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All “rights” that people have fought and died for, for thousands of years, finally made a stand a mere few hundred years ago and the embers of hope were lit, burning dimly for a couple of hundred years, growing slowly brighter and reaching more people around the world.
We have been warned to “stay vigilant” to avoid both a slow erosion or vicious attack on hard won recognition that all people were worthy of a peaceful, safe existence, free from fear of marauding gangs or cruel, violent governments.
We’ve got it pretty good in North America. Or we did. The slow erosion is quickening and even those mostly asleep are stirring and nervously noticing, too afraid or in disbelief that the all knowing, all caring government would ever do anything to harm them.
The facts are, history clearly shows, that governments throughout time have, in wars or not, killed, starved, exterminated more of “their own” citizens than any criminal gang could or would. National police forces are used against the populations to intimidate, investigate and abuse people into submission. Even Canada has recent (and past) examples of this ongoing behaviour.
We wouldn’t need privacy laws if we could trust people not to take our private information and use it for harm or profit BUT there are two groups that privacy laws are aimed at keeping on a leash…..criminals and…. government. If we REALLY could trust our own government and their agents to act with honour and integrity privacy laws would look very different.
The sad truth is the government and police forces are the number one reason why we need the laws because they have proven over and over they cannot be trusted to obey the spirit nor the letter of the law when it comes to respecting the rights of private individuals. They are often seeking more power, control all while evading accountability for acting with dishonour, invading private lives, destroying safety and security more often than we will ever know.
Should it be so? No. Is it really? Yes. Integrity, honour, respect for the law in any organization are top down ideas that are embedded and enforced or the opposite is the case. Many police forces in Canada are a joke when it comes to self policing, and everyone knows it including public inquiries. That is so because it is allowed to be so by the organizations leaders, for whatever reason. It could change overnight with the proper leadership and enforcement.
Failure of the leadership to lead means the people need to speak out and demand proper performance from their government, police and government agents. Failure to object and demand change allows the unlawful behaviour to continue. It does not just continue it gets worse and more extreme…until its too late.
Here’s an article that describes one example of the “state of things”, prevailing attitudes, lack of transparency and shows either the total lack of real understanding or the total lack of respect for the rule of law. Its well researched and far reaching in its implications.
By Rob Wipond, February 2012 | Originally posted on Focus Online
Not many people know that local police and the RCMP have already begun building a massive public traffic surveillance system. And no one knows how they’re going to use it.
..article excerpt from above links….
Certainly, our governments must lay legal groundwork, and the 2009 Madrid Privacy Declaration, signed by privacy experts around the world, provides direction: “Noting with alarm the dramatic expansion of secret and unaccountable surveillance” threatening democracies world-wide, they call for “meaningful Privacy Impact Assessments that require compliance” and a moratorium on mass surveillance to allow for public debate.
Parsons wondered why police aren’t collaborating with people like these. “It seems as though [civil liberties] advocates are seen as a problem, a potential issue that has to be resolved, rather than as collaborators to sit down and work with to safeguard Canadians.”
Vonn similarly observed that police and politicians use the rhetoric of “Batman and Robin” and “good guys versus bad guys” so often to promote their agendas, that it makes critics seem antipolice, and sidesteps honest, transparent debate.
“Of course we need policing,” said Vonn. “We need appropriate, responsible policing, and we need transparent policing, with civilian oversight…It’s a very basic democratic model. I think this retrenchment into ‘you’re for us or against us’ is deeply unfortunate.”
Vonn added, “If we care about a free and democratic country, we’d better not allow an entire infrastructure of unaccountable surveillance to be built up around us as we are placated with Batman and Robin homilies.”
When my research team regrouped, Kevin McArthur said, “I can’t say I know what’s going on.”
Christopher Parsons noted: “The three of us are probably some of the most informed citizens on ALPR in Canada, and we’re still asking these [basic] questions. That’s absurd.”
Examining it more closely for this article, I found my own best summary right in the RCMP’s Privacy Impact Assessment. In lengthy sections answering legal and policy questions, some pages declared, “No personal information is recorded during the ALPR operation.” But I found other pages declaring the opposite: “The only personal information stored in the ALPR database is the vehicle plate number.” So here we had Canada’s national police force addressing the key issues of privacy protection in the defining document for a massive surveillance program authorized by our federal and provincial governments…but had anybody other than us three even read this thing carefully?
Holy lack of accountability, Batman.
The above is only one example of what goes on everyday. Concerned citizens are treated as the enemy because they care about the police and government obeying the law and acting honorably. Who really is the enemy of what in that scenario?
The only thing that ever reigns in an out of control government, or unlawful agents of the state, is an informed, vocal and disapproving public. Speak out or lose you freedoms. Stand up or be trampled by invasions upon your rights by agents of the state.
Yes speaking out can be dangerous, which is a REALLY SAD statement in a “free” country….which begs the question…how free are you really, if you are afraid to stand up and speak out?
You enjoy what freedoms and prosperity you have because countless others stood up and spoke out in the past. Maybe, just maybe its your turn now. Do so peacefully, honourably, with strength and persistence.
One powerful way to speak out safely is to withdraw you consent to have your right to privacy, peace and private property taken away from you and your children…in small ways everyday. Stay tuned for ideas.
If not now, when? If not you, then who?