Vancouver
4 min

You really want Stephen Harper reading your email?

On June 18 the Conservatives tabled a bill that would give police sweeping powers to collect info

Stephen Harper wants to read your email. He wants to be your Facebook friend, monitor your internet activity and infiltrate your GPS. He wants to give the police, the RCMP and CSIS more power. Like I feel really comfortable with that. (Not!)

Remember how the RCMP tasered Robert Dziekanski to death at the Vancouver airport? Now, the Conservatives want to rip apart any civil rights you still have left. They want to taser your bandwidth, rip open your wireless and tamper with your most private messages.

On Jun 18, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and Minister of Public Safety Peter Van Loan tabled a bill that would give the police sweeping powers to collect information about Canadian internet users and remotely activate GPS units in people’s cell phones and cars (to track your whereabouts). They want to invade your privacy. And they want the power to do so without a warrant.

If passed, the bill would require internet service companies to install new equipment that will intercept your email, web surfing and wireless devices, and turn the information over to police, without your consent, your knowledge and without having to prove to a judge there’s just cause to suspect you of committing a crime.

Search warrants are in place to protect your rights. Judges are available 24 hours a day. It’s not that hard for the police to obtain a search warrant when they legitimately need one.

Stephen Harper is trying to scare the public when he defends this bill as being necessary to “catch the bad guys,” naming the bad guys as terrorists, drug dealers and child pornographers. Good spin, Steve. What honest, hard working Canadian doesn’t want to put child pornographers and terrorists behind bars?

He’s hoping people won’t mind giving up their privacy if it will stop terrorism. It’s a small price to pay. Or is it?

The bill is clearly a violation of our right to privacy and, if passed, you just know the police are going to use it against the queer community a lot more often than, say, the business community, the developer community or the Christian Right. You just know our community is going to bear the brunt of this unnecessary, neo-Con, George W Bush-style fear mongering.

Do you really want Stephen Harper reading your email?

Let’s say you’re writing a sexy note to the woman you’ve been dating and you talk about how nice her rack is or how wet she gets when you kiss her or how beautiful it feels to slip your fingers inside her pussy. Or you email the guy you met last night at Pulse and to invite him over to smoke a joint and suck your dick. Do you really want Stephen Harper reading your email?

Or let’s say you’re young and queer and just coming out. You write a personal email to your best friend in which you tell her you’ve had a crush on her younger brother since you were in Grade 10 and he was in Grade 7, and now you’re 19 and he’s 15 and you’re closer in age than apart, but technically you’re an adult and he’s a minor.

The RCMP gets hold of your note and even though nothing has happened they bust down your door in the middle of the night and arrest you for sexual assault and the story gets picked up by the press and even though all charges are eventually dismissed your reputation is tarnished and your life is ruined. Do you really want Stephen Harper reading your email?

Or let’s say you’ve organized a demo to protest the provincial government’s refusal to actually use hate crime legislation against gaybashers, and you didn’t ask the police for permission to protest because you figured it’s your right in a democracy and it’s your name and email address listed as the contact person. Now you’re under suspicion as a “terrorist” and the cops are monitoring your internet activity.

While snooping into your email, they find a note to your lesbian buddy in Oakland who is an “illegal alien” from Mexico, and in the email written a year ago, you suggested she come up here and marry you so she can stay in the country, and the RCMP arrests you for harbouring an illegal alien, even though your friend declined your offer. And when they throw you in the slammer, your boss at your McJob fires you for not showing up to work and now you can’t pay your rent, so you get evicted and you’re homeless. Do you really want the cops reading your email?

Or it’s three in the morning and you just got dumped by the guy you’ve been dating and in a moment of “drunk dialing” you log onto Facebook and on your profile page you post: David is thinking about killing his ex, who dumped him for a younger man.

Then you pass out and forget the whole thing until morning when you log back on to find dozens of people begging you not to kill your ex. You never had any intention of killing anyone. You were just hurt. But now everyone thinks your ex is in mortal danger, and the cops bust into your office and arrest you for conspiracy to commit murder.

And you spend the next three years of your life and $100,000 in legal fees only to have your case dismissed when your ex testifies on your behalf. Do you really want Stephen Harper reading your Facebook profile?

Facebook was invented by former CIA agents. People who have spent a career perfecting their snoopery.  Do you really want the cops reading your email, Facebook, Tweets or texts? If not, contact your local MP and express your opposition. Do it now, while you still have some privacy left.