Open Media: What do you think Lithuania, Estonia, Malta, and the Netherlands have in common?

Open Media: What do you think Lithuania, Estonia, Malta, and the Netherlands have in common?

Defend Border Privacy

This post simply is broadcasting Open Media’s Message. 

What do you think Lithuania, Estonia, Malta, and the Netherlands have in common?

What if I told you they’re in a list of countries whose citizens’ private data receive greater legal protection from the U.S. than Canadians’ data does? 1

We share a lot with our neighbours to the south: we’re the U.S.’s second biggest trading partner, and we share the world’s longest international border. We also share data – lots of it.

Everything from your financial status, to your medical history, your sexual orientation, and even your religious and political beliefs — information that can reveal all these things is frequently shared with the U.S by our own government.

But one thing we don’t have is any serious legal protection for our private, personal data.

Right now, I’m asking you to take action to put an end to this. Stand up and demand that our own government fight for our privacy and security!

Here’s how I know this is going to work.

Just last month, in the wake of an Executive Order from President Trump removing Privacy Act protections from foreigners, we sent an urgent letter of concern to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

Not only did he reply to say he shared our concerns that there is “a significant gap in protection of Canadians’ personal information south of the border,” he also wrote directly to three key ministers, calling on them to ask their U.S. counterparts to add Canada to a list of countries that are given significant additional protections under the U.S. Privacy Act.2

Now we need to move urgently to add crucial pressure. Our actions are clearly working, but if we don’t follow through this victory could slip through our fingers.

Add your name to the letter to these key ministers, and show them that there is huge public support behind this call.

The stakes are huge: right now, there are simply zero protections for our personal, sensitive information when it is shared with the U.S.

Canadians have had their personal or professional lives ruined due to information disclosures, despite never having broken the law. Some have faced career limitations, while others have had to deal with travel restrictions.3

And refugees, Muslims, and other vulnerable minorities are more at risk now than ever before.4 These concerns are compounded by the Trump administration’s openness to returning to torture policies.5 It means we could see many more cases like that of Maher Arar.

So please, take a minute to add your voice to this urgent call and help get these vital protections for our most personal information.

Thanks for everything that you do.

Victoria with OpenMedia

P.S. We need sustained pressure alongside long-term campaigning to get desperately-needed privacy protections like these made into law. Another great way to support this work is by making a small monthly contribution. Thanks again!


  1. Judicial redress act of 2015: The United States Department of Justice
  2. Commissioner’s letter to the ministers of Justice, Public Safety and Defence calling for greater protection of Canadians’ privacy rights in the U.S.: Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
  3. ‘No judgment, no discretion’: Police records that ruin innocent lives: The Star
  4. Trump threatens to publicly release private data of immigrants and foreign visitors, ACLU responds: Boingboing
  5. Can Trump Bring Back Torture?: The Atlantic

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