CrySP Speaker Series on Privacy

This speaker series is made possible by an anonymous charitable donation in memory of cypherpunks and privacy advocates Len Sassaman, Hugh Daniel, Hal Finney, and Caspar Bowden.

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CSIS Bulk Data Collection and National Security Surveillance

Micheal Vonn, BC Civil Liberties Association

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February 6, 2018 2:00pm, in DC 1304


Canadians arguably have a much better idea about what kinds of mass surveillance activities are occurring among some of Canada's intelligence partners in the "Five Eyes" than about what is occurring in Canada. It is clear, for example, that the UK's security intelligence has been collecting vast troves of government, commercial and telecommunications records, but Canadian practices are relatively unknown. A Canadian Federal Court ruling in 2016 found the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) to have breached its duty of candour to the court in failing, for over 10 years, to inform the court that it was indefinitely retaining information on third parties unrelated to threats to the security of Canada to add to its bulk data holdings. This explosive ruling was delivered during the country's first ever national security consultation, which resulted in a sweeping new national security omnibus bill (C-59). This talk will outline how C-59 proposes to address bulk data collection by Canadian intelligence and talk about the civil liberties implications of the new legal standards and accountability mechanisms.


Micheal Vonn is a lawyer and has been the Policy Director of the BCCLA since 2004. She has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in the Faculty of Law and in the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies where she has taught civil liberties and information ethics. She is a regular guest instructor for UBC's College of Health Disciplines Interdisciplinary Elective in HIV/AIDS Care. She has been honoured for her work in HIV/AIDS with both an AccolAIDS Award and a Red Ribbon Award, and she is the recipient of the 2015 Keith Sacré Library Champion Award for support, guidance and assistance given to the BC library community. Her publication credits include the Birkbeck Law Review, Surveillance and Society, Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law, and Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law. Ms. Vonn is a frequent speaker on a variety of civil liberties topics including privacy, national security, policing, surveillance and free speech. She is currently a collaborator on Big Data Surveillance, a multi-year research projected lead by Queens University. She is an Advisory Board Member of Ryerson University's Centre for Free Expression and an Advisory Board Member of Privacy International.