The recent stories about surveillance in the United States and Canada have generated increased debate in the media over the issue and I’ve been privileged to participate in several discussions. Last week, I sat down with Nick Taylor-Vaisey of Maclean’s to discuss the issue. The full interview is now posted here. Further, CBC’s Cross-Country Check-Up spent two hours discussing surveillance and privacy on Sunday’s show. I appeared as a guest at about the 54 minute mark. Yesterday, I also participated in a far-ranging debate on surveillance and transparency on TVO’s The Agenda. The video version of the program should be online shortly, but in the meantime a podcast version is available.
Finally, my technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) this week focuses again on the disconnect between 20th century laws and 21st century surveillance. It notes that revelations about secret surveillance in the United States involving both Internet-based communications and the collection of metadata from all cellphone calls immediately raised questions about the possibility of Canadian involvement or the inclusion of Canadian data. Given the common communication infrastructure and similarities between Canadian and U.S. laws, it seemed likely that Canada was engaged in much of the same activities. Within days, it was reported that Canada has its own metadata surveillance program, with the ministerial approval coming in 2011 from Defence Minister Peter McKay.