Citizen Lab Director Ron Deibert authored an article entitled “Who Knows What Evils Lurk in the Shadows?” published on OpenCanada.org.
In the article, Deibert maintains that acts of terror such as the Charlie Hebdo and Ottawa attacks have resulted in governments creating new anti-terrorism laws and expanding law enforcement and intelligence capabilities. In Canada, for instance, the government drafted Bill C-51, an omnibus crime and anti-terrorism bill that introduces two new security laws and amends 15 existing laws, including the Criminal Code and the CSIS Act. Ron Deibert argues that C-51 sets out to counter “not just ‘terrorism’ but the vast undefined expanse C-51 describes as ‘threats to the security of Canada.’ The Canadian government has pushed different variations of these laws unsuccessfully over the years, but it was the Ottawa attacks, followed by the attacks in Paris, which “created a window of political opportunity prior to federal elections to throw together the package.”
Ron Deibert is concerned that Bill C-51 will boost the resources of powerful security agencies like the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), which is Canada’s main signals intelligence agency and the subject of significant media coverage since June 2013 and the disclosures of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. Without corresponding investment in political restraints, Canadians cannot be assured that such new powers will not be abused.