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letter writing for a freer internet

November 11, 2010

This letter is a response to this article I read on the CBC. It was from a link on a friend’s facebook page. It’s a little hastily written because I rushed to get this done before heading out to work, but I wanted to just get it in the mail before giving myself a chance to procrastinate.

I’ve had this conversation before with friends and family members. We were talking about the cameras which were installed to watch the Toronto streets during the G20 because although most were removed, 18 were not taken down. A position I’ve heard often is, why do you care if you don’t have anything to hide? Because I don’t think that I should have to lose the civil liberties just in case someone does something wrong.

So what’s the big deal about a couple of cameras watching us? The slippery slope argument is a fallacy of logic, but I’m afraid in this case when I used it in the past that I was right. The same thinking that says cameras to watch Toronto citizens in the downtown core are okay if they’re for our safety justifies police having access without the need of a search warrant to any information sent over the internet if it helps stop crime. And now that issue is being presented in parliament again after being shut down 3 times.

Who decides what is a criminal activity? This bill is supposed to help fight things like child pornography, but whose to say it won’t be used to put kids in jail for downloading music and television shows or  trying to organize political protests. (A giant waste of police resources and the tax dollars we all pay into). We’ve already had a fine example this year that sometimes the government will arrest people for doing things it doesn’t like even if it is not illegal. Hundreds of people were arrested for legal peaceful assembly at the G20 protests this year, which is scary because they were simply participating in democracy.

When the US introduced its Patriot Act after the events of 911, it was a great blow against freedom. More and more, it feels like our government is moving towards this type of governing- where fear is used to justify losing civil liberties.

(Were any of you shocked and a little horrified when you read in NOW magazine that citizens attending Rob Ford’s party at the International Centre on elections night had to sign a loyalty oath to enter?)

I don’t want to live in a place like China or Iran where the government has access to what citizens are talking about on the webs, and can censor what they have access to. Nor do I want to live in a place with no checks and balances for policing. That creates a climate rife for the type of corruption that many of our parents were trying to escape when they came to this country.

 

Maybe you agree with the sentiment. Maybe you don’t. I urge you to write your own letter with your opinion to your MP.

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