September 18, 2013.
The Privacy Commissioner of Canada
112 Kent St
Place de Ville, Tower B, 3rd Floor,
Dear Ms Stoddart,
The National Council of Women of Canada, [NCWC] takes this opportunity to support, encourage and lend urgency to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s investigation into the recently revealed mass surveillance of Canadian citizens. We are awaiting with keen interest a full report on the findings of your discussions with surveillance organizations such as the Communications Security Establishment of Canada. I addition, we note with concern the media reports that indicate the government of the United States has paid many web service providers to meet its compliance orders to tap into their customers’ private communications and to keep the extent of this access hidden from the public.
The National Council of Women of Canada policy is adopted democratically at its Annual General Meetings. We have two relevant policy resolutions that allow us to speak on mass surveillance. The first is “the Right of the Canadian Public in Information Concerning the Public Business” 1977 and the second “Balancing Protection against International Terrorism and the Protection of Civil Rights”2002.
The Council is aware of the history of Canadian intelligence activities during the Second World War, the cold war and for trade purposes. Since 2001, the scope of surveillance has become unprecedented.
Canadians have a right to know on an urgent basis how and why their personal data are being collected, stored, shared and otherwise used by the Government of Canada and its international partners and exactly what mechanisms are in place for overseeing and reporting on these activities to the Canadian public. Canadians also need to be advised routinely when the privacy of their communications is not guaranteed.
We look forward to a response at your earliest opportunity.