to be done FOR us when elected. How does that usually turn out?

    Have there’s ever been any consequences for lying to the Public?

  4. Nobody is allowed to enter within the privacy of our homes without a warrant. What we do online within the privacy of our home it should be treated just the same.

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