Trump’s attack on Canadian privacy

Privacy safeguards relied upon by Canadians have just been stripped away.

Trump just signed an executive order eliminating Privacy Act protections for foreigners.1 This means as of right now, all your personal, sensitive information has no legal protections in the U.S.

Every day, the data of millions of Canadians enters the U.S. by Internet traffic being routed through the U.S., or by our own government routinely sharing personal information.

You don’t need to have done anything wrong for your most personal information to be revealed, and you will likely never know what has been shared.

There is only one way to solve this. We’re filing an urgent privacy complaint with the federal Privacy Commissioner of Canada asking for an immediate review on the effect of Trump’s order for Canadians — and to demand a reassessment of what information our government chooses to share with the U.S.

This new order has real life implications. Everything from your financial status, to your medical history, your sexual orientation, and even your religious and political beliefs are exposed. Canadians have had their personal or professional lives ruined due to information disclosures, despite never having broken the law.3

Some have faced career limitations, while others have had to deal with travel restrictions. When health records are wrongfully shared with U.S. border agents, even an encounter with the mental health system 20 years ago can be grounds to deny entry.

Our government needs to step up and answer our questions. How will Canadians be protected from discrimination and warrantless spying? With your help, we’re going to get those answers, and demand action. 

There is no doubt that inappropriate information sharing can have a devastating impact on the lives of individual Canadians. Without strict safeguards in place, government bureaucrats will simply act recklessly and make life-impacting mistakes.

Now that President Trump has taken this extraordinary step to make it clear to U.S. agencies that they don’t need to respect the privacy of non-citizens, we need immediate action from our own government.

But we won’t get action from our government unless we act, together. We need you on board — can you chip in to give us the ensure we can follow up on our complaint and push the government to make changes that are urgently needed?

Thanks for everything you do.

Victoria with OpenMedia

PS: We’re not standing by idly while this happens. We’ll soon be releasing a series of tools to help ordinary Canadians take back control of their data. But we need action from our government to get the full protection we really need. Click here to make it happen!

Footnotes

[1] Executive Order: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States: whitehouse.gov
[2] Trump’s Executive Order Eliminates Privacy Act Protections for Foreigners: michaelgeist.ca
[3] 420,000 in police database never convicted: Analysis: thestar.com

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