Edward Snowden’s legacy

Snowden support signs
A Washington, D.C. rally in December, 2013 supported Snowden. Photo from Shutterstock Shutterstock.com

A year ago the British newspaper the Guardian began publishing revelations from Edward Snowden, a former contractor with the National Security Agency, the American electronic spy agency.

Since then through news services Snowden has revealed the secret electronic sweeping of data done by a number of governments including Canada’s Communications Security Establishment (CSEC).

Regardless of whether you think Snowden is  a hero for pulling the covers off of questionable, though possibly legal, activity, or a turncoat for divulging state secrets, there is no doubt he has provoked debate in Western countries about the lengths to which governments can intercept communications without – or even with – a court order.

These range from direct calls for CSEC to be reined in to complaints about the Harper government’s current legislation to give law enforcement agencies the ability to ask service providers to hold onto data without a court order.

OpenMedia.ca is part of a campaign by an organization called Fight for the Future which says mass electronic surveillance by governments and police without court orders is illegal.  Rogers Communications has now made public some reservations about legislation before Parliament. The Harper government counters that it wants access to metadata, and that the interception of actual communications is always done with a warrant.

Whether you agree with Ottawa that metadata is just like public information in a telephone book (except it isn’t public), a full discussion of the nitty gritty of surveillance hasn’t been held yet. Undoubtedly security agencies don’t want to give away their secrets.

But it doesn’t only involve government. The private sector also has rights and obligations when it comes to personal data. It, too, should be a vocal part of the debate.

Would you recommend this article?

0
0

Share

Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication. Click this link to send me a note →

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com

Related Tech News