France, Canada Follow America's Lead, Move Toward Mass Surveillance

Steve KinsmanStarred Page By Steve Kinsman, 6th May 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1hhb38ne/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Society & Issues

Both France and Canada are instituting legislation that will legalize mass surveillance of their citizens.This is being sold as a necessary step in order to combat terrorism, but it is more likely that it is the excuse used to justify government spying on everybody.

France

"Those who would give away essential liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

In the lower house of the French Parliament on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, a measure which authorizes unprecedented mass surveillance of French citizens was overwhelmingly approved. The proposed law legalizes broad and invasive spying on both citizens and foreigners, with almost no judicial oversight.

The Guardian reported that "despite opposition from green and hard-left MP's, the bill won the overwhelming backing of the majority of MPs from the Socialist and rightwing UMP parties, which said it was necessary to tackle the terrorist risk. The bill was passed in the national assembly by 438 votes to 86, with a handful of no votes from Socialist MPs."

Carly Nyst, speaking for Privacy International, told the Guardian: "Increased security does not have to come at the price of reduced privacy. And the threat of terrorism must not be used to justify the mass monitoring of every French internet user's activity."

The law grants the government the power to spy on the mobile phone and computer activity of anyone the government suspects is linked - even incidentally - to terrorist activity, without having to obtain a warrant.

Canada

Canada's House of Commons is poised today, May 6, 2015, to pass Bill C-51, a draconian surveillance law that would empower the government to spy on civilians and seriously violate their constitutional rights. Civil rights groups are literally screaming that the law allows mass surveillance of Canadians with little or no accountability.

According to an article posted at commondreams.org yesterday, "The bill, introduced by the Conservative Party and backed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, would give up to 17 government agencies access to Canadian citizens' private information, including their financial status, medical history, and religious and political beliefs. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service would also be authorized to spy on Canadians and foreign nationals living in the country, while the Royal Canadian Mounted Police would be granted increased power to make preventive arrests."

Under the banners #Stop C-51 and #RejectFear, opponents of the bill have been rallying for months to stop this draconian law from being implemented. According to the advocacy group OpenMedia, the bill will "disproportionately target Indigenous communities, environmental activists, dissidents and Muslims, many of whom are already subject to questionable and overreaching powers by security officials, and will make it easier for government to continue infringing on the rights of peaceful people."

Meanwhile, in America

Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrat Mark Pocan of Wisconsin and Republican Thomas Massie of Kentucky, are co-sponsoring a bi-partisan bill which would repeal the 2001 Patriot Act, passed in a rush unread by most lawmakers in the panic after 9/11. It would also limit the powers granted by the FISA Amendments Act and prohibit retaliation against federal national security whistleblowers.

Representative Massie issued the following statement: "The Patriot Act contains many provisions that violate the Fourth Amendment and have led to a dramatic expansion of our domestic surveillance state. Our Founding Fathers fought and died to stop the kind of warrantless spying and searches that the Patriot Act and The FISA Amendment Act authorize. It is long past time to repeal the Patriot Act and reassert the constitutional rights of all Americans."

Link: We Are No Longer Free in the Land of the Free

Photos from commondreams.org

Tags

Fear Of Terrorism, Mass Spying, Mass Surveillance, Patriot Act, Privacy, Spying, Steve Kinsman, Terrorism

Meet the author

author avatar Steve Kinsman
I live in California with my wife Carol, where I have been practicing professional astrology for 35 years. I write articles on astrology, but I enjoy writing on a variety of other subjects as well..

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Comments

author avatar snerfu
7th May 2015 (#)

This is a landmark decision moment, though the landmark is going against the interests of the common man.
But like I always say, aren't we the government and the people who made the government?
Makes me wonder what they will think of next.

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author avatar brendamarie
7th May 2015 (#)

Great article. I agree with snerfu on this one

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
7th May 2015 (#)

We used to be the government and the people who made the government, but not any longer. Now the government is chosen by the billionaires who buy the politicians.

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author avatar Retired
7th May 2015 (#)

It's an easy cop-out for governments to pass laws like this, and they result from a logical error.

The argument runs along the line of "Something must be done!" "Passing a law that authorises widespread surveillance is something" "Therefore it must be done!"

The problem is that there are plenty of other things that could be done, but they are much more difficult and expensive, which is why they they are not so popular with legislators.

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author avatar Legend
7th May 2015 (#)

It looks like they are trying to legalize what is probably being done anyway. There must be an ulterior motive....

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
7th May 2015 (#)

I agree.

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author avatar Retired
7th May 2015 (#)

Great post. Thanks for the share.

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author avatar Ptrikha
11th May 2015 (#)

While liberties ought not be curtailed very much, we can have some flexibility in terms of surveillance over people who have past history of trouble making.

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author avatar Kingwell
12th May 2015 (#)

I couldn't agree more Steve. The only hope we have here in Canada is that it is an election year. Maybe a new government will see things differently. Blessings.

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