The End of Privacy in Canada? If it’s digital, it’s leak-able.
The Trudeau government loves secrets. Especially yours.
Stats Canada crossed a line recently that no government should ever cross, secretly using federal power to demand our banks provide information on the transactions of half a million Canadians; the sort of information that police have to plead a federal judge to get.
These are financial transactions that no one is meant to see: credit bureau info, phone records, electricity bills and real time transactions.
Imagine a bureaucrat in Ottawa watching the numbers on your account as you stop at the LCBO, pay the doctor for your face-lift or pick up your prescriptions – knowing they also access your name, address, social insurance numbers and more.
Should you be concerned? Well 74% of Canadians oppose having these records accessed.
I believe your personal financial information belongs to you.
Yet Canada Revenue Agency employees have been spying for years on their relatives, spouses mothers-in-law, neighbours and others by sneaking into their confidential tax files, despite a $10-million CRA project meant to prevent it.
CBC News says the files of at least 10,000 Canadians were recently compromised by the agency’s employees. No wonder. An estimated 24,000 Revenue Canada employees have access to confidential tax files.
What did Justin Trudeau say in the House of Commons when Stats Canada was caught snooping?
“Mr. Speaker, this government will always make sure that Canadians’ privacy is protected. Statistics Canada will use anonymized data for statistical purposes only. No personal information will be made public.”
OK then. Nothing to see here! Everybody go home.
Because we all know that private information like this has never been leaked or hacked. Right?
No. Leaks and hacking have become the norm. Cyber-security experts tell corporations and governments that it is not a matter of will your records be hacked. It’s only a matter of when.
Recently an unnamed individual accessed the records of 4,500 marijuana customers from Canada Post. Wiki-leaks has millions of government records. Marriott Hotels recently had 500 million records hacked. And it began when a U.S government agency was hacked in 2014, believed to be by Chinese Intelligence Operations.
Have you stayed at a Sheraton, Westin, W Hotel, St. Regis, Aloft, Le Meridian Tribute, Four Points or Luxury Collection brand hotel in the last four years? Well the Chinese government may know your name, birthdate, address, phone numbers, e-mail address and passport number.
So, no. Most people do not believe that private information on government or corporate computer systems will be never be made public. Only Justin Trudeau does. Why should you care?
Private banking transactions could expose health issues that make it difficult for people to get life insurance or a job, place people at risk of blackmail or credit fraud, or expose those in witness protection.
The Liberals do not believe Canadians should have their personal banking information and shopping habits kept private. Most Conservatives do. And I do.
The kind of snooping that takes place in China and North Korea should have no place in Canada.