But first and foremost, Canada must get its own house in order. Thailand wasn’t the only country requesting that Google remove content; Ottawa did as well. What is most notable, and troubling, about Canada’s takedown requests is that an increasing number were not accompanied by a court order, but rather fell into Google’s category of “other” requests from the “executive, police, etc”.
This demonstrates that the government increasingly is bypassing formal and lawful processes in their attempts to get the compliance of private sector companies in their Internet censorship activities. Meanwhile, the government continues to resurrect Bill C30, despite widespread condemnation. The proposed electronic surveillance law would give the government unprecedented access to Canadians’ private online information without the requirement of a warrant.
If the Canadian government fails to respect freedom of expression, the right to privacy, and the rule of law in our own country, how can it expect other countries to do so in theirs?
From the APPA’s letter to Google concerning Google’s new privacy police:
Initially, I would like to say that the TWG recognises Google’s efforts in making its privacy policies simpler and more understandable. Similarly, it notes Google’s education campaign announcing the changes. However, the TWG would suggest that combining personal information from across different services has the potential to significantly impact on the privacy of individuals. The group is also concerned that, in condensing and simplifying the privacy policies, important details may have been lost.
It’s a short, but valuable, letter for clarifying the principles that have privacy professionals concerned about Google’s policy changes. Go read it (.pdf link).