Finally! After 36 years in Canada and a very long wait for her citizenship application, Saddened became a Canadian citizen today.
Here is what Saddened sent to me in an e-mail a few minutes ago. (I’m posting this with her consent)
I AM A CANADIAN!!!!!
Congratulations Saddened. Now you need to change your name to Happy.
Next step on the Road to Freedom is a CLN.
Canadians Are Not Safe from US Surveillance.
Toronto Star asks:
Think there’s a Canadian border between you and the U.S. government when it comes to online surveillance?
Think again, Canada. All your digital fingerprints are every bit as exposed to the watchful eyes of Big American Brother as those of our stateside neighbours — and even more vulnerable, according to one of Canada’s leading cyber-researchers.
“There is no border. The way telecommunication traffic is routed in North America, the fact of the matter is about 90 per cent of Canadian traffic — no one really knows the exact number — is routed through the United States,” Ronald Deibert, director of University of Toronto Citizen Lab told the Toronto Star.
“Internet exchange points are critical — this is where traffic is passed between companies — and we have only two Internet exchange points in Canada . . . As a consequence, even an email sent within the city of Toronto most likely would transit to Chicago before being routed back to Toronto.
”Along the way, your Canadian data is subsumed through “filters and checkpoints, shared with third parties, with law enforcement and of course intelligence agencies that operate in the shadows,” he said.
As if that’s not enough, Mr. Delbert says Canadians are “fair game” because we’re foreign citizens.
“Let’s not forget, Canadians are ‘foreign citizens’ by the American definition. So we’re fair game when it comes to eavesdropping, should they want to do so,”
So, for FATCA, FBAR and all the other Fs the Americans want to throw at us, we’re “US persons.”: For surveillance, we are “foreign citizens. That makes us “fair game” all around.
Canada’s Privacy Watchdogs Are Silent on this.
BC Civil Liberties Association, in contrast, is outspoken:
“The ramifications of this are so vast it is hard to even know where to begin,” she said. “We’re getting to the place, honestly, where it’s ludicrous to talk about paranoia. There are no [conspiracy] theories, there are only facts.”
Micheal Vonn recounted how the U.S. government devotes “special attention” to Canada on account of the border it shares with the United States.
“This is not targeted surveillance, where there is a reason to be suspicious about something and so you look into x, y, and z,” she said. “‘This is population-based dragnet surveillance.”
“Population-based dragnet surveillance.” I think we could also apply that to FATCA.
And, what do you think of this quote?
“They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type,”
Like most other Canadians, I was outraged to learn that the Royal Bank of Canada has been laying off IT workers and replacing them with temporary foreign workers, with the intention of outsourcing their IT functions overseas. I was ever more outraged to learn in today’s news that RBC is not unique among Canadian chartered banks in doing this; several other members of the Canadian Bankers Association also stand accused in the media of the same practice, by some laid-off and even current IT workers from several banks other than RBC (specifically, CIBC, TD, Scotiabank and BMO).
Am I the only person who is wondering whether there is a connection between the outsourcing of the banks’ IT functions to less-expensive overseas contract workers, and the indications we hear of the banks’ preparations to comply with FATCA (which will entail some extensive and expensive IT systems work in these banks)? Outsourcing all that IT work could help reduce the costs to the banks of rolling over and complying with IRS invasion of our citizens’ financial accounts.
Is it the case that not only are the banks preparing to throw Section 15 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms under the bus, as well as the account information on thousands upon thousands of Canadian citizens’ financial information to the tax agency of a foreign country, but they also are laying off highly-educated and highly-trained Canadian IT workers to boot in order to achieve this, even requiring those workers to train their under- or un-trained replacements in Canada before those workers go back to where they came from (and where Canadian privacy, banking and Charter rights don’t apply as those workers will be on foreign soil)?
And what will the outsourcing of IT functions overseas do to what remains of privacy, secrecy and security of Canadians’ financial information – of ALL Canadians, not only those of US origin?
I am writing today to my MP to ask these questions. I urge you all to do likewise. I would like some clear and believable answers. (No, I am not writing to CBA. I want an answer I can believe, and I think that Question Period in the House of Commons, followed as appropriate by a federal government investigation to get answers, is the only way that’s going to happen. CBA is not going to have any credibility with me on this one. I believe what fellow Canadian workers are telling CBC, not the insipid denial by that RBC official.)
If anyone was looking for a compelling reason for non-US-origin Canadians to get really upset about FATCA and the banks, this could be a very good one, if it pans out.