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Did they just say that the government spied on 1 in 34 Canadians? You, your family, or your neighbours are likely victims

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Tell Harper: Defend online privacy

Canada's Privacy Commissioner has revealed that in just one year the government made 1.2 million requests for sensitive information about our private online activities from telecom companies, often without a warrant. To achieve numbers like this, the government would have to ask telecom companies to disclose the personal information of Canadians every 27 seconds.

And, if you think this type of surveillance could never affect you, guess again. Doing the math on these outrageous revelations show that the sensitive online activities of one in 34 Canadians have been requested. Given these staggering numbers, it is very likely that either you, your family, or your neighbours, are victims -- all without even being told your information was passed on to the authorities.

So where do our leaders stand on this dragnet surveillance? When the issue came up during question period in Parliament, Prime Minister Stephen Harper refused to take action on safeguarding our privacy and data security. He dismissed the outrageous number of privacy violations, describing them as the simple result of authorities making normal data requests "from time to time." Sure, if you consider "every 27 seconds for a year" to be "from time to time."

                       

While your team at OpenMedia and Canadians everywhere were outraged by this gross inaction, it shouldn't come as a surprise given that the prime minister currently leads a multi-pronged effort to undermine our online privacy, including bills like the online spying Bill C-13 that would make it even easier for government to obtain your information without a warrant. Harper's government is also pushing Bill S-4, which would expose your private information to U.S.-style copyright trolling, and the government is still refusing to come clean about the reckless activities of its CSEC spy agency.

Each day that key decision-makers refuse to take action, dragnet online spying grows more secretive, extreme, and out-of-control. This is why, with the help of our friends at Leadnow, we've launched an exciting new campaign called Tell Harper: Defend Online Privacy. We're asking Stephen Harper to put in place effective legal measures to protect the privacy of every resident of Canada against warrantless online spying and we really hope you'll join us.

We need to speak up now and demand that Harper take responsibility for the actions of his government agencies and defend our privacy. Tell him we need modern, common-sense rules that keep government spiesout of our homes and out of our personal lives today.

The situation is truly irresponsible: We're talking about information that lends itself to abuse by cybercriminals, and reveals sensitive details about your online activities and life in general. What's worse, it looks like some telecoms are even building subscriber databases that law enforcement can access at will so this situation is set to get even worse unless we take action.

To add insult to injury, we -- the taxpayers -- are the ones being forced to foot the bill. We will be forced to pay millions to allow law enforcement organizations, government agencies, and others to access our information, while the government will spend billions to help house giant databases where much of our data will be stored.

This cannot stand and if enough of us send a message now it won't. It's time to tell Harper to take action and stop this reckless collection of our sensitive information. We deserve better than this.

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