Saturday, October 30, 2004

American Big Brother has been watching you, Mr. Canadian

from the Canadian Press, Friday, Oct 29, 2004

“The Patriot Act was enacted following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Section 215 of the act allows a special court to secretly issue an order requiring ‘the production of any tangible things’ to the FBI.”

“It gives the U.S. government sweeping powers to review information banks of private and public businesses in an effort to hunt down terrorists.”

“The USA Patriot Act gives officials the power to see private information about Canadians despite attempts by governments in Canada to thwart probes by American authorities, a report released Friday by British Columbia's privacy commissioner says.”

This happens because Canadian governments and corporations outsource services to US firms to handle data on their Canadian customers. The data is then in the US, therefore it has been subject to the Patriot Act.

“people feel they are losing control over what happens to their personal information”

- Nova Scotia employs a U.S.-based company to manage provincial government databases, including social assistance, payroll and motor vehicle registration
- Saskatchewan has outsourced some government services
- Ontario has outsourced social assistance operations
- Even Statistics Canada has signed a contract…to process census forms
- CIBC credit-card holders in Canada sign an agreement acknowledging that their information could be viewed by U.S. authorities
- B.C. residents' health information & personal medical records might not be private if the provincial government contracts out the billing of medical premiums to a US owned private company