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../Morning Post
Posted December 8 2011

Border Crossing

Concerned About Implications For Privacy Rights

Toronto - CCLA Reacts To Canada-U.S. Border Deal and released a statement that speaks to the new details revealed yesterday with regards to the border security deal between Canada and the United States. CCLA urges Prime Minister Harper and President Obama to refrain from any implementation of the Action Plan before the Adoption and Release of the Announced Privacy Principles.

The Action Plan released will have major implications for Canadians, for immigrants to Canada and travelers to other parts of the world. The proposed Action plan suggests broad measures for information sharing, biographical and biometric data, and aims to remove all impediments to information sharing between law enforcement agencies. Profiling of travelers on all international flights to Canada will be done to assess their "risk" profile and immigration status.

The Action Plan suggests that a Statement of Privacy Principle that will address key issues of safekeeping, oversight, will only be released in May 2012. The privacy implications for all the action items are immense and well documented. It is inappropriate to proceed with the plan without ensuring that there is agreement on privacy protection and that oversight mechanisms are in place.

CCLA has urged since last spring that any integrated threat assessment must comply with the legal safeguards in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the findings of the three Canadian Federal Commissions of Inquiry regarding information sharing and integrated threat assessment. In particular, CCLA has called for compliance with Canadian and international legal standards of due process, privacy, and fundamental freedoms including mobility rights, to benefit individuals on both sides of the border. CCLA has also called for oversight and review of information exchange agreements by an independent body such as the Canadian Federal Privacy Commissioner, and for due process mechanisms that will allow individuals to challenge being labeled as a "threat" for enhanced screening or 'no-boarding'.

CCLA also has called for any cross-border policing including the Shiprider Agreement to be limited, to be the exception and not the norm, and that US law enforcement operating in Canadian jurisdictions must comply with Canadian laws and Charter protections. Finally, CCLA has insisted that any information sharing among intelligence agencies be subject to written caveats and agreements with respect to use, accessibility limits by third agencies and third countries, and with clear processes for rectification by individuals.

CCLA is very concerned that the Action Plan speaks to greater information sharing and cooperation among intelligence agencies, removing barriers to information sharing, formalizing and expanding the Shiprider Agreement, and cybersecurity without any mention of the need for due process of individuals, oversight and review. CCLA believes these legal protections are not only the law, but are crucial to protecting individuals and their rights and freedoms.

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