Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Security perimeter deal day

The Harper era, with its formative markers being laid down, continues to roll on through the fall of 2011. Today is border perimeter deal day, negotiated in secret without public input and without parliamentary debate. It all seems to be premised on the principle that what's good for business is good for the country, kind of like the old saying that what's good for GM is good for America. Yes, it does appear to be a guiding principle for the Harper government's approach to the border: "New border deal will change how Canada and U.S. trade goods." We hear lots of talk about how great it is going to be for business to have one inspection point, say, instead of two. But ever more inspected, possibly, will be the Canadian citizen. Biometrics abroad anyone?
A central feature of Wednesday’s agreement will be a pledge by both governments to share far more information between government agencies in an effort to improve North American security. But Canada’s Privacy Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, has laid out several concerns given the two countries’ very different privacy laws.

Ms. Stoddart recently warned of drawing “ever closer to the bleak reality of a surveillance society” if the collection of Canadian biometric data – such as iris scans or fingerprints – end up being stored in U.S. databases.
Guess we'll have to wait and see on that special privacy landmine. In addition to the expansive new surveillance powers Harper et al. will be giving police here in Canada to access online activities, this possible sharing of biometric data with the U.S. will compound the new era of privacy invasions courtesy of the Harper government. The long form census intrusions that they manufactured were piker's play compared to all this.

Also amazing to read Canadian industry groups wishing to "ultimately see Health Canada opting to rely more on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve new food products rather than studying them independently." Yes, why have two separate national departments doing approvals after all when you could just use one? With the scale of lobbying that occurs in the U.S., such a thought is incredible. I mean, what could possibly go wrong

The elevation of business/market interests above the interests of the citizenry as a central theme of the Harper era has begun...