The Humanist Café

Wednesday, September 20, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
James Bay New Horizons
234 Menzies Street James Bay

Topic: Privacy – A Thing Of The Past?

Moderator: John Pope

Believe it or not, Canadian citizens do not have a specific right to privacy.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not specifically mention privacy or the protection of personal information. However, it does afford protection under Section 7 (the right to life, liberty and the security of the person), and Section 8 (the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure).

Americans have the Fourth Amendment which states “…The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures…”

After 9-11, security concerns led to increased mass surveillance.  This has increased over the years with new surveillance and internet technologies.

Canada cooperates with the US.  Data about you are being collected and stored by the US government through the “Five Eyes” spying and intelligence-sharing agreements between the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. These programs spy on most of the world’s digital communications.

“PRISM is a code name for a program under which the United States National Security Agency (NSA) collects internet communications from at least nine major US internet companies.”  -Wikipedia.  Read more:

How does this affect the average Canadian?

“Every border you cross, every purchase you make, every call you dial, every cell phone tower you pass, friend you keep, article you write, site you visit… is in the hands of a system whose reach is unlimited but whose safeguards are not.”  -Edward Snowden, CITIZENFOUR.  Read more:

“Government use of surveillance devices must be restricted: privacy experts”  Read more:

The report mentioned in the above article:


Why are many Canadians unconcerned about electronic surveillance and information gathering by government?

Are the services and conveniences provided by our electronic devices more important than our need for privacy?

How dependent are we on these devices?  How dependent is our society?  Would chaos erupt if they were all turned off at once?

Can we ever retrieve lost privacy once all of our data has been liberated?

[Your question here]

See you there!  Bring your critical thinking cap.