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MORE FOI AND PRIVACY NEWS
December 19th, 2011 9:00am
.
INTERVIEW WITH BC INFORMATION AND PRIVACY COMMISSIONER ELIZABETH DENHAM
on Voice of BC with Vaughn Palmer
January 22nd 2012

As access to personal information increases on the internet, the public
has become more and more concerned about the protection of their
information. At the same time governments, while claiming to be open
and accessible, are actually making it much more difficult for the public
to access government documents.

BC's Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham
addresses these and other issues in conversation with Vancouver Sun
columnist and host of Voice of BC Vaughn Palmer.

LINK: http://vimeo.com/34981014

* * *

FIPA CONGRATULATES FEDS FOR IGNORING ACCESS TO INFORMATION
ACT WHILE IT "CONSULTS" CANADIANS ABOUT OPEN GOVERNMENT

January 16, 2012

"Congratulations. We did not think it was possible to create a
consultation document on Open Government without making a single
mention of Access to Information, but you did it. Bravo."

So begins a FIPA submission sent today to the Canadian government,
which is making a show of consulting Canadians about its purported
efforts to improve access and transparency.

The Conservatives have invited public submissions because they have
applied for membership in a new international group called the Open
Government Partnership and public consultation is one of the require-
ments of admission. The FIPA submission points out the government's
total failure to meet those requirements.

FIPA's submission is also a reminder of the Conservatives' failure to
meet eight key promises to improve access to information they made
in their original party platform.

FIPA SUBMISSION Click Here

CBC NEWS ITEM: THE PUSH FOR OPEN GOVERNMENT - UP TO A POINT Click Here or Click Here

* * *

IMPORTANT NEW RESEARCH PAPER:
"Recording Everything: Digital Storage as an Enabler of Authoritarian Governments"

John Villasenor
Centre for Technology Innovation at Brookings U.
Dec. 14, 2011

Within the next few years an important threshold will be crossed: For the first time ever, it will become technologically and financially feasible for authoritarian governments to record nearly everything that is said or done within their borders – every phone conversation, electronic message, social media interaction, the movements of nearly every person and vehicle, and video from every street corner. Governments with a history of using all of the tools at their disposal to track and monitor their citizens will undoubtedly make full use of this capability once it becomes available.

LINK: http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/rc/papers/2011/1214_digital_storage_villasenor/1214_digital_storage_villasenor.pdf

* * *

FIPA CELEBRATES 7TH BIRTHDAY OF FOI REQUESTFOR
BC GOVERNMENT’S $300 MILLION CONTRACT WITH IBM

December 8, 2011

The BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association held a birthday party
today for its longest-running FOI request, which turns seven this month.

FIPA has been trying since 2004 to get an uncensored copy of the BC government’s
$300 million Workplace Services Agreement with IBM, but the government continues
to fight against its release.

FIPA and Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham have repeatedly called for
government contracts to be posted online but the government has consistently
failed to do so. So FIPA is doing the government’s job (we hope temporarily)
by posting the incomplete version we have beaten out of the government on our
website.

SEE THE BIRTHDAY CAKE FOR THE IBM FOI REQUEST HERE

FULL NEWS RELEASE: Click Here

MEDIA COVERAGE:
Global Television Click Here
Canadian Press/Huffington Post Click Here

REDACTED IBM CONTRACT (WARNING: VERY LARGE FILE) Click Here

* * *

Editorial, The Globe and Mail
ON ACCESS TO INFORMATION, CANADA IS A DEVELOPING COUNTRY

Nov. 20, 2011

Canada's access-to-information laws are not working, in spite of the
country's avowed commitment to open government.

In an Associated Press study, researchers filed access-to-information
requests for government documents on terrorism and convictions
in 105 countries.

Canada asked for a 200-day extension, and then only gave a partial
response. The U.S. stalled for 10 months before releasing two
spreadsheets
and one piece of paper with all names blanked out.

In new democracies and developing countries, meanwhile, access-to-
information laws work as tools for transparency and citizen engagement.
India replied in full and on time, while Turkey provided answers within
10 days. Mexico's law is cited as a “model;” it makes all responses
public and allows anonymous requests.

Today, Canadians are made to file access to information requests
to discover what a government ministry has already released.

There should be no political interference with access to information
requests. Documents need to be produced in a timely fashion, and
not redacted without cause. If Canadian officials are unable to do this
themselves, they should send delegations to India, Mexico and Turkey,
and study how right-to-know laws work there.

SOURCE: Click Here

* * *

INFORMATION COMMISSIONER’S WEAK BC FERRIES DECISION “DISAPPOINTING” SAYS FIPA
May 16, 2011

BC's Information and Privacy Commissioner has found BC Ferries’ FOI policy operates in a way that 'frustrates the purposes of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act', but has declined to do anything concrete about it.

After being put back under the Act following criticism from FIPA and the Comptroller General, BC Ferries decided to post records released to FOI requesters on the web at the same time (or sometimes before) providing them to the requester. FIPA complained to the Commissioner, saying BC Ferries was violating British Columbians’ access rights and failing in their legal duty to assist requesters.

Commissioner Denham declined to find the company had either violated the rights of requesters or breached the duty to assist. Instead, she issued a set of guidelines for public bodies that might adopt similar schemes, including recommending a 24 hour delay before posting requested information to the Web.

"We are disappointed that the Commissioner has only given a slap on the wrist and a flabby recommendation to BC Ferries for running a scheme she says frustrates the very purpose of the law," said FIPA Executive Director Vincent Gogolek. "BC Ferries has a duty to assist requesters and we don’t see how a system designed to frustrate requesters can comply with the law."

FULL FIPA NEWS RELEASE: Click Here

COMMISSIONER'S NEWS RELEASE: Click Here

COMMISSIONER'S INVESTIGATION REPORT: Click Here

* * *

BC'S 'GOVERNMENT 2.0' PLAN IS BIG BROTHER-APPROVED
April 14, 2011

With the unwieldy title of "Citizens @ The Centre: B.C. Government 2.0
- A transformation and technology strategy for the B.C. Public Service,"
Click Here
the document starts out okay. Defining principles have phrases
like "empower citizens," "save citizens' time," and "encourage collaboration."

Rather quickly, however, it becomes apparent that "transforming"
government will mean a lot more citizen DIY and a lot fewer civil servants...

Accessibility, convenience, open networks, sharing data and "exciting
opportunities for citizens to directly engage with their government."
That's what it promises, possibly using a single card that consolidates your
driver's licence with your health card.

But on the second page of the document's introduction, there's the first
of many red flags about this techno-utopia.

Existing policies and legislation that protect personal privacy are described
as "barriers" to data sharing that need to be "resolved" to "enable better
delivery of service."

The heart of Government 2.0 is "a lot less about what government is doing
with its own data than what it's doing with citizens' data," says Micheal Vonn
of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. At its core, the plan is to link citizen
information held by different ministries, gathered under different programs
and culled from private-sector contractors.

In the old days, she says, these would have been called citizen dossiers
and used for surveillance.

Further, she says, the government is for "flat out expropriating our personal
information from the private sector and 'transforming' it into government
information."

Seem far-fetched? Consider her examples...

FULL ARTICLE: Click Here or Click Here

* * *

INTERNET SHOULD REMAIN AS OPEN AS POSSIBLE - U.N. EXPERT ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
June 3, 2011

UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression Frank La Rue warned Friday that fearful Governments are increasingly restricting the flow of information on the Internet due to its potential to mobilize people to challenge the status quo.

"In recent months, we have seen a growing movement of people around the world who are advocating for change - for justice, equality, accountability of the powerful and better respect for human rights," Mr. La Rue said while presenting his new report* on the right to freedom of opinion and expression on the Internet to the UN Human Rights Council.

"However, the unique features of the Internet, which allow individuals to spread information instantly, to organize themselves, and to inform the world about situations of injustice and inequality, have also created fear among Governments and the powerful," the expert said.

In his report, Mr. La Rue explores key trends and challenges to the right of all individuals to exercise their right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed in article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

NEWS RELEASE: Click Here
REPORT: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/17session/A.HRC.17.27_en.pdf

* * *

INFORMATION AND PRIVACY COMMISSIONER ANNOUNCES INVESTIGATION OF BC’S PRIME POLICE DATABASE
March 29, 2011

Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has announced that her office has been examining the PRIME police database, following a complaint about PRIME to BC’s Solicitor General by the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA).

BCCLA’s complaint states:

“The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has discovered that as many as 85% of British Columbia’s adult population have ‘master name records’ in the PRIME-BC police database. This database is used by police to prepare criminal record checks, including the controversial “negative police contact” section of those checks that can restrict access to jobs or volunteer opportunities. The BCCLA has written the Solicitor General to ask her to investigate.

“The most recent annual report for PRIMECorp, the crown corporation that administers the database, indicates that the database has 4,452,165 master name records, and B.C.’s entire population as of October 1, 2010 older than 15 years of age, was estimated by BC Stats to be 3,844,531. Even if as many as a quarter of master name records are duplicates due to aliases, misspellings or out-of-province residence, 86% of the adult population of B.C. would still be recorded in the database.

“While PRIME-BC was introduced in the Legislature as a way to better combat serial killers, sexual offenders, and career criminals, it would seem that minor traffic violations are enough to land B.C. residents in the police database, indefinitely. There is little in the way of protocol guiding how entries are made, how long information is kept, and the BCCLA frequently receives complaints about incorrect information being impossible to alter.”

BCCLA NEWS RELEASE Click Here

The Commissioner responded publicly by confirming that her office has been examining the issue of employment-related criminal records checks for several months and will take the recent concerns voiced by the BC Civil Liberties Association about the into consideration.

“This is a very complex issue involving multiple jurisdictions, multiple data linkages, competing interests and the overlap of at least five different laws,” said Denham. “And at the end of the day, we need to be certain that the process is fair and justifiable, both ethically and legally,” she said.

“In the past, the PRIME database has been considered a highly confidential tool for law enforcement in their daily activities. If PRIME is going to be used increasingly for background checks, citizens will likely demand greater access to it to ensure any information contained therein is accurate.”

The commissioner said that her office’s examination will include consultations with the Solicitor General, civil society groups, the law enforcement community and other information and privacy commissioners. “This issue is not unique to British Columbia. It’s important to involve a broad set of stakeholders in our analysis,” she said.

OIPC NEWS RELEASE Click Here

VANCOUVER SUN EDITORIAL Click Here

* * *

TOP COURT SAYS PM, MINISTERS NOT SUBJECT TO INFO LAW
May 13, 2011

The public does not have a right to access all documents in the
offices of cabinet ministers or the prime minister, the Supreme
Court of Canada ruled in a unanimous decision. The top court
upheld a Federal Court of Appeal decision, and sided with the
federal government in a decade-old legal battle with the
information commissioner.

Had the federal government lost its case Friday, it could have
vastly expanded the scope of Canada’s access-to-information law.
The case involved a number of legal issues related to the
access-to-information law that stipulates what government
documents can and cannot be made public. The Supreme Court
rejected four different appeals from the information commissioner.
But the decision does not mean that all records within the Prime
Minister’s Office and the offices of ministers are off-limits to the
public. Some records can be accessed if they are determined to be
under the control of the government institutions that are led by
the prime minister or a minister.

Sources:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/public-has-no-right-to-access-pms-agenda-supreme-court-rules/article2021002/
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2011/05/13/supreme-court.html

* * *

FIPA RESPONDS TO OIPC INVESTIGATION INTO FOI DISCLOSURE POLICIES OF PUBLIC BODIES IN BC
March 10, 2011

responds to expanded OIPC investigation into proactive and reactive disclosure of information by public bodies in BC

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) is conducting an investigation and consultation into the practice of proactive disclosure of information by BC public bodies. The investigation was prompted by a FIPA complaint about BC Ferries’ controversial policy of posting records obtained through FOI requests on their website, along with the names of FOI requesters. FIPA says this policy is actually designed to discourage FOI requesters.

FIPA has responded to an OIPC “consultation questionnaire” with a wide-ranging 13-page response Click Here.
FIPA criticizes the disclosure policy used by BC Ferries and points to several sections of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act which show how public bodies can be proactive in releasing material while still upholding their duty to assist requesters.

“FIPA has long supported actual proactive disclosure of information and records by public bodies,” said FIPA Executive Director Vincent Gogolerk. “But we denounce and have formally complained about the “faux transparency” practiced by public bodies like BC Ferries, which do not put up any information except what is dragged out of them by FOI requesters.”

FIPA’s formal complaint to the Commissioner about how BC Ferries handles FOI requests may be viewed at Click Here

FIPA News: "BC Ferries FOI policy designed to thwart public interest and media requests" Click Here

* * *
FIPA CAUTIONS PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE ABOUT ‘OPEN GOVERNMENT’ MODELS
THAT ACTUALLY LIMIT CITIZENS’ INFORMATION RIGHTS
February 4, 2011

A current trend by politicians and bureaucrats to embrace electronic 'Open Government' initiatives may not empower citizens to demand the specific information they want, says FIPA’s new Executive Director, Vincent Gogolek. Rather, it may divert government from making long-overdue improvements to Canada's Access to Information system.

Gogolek appeared before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics yesterday to encourage moves toward web-based Open Government, but not at the expense of the citizens' right to obtain records on demand.

He warned that the web-based Open Government models being discussed may provide 'faux transparency' -- access to information the government wishes the public to have, not to information that can make government truly open and accountable.

Gogolek reminded the Committee that Canada’s Access to Information Act and system has very serious and well-documented problems. "Initiatives in the field of 'open data' cannot take the place of action to repair our seriously crippled Access to Information system", he said.

"Without the ability to pull information from the government vaults, be they paper or electronic, an open data system that allows the government to push the information it deems suitable for public consumption will be a Trojan horse for those who prefer that information stay within the control of the bureaucracy."

FIPA SUBMISSION: Click Here

* * *

B.C. GOVERNMENT WILL START POSTING RECORDS OBTAINED THROUGH FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ONLINE

Government says move will increase transparency; critics say it will discourage FOI requests

By CHAD SKELTON
VANCOUVER SUN
February 3, 2011
[Excerpts]

The B.C. government says it will soon begin posting records it releases in response to Freedom of Information requests on its website — a move it says will improve transparency but critics fear could discourage requests.

The government's move comes just month after BC Ferries, which became subject to FOI requests again on Oct. 1, became the first provincial agency to routinely post FOI records on its website. BC Ferries has argued the policy makes it more transparent.

However, the ferry corporation has also taken a hard line on FOI fees — charging requesters for even 15 minutes of processing time — and typically posts the records it releases late in the day, when newspapers and TV stations are nearing their deadlines.

"It is basically faux transparency," said Vincent Gogolek, executive director of the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA). "Based on the way [BC Ferries] designed the system and the way it seems to be operating, the intention behind it is to actively discourage requesters."

FIPA has filed a formal complaint Click Here about how BC Ferries handles FOI requests to Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham.

"One of the reasons we filed the complaint was a fear this would go province-wide if it was seen as being successful in reducing the number of requests," said Gogolek.

Gogolek said his group supports the idea that FOI records should be made available to everyone. He just thinks the original requester should have a week or so to review the records first.

"It's good that this stuff is going up, no argument. But why does it have to go up immediately?" he said. "I think you have to give it to the requester first."

Without that courtesy, said Gogolek, requesters will be less willing to put in the time needed to file FOI requests and to pay the fees for processing them, which can be in the thousands of dollars.

"If people give up on the process ... then there will be fewer requests," he said. "So you'll actually have a reduction in transparency for all of us."

FULL ARTICLE: Click Here

FIPA News: "BC Ferries FOI policy designed to thwart public interest and media requests" Click Here

"Victoria must not copy B.C. Ferries' FOI scheme" - Stanley Tromp, The Province: Click Here

* * *

BC GOVERNMENT STILL FIGHTING RELEASE OF IBM CONTRACT

January 13, 2011

The government of British Columbia has appealed a decision by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner ordering release of the complete IBM Workplace Services contract.

The government's petition for judicial review will be their second trip to BC Supreme Court in an attempt to withhold all or part of the $500 million IBM contract.

They were unsuccessful the first time when they argued in 2009 that not a single page should be released until every single issue was resolved concerning portions of the contract they were withholding under the freedom of information act's 'exceptions' to release.

LINK TO 2009 JUDICIAL REVIEW DECISION Click Here

Vincent Gogolek, executive director of FIPA, said the return to court is a waste of taxpayers’ money and shows the lengths the government will go to block release of information.

"These contracts should be put up on the web as a matter of course," Gogolek said. "The Commissioner has said so, FIPA says so, and the time has come for the government to do so. If they don’t we will."

FIPA has received a copy of the contract, minus the parts that are still being contested under s.15(1)(l) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act ("Security of any property or system"), and personal information protected under s.22 (which FIPA was not seeking).

MORE LINKS:

Information and Privacy Commissioner Decision re release of IBM contract (2008) Click Here

"Government’s Secrecy" - Editorial, Times Colonist Click Here

"Government refuses to hand over unedited copy of IBM contract", Times Colonist, Jan. 11, 2011 Click Here

"Province loses fight to keep IBM deal secret" – Opinion, Vincent Gogolek, Vancouver Sun, Dec. 3, 2010 Click Here

* * *

STELMACH REBUKED OVER ALBERTA GOVERNMENT SECRECY

BY KAREN KLEISS
POSTMEDIA NEWS
JANUARY 13, 2011

EDMONTON — Alberta’s Information and Privacy commissioner publicly castigated the government of Premier Ed Stelmach Thursday for failing to keep an election promise to foster accountable and transparent government.

Frank Work issued the rebuke in the opening message to his most recent annual report, which was distributed to MLAs on Thursday afternoon.
“People who want our votes . . . espouse accountability and transparency. The first of Premier Stelmach’s five priorities when he ran for election in 2006 was to govern with integrity and transparency,” Mr. Work said in the two-page message.

“I cannot let this occasion pass without commenting on what I see as a lack of leadership at the provincial level with respect to access to information,” he said. “ . . . What I do not see, for the most part, is leadership at the political level in terms of getting information out, being proactive and fostering a culture of openness.”

Mr. Work suggested government employees responsible for releasing information are routinely grilled by deputy ministers who take a long time to sign off on access requests.
In particular, he said, the government delays releasing information requested by journalists.

“If [civil servants] perceive that access to information is frowned upon or that the unwritten rule is to be extra cautious, we will act accordingly,” he said. “It is a matter of leadership. It is a matter of those who promise transparency delivering on the promise and it is as simple as sending the instruction down the ranks. It is the difference between a culture of secrecy and a culture of openness. If you are going to promise transparency then embrace it.”

© Edmonton Journal

* * *

JUDGE CONVICTS SASKATCHEWAN WOMAN WHO WOULDN'T FILL IN LONG-FORM CENSUS

Postmedia News
January 13, 2011

SASKATOON — A Saskatchewan woman was found guilty in Saskatoon provincial court Thursday morning of refusing to fill in the long-form census in 2006.
"I'm stunned," Sandra Finley said outside court immediately after the verdict. The Saskatoon woman said she will study the written decision as soon as she can and discuss with her lawyer whether to file an appeal.

Finley argued during her trial that she objected to the government's hiring of Lockheed Martin Canada Ltd. to provide computer hardware and software and printing of forms for the census.
She also invoked the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, saying it protects citizens from being forced to turn over "a biographical core of personal information" to the state.

She said on Thursday that the issue is an important one. Finley doesn't feel Canadians should be forced to reveal personal information to the federal government, such as their ethnicity, sexual preference, occupation or other information.

"I feel strongly about this," Finley said. "That's not acceptable in a democracy."
Finley was particularly surprised by the guilty verdict, in light of the federal government's recent changes to census requirements. Stephen Harper's Conservative cabinet decided last year that the long-form census would no longer be mandatory, although a shorter one would be mandatory.

© The StarPhoenix

http://www.vancouversun.com/Judge+convicts+Saskatchewan+woman+wouldn+fill+long+form+census/4103779/story.html

* * *

EVIL TO HOLD BACK INFO ABOUT PRODUCTS THAT COULD HARM KIDS

Ethan Baron, The Province
Oct. 20, 2010

There's a new monster under our children's beds, and his name is Stephen Harper. Tory information control has become so obsessive that it's putting the lives and health of kids in B.C. and across Canada at risk.

It was only through an Access to Information Act request by my Postmedia colleague Sarah Schmidt that Canadians were made aware this week of the sky-high levels of deadly toxic cadmium in some children's jewelry...

As with lead, health concerns about cadmium and children focus on ingestion, through swallowing objects containing the metal or chewing or sucking on them. The U.S. health department reports that ingesting large amounts of cadmium can be fatal, and long-term exposure through ingestion can damage kidneys and weaken bones.

On Tuesday, federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq begged companies making and selling kids' jewelry containing cadmium to stop, saying that because no regulations exist to stipulate safe levels, a recall could not be ordered.

Shamefully, she didn't then reveal which products contained cadmium...

The refusal to identify the brands of cadmium-containing jewelry, violates Access to Information Act Section 20(2), which requires disclosure of such test results...But this is a federal government so profoundly obsessed with secrecy that it has had bureaucrats hold meetings without recorded minutes, has had ministerial and political staff censor information to be released under federal law, has refused to release documents on possible Afghan detainee abuse even to security-cleared members of an independent inquiry...

FULL ARTICLE: Click Here

* * *

MOUNTIES END PROBE INTO DESTRUCTION OF EMAILS WITH NO CHARGES LAID

October 16, 2010
Dean Beeby
The Canadian Press

OTTAWA—The Mounties have decided not to lay charges in a case in which sensitive government emails were deliberately destroyed, ending a two-year probe regarded as an overdue test of Canada’s information law.

The file, involving a nasty internal scrap at the National Gallery of Canada, was first referred to the Mounties by gallery officials in 2008. And earlier this year Canada's information watchdog alerted justice officials after her own investigation found "records responsive to an access to information request were destroyed and individuals were counselled to destroy records."

The RCMP’s review of the case focused on Section 67.1 of the Access to Information Act, which provides penalties of up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine for destroying government records or even counselling someone to conceal them from a requester.

The section was added to the Act in 1999, after several high-profile cases in which military documents about Somalia, as well as Red Cross records, were shredded to prevent embarrassing public disclosures.

But in the 11 years since, no one has ever been convicted or even charged under the section — and the RCMP probe was being watched closely to see whether the law was effective.

FULL ARTICLE: Click Here

* * *

INFO WATCHDOG WIDENS PROBE INTO TORY AIDE'S ACTIONS

Dean Beeby
The Canadian Press
Oct. 13 2010

OTTAWA — Canada's information watchdog has ordered a fresh probe into alleged political interference by a close aide to Conservative cabinet minister Christian Paradis.

The decision by Suzanne Legault means her office is now investigating four complaints about potentially illegal meddling by ministers' offices in the release of documents requested under the Access to Information Act.

Legault initiated the latest investigation after reviewing 1,200 pages of internal emails involving Sebastien Togneri.

FULL ARTICLE: Click Here

* * *

FIVE YEARS LATER, INFORMATION ACCESS IS STILL STALLED

Gloria Galloway And Bill Curry
The Globe and Mail
Friday, Oct. 08, 2010

OTTAWA- Next month, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's unfulfilled promise to strengthen
Canada's access-to-information laws will be five years old.

The pledge stands out among the Conservative pledges made during the 2005-06 election campaign that brought Mr. Harper to power, because most have since been checked off. The Harper government's first piece of legislation was a broad package of accountability rules, yet stronger access laws were left for another day.

The Conservatives now show little interest in the file. The government says it remains “committed to transparency and openness” but has thwarted repeated attempts to reform the access-to-information system. It argues reform is complex and requires extensive consultations.

No governing party or public servant eagerly turns over embarrassing documents. But Mr. Harper promised to be different from the Liberals, who left a system that was declared in need of a massive overhaul.

Instead, political interference in access requests has forced the resignation of a cabinet aide and the number of complaints received by the federal Information Commissioner is up 17 per cent since the Conservatives came to power. Major government departments have hired outside consultants to clear the backlog of delayed files, often by asking journalists and other requesters to simply abandon their requests...

FULL ARTICLE: Click Here

* * *

MOTHER FILES CLASS ACTION SUIT OVER INFANT BLOOD SAMPLING IN B.C.
By DARRYL GREER
Courthouse News Services
May 27, 2010

VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) - A mother has filed a class action accusing British Columbia's Provincial Health Services Authority of collecting blood samples from every infant born in B.C. and the Yukon since 1999 without permission.

Natalie Docherty and her two children, identified as L.D. and E.D., say the agency collected blood samples from the infants before sending them off to a lab to test for "18 detectable disorders." The samples were later sent to a storage facility where the authority holds nearly 800,000 sample cards, which are accessed by researchers for "unknown research and testing purposes," the complaint states.

"Potential users of the blood sample cards include law enforcement personnel and agencies, coroners, health regulators and health insurers," the complaint states. "The blood sample storage facility amounts to a legally unauthorized fully functional DNA database. Expansion of the range of information that can be extracted from blood is reasonably foreseeable."

The agency allegedly failed to tell parents that the blood samples would be used for anything other than testing for diseases and conditions, and failed to get patients' consent to store the samples.

The plaintiffs want the blood samples destroyed and demand damages for breach of privacy and breach of their rights against unlawful search and seizure.

The class is represented by Jason B. Gratl.

SOURCE: http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/05/27/27621.htm

* * *

UK SCHOOL CHILDREN MONITORED ‘AS CLOSELY AS INMATES’ BY CCTV
March 16, 2010

Children in the United Kingdom are being monitored as closely as inmates in prisons as schools break the law to introduce scores of covert CCTV cameras, a ground-breaking new study has found.

The vast majority of secondary schools use more than 20 CCTV cameras to capture children’s movements in corridors, playgrounds and even the toilets. But many are breaking the law by failing to make it clear to pupils where cameras are located and how the images might be used. At least one unnamed school has installed cameras with microphones in classrooms and corridors and given staff earpieces to listen in on conversations.

The spread of CCTV in schools is documented in a study by a researcher based at Salford University. Dr Emmeline Taylor studied surveyed 24 comprehensives in the north west of England and discovered that 23 had installed more than 20 cameras. Out of three studied in-depth, two had gone as far as placing them in the toilets. Dr Taylor also found that schools are increasingly using biometric technology - such as fingerprint, iris or facial recognition systems - for ‘mundane’ reasons such as lending library books. Parents are often in the dark about the biometric data taken from their children or the extent of CCTV. ‘There has been very little attempt to inform the general public, including parents, about the extent that schools are using surveillance devices, including biometric surveillance,’ said Dr Taylor. ‘The level of surveillance that some pupils are subjected to on a daily basis rivals that of international airports and prisons.’

SOURCE: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1258259/Children-monitored-closely-inmates-CCTV-schools.html

* * *

SCATHING REPORT DETAILS BOTCHED E-HEALTH PLANS
By Vaughn Palmer
Vancouver Sun
February 18, 2010

The B.C. Liberal drive for electronic records-keeping in the health care system is behind schedule, over budget, poorly planned and still a long way from realizing any benefits to patients, according to auditor general John Doyle.

Doyle released a report Wednesday Click Here that chronicled a list of failings so comprehensive as to raise doubts about whether the Electronic Health Records project could be said to be "managed" in any proper sense whatsoever...

The report marks the second time in a week that the auditor general has been highly critical of electronic record keeping in the health care sector. Last Wednesday, he blasted the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority for inadequate security on the electronic records it maintains on some 600,000 patients receiving residential care and other services. (Report: Click Here Article, Vancouver Sun: Click Here) The problems were so extensive Doyle held off releasing that report for six months, until the authority could address more than 100 recommendations for improving security and protecting patient privacy.

VAUGHN PALMER: COLUMNS ON THIS TOPIC Click Here or Click Here


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FIPA DENOUNCES WASTE OF $180 MILLION ON PROGRAM TO COLLECT AND SWAP ‘UNPRECEDENTED AMOUNT OF PERSONAL INFORMATION' ON CITIZENS
February 11, 2010

In a letter sent to Premier Gordon Campbell today, FIPA Executive Director Darrell Evans criticized the announcement in the Speech From the Throne that $180 million will be spent to create an "Integrated Case Management system"(ICM).

"The ICM system will have a severe negative effect on both the privacy rights of British Columbians and the public purse," Evans wrote. "It will involve massive and unprecedented collection, use and disclosure of personal information by the provincial government."

In light of reports blasting the provincial government for inadequate policies, care and competence in protecting the privacy of citizens, this kind of project should be put on hold, at least until adequate study and consultation has taken place, as recommended by the Information and Privacy Commissioner in last year’s annual report.

FIPA letter to Premier Campbell Click Here

Government news release, NEW CASE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM TO IMPROVE SERVICE AND SECURITY Click Here

Editorial, Times Colonist: GIANT DATABASE A THREAT TO PRIVACY Click Here or Click Here

FIPA article: INTEGRATED CASE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM PUTS CLIENT PRIVACY AND ORGANIZATIONAL RELATIONSHIPS AT RISK Click Here

Information and Privacy Commissioner Annual Report 2008-2009 Click Here

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US GOVERNMENT POSTING WEALTH OF DATA TO INTERNET
January 22, 2010

US Government Posting Wealth of Data to Internet
The Obama administration on Friday is posting to the Internet a wealth of government data from all Cabinet-level departments, on topics ranging from child car seats to Medicare services. The mountain of newly available information comes a year and a day after President Barack Obama promised on his first full day on the job an open, transparent government. Under a Dec. 8 White House directive, each department must post online at least three collections of “high-value” government data that never have been previously disclosed.

Required to release the three new data sets are the departments of State, Treasury, Defence, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security and the Environmental Protection Agency, the offices of the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and the Council of Economic Advisers.

* The Transportation Department will post ratings for 2,400 lines of tires for consumer safety based on tire tread wear, traction performance and temperature resistance.

* The Labor Department will release the names of 80,000 workplaces where injuries and illness have occurred over the past 10 years.

* The Medicare database has previously been available for a fee of $100 on CD ROM. Under the Obama initiative, it can be downloaded free, providing detailed breakdowns of payments for Medicare services.

* The Medicare data will be sortable by the type of medical service provided.

* A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration database rates car seats for ease of use, evaluating the simplicity of instruction sheets, labels, vehicle installation features and securing the child.

“We’re democratizing data,” White House Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra said Thursday in an interview.

Open government groups are supportive. All the new data collections will be added to the government’s Web site called 'data.gov'.

Source: Click Here

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INFORMATION AND PRIVACY COMMISSIONER OF BC APPOINTED AS DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL
January 20th, 2010

Information and Privacy Commissioner David Loukidelis has been appointed British Columbia’s Deputy Attorney General. The appointment will be effective February 1, 2010.

The BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA) wishes to thank the outgoing Commissioner for his exemplary work and leadership during a trying period for Freedom of Information and privacy in the province.

"Commissioner Loukidelis did an outstanding job as Commissioner and we hope his successor is of equally high quality," said FIPA Executive Director Darrell Evans. "His decisions and recommendations showed a wisdom and long term vision which will continue to set the tone in FOI and privacy matters for years to come."

Loukidelis has become an internationally-recognized expert in access to information and privacy protection issues, and has written hundreds of access-to-information and privacy decisions under B.C.’s public and private sector access and privacy laws. In addition to serving as Information and Privacy Commissioner, he has served as Registrar of Lobbyists under the Lobbyists Registration Act.

Loukidelis was a founding member of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association and served as its president in the early 1990s.

The government has said it will appoint an Acting Commissioner in the next few days, but a permanent replacement for Commissioner Loukidelis will require the unanimous recommendation of a special legislative committee.

Link to the government press release: Click Here

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FBI FAKED TERROR ALERTS TO GET PHONE RECORDS

By Chris Williams
20th January 2010
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/20/fbi_phone/

The FBI fabricated terrorism emergencies to obtain thousands of phone records between 2002 and 2006, it's been revealed.

The Bureau created "exigent letters" to get around rules that had already been significantly loosened by the Patriot Act. The letters were used to obtain some 2,000 phone records, The Washington Post reports.

Washington Post and New York Times journalists were among the targets.

The internal concerns were confirmed in emails that are part of an investigation by the Justice Department's inspector general, which is due to report this month.

As well as fabricating emergencies, FBI counter-terror investigators obtained phone records by simply leaning on operators, getting approval after the fact with blanket authorisations.

The Patriot Act allowed investigators to effectively self-certify their requests for communications data, using a "National Security Letter" (NSL), a type of subpoena without judicial oversight. The Justice Department has found that by fabricating emergencies and sending NSLs after it had obtained phone records, the FBI violated what civil liberties protections remained.

In response, the FBI claimed that although it did not follow statutory process to obtain the records, they were all legitimate targets for investigation.

"The [Justice Department] report is not expected to find — nor were there — any intentional attempts to obtain records that counterterrorism personnel knew they were not legally entitled to obtain," said assistant director of public affairs Michael Kortan.

He added all the numbers obtained have been deleted and that "steps were taken as early as 2006 to ensure similar situations do not occur in the future". However, The Washington Post said it had seen emails showing FBI lawyers sounded the alarm in 2005.

The US NSL system is similar to the UK's Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) regime for authorities to obtain communications data from phone companies and ISPs. Each has no judicial oversight and investigators effectively self-certify their requests.

The UK system is much broader, however, with no requirement that national security is threatened and many more agencies, such as local councils, empowered to access records.

Oversight is provided by a former High Court judge appointed by the Prime Minister, who produces an annual report. In 2008, the most recent available, he says that 595 errors were made but added: "I am not convinced that any useful purpose would be served by providing a more detailed report of these errors."

The government is developing a major extension to communi-cations surveillance that would require internet firms to retain huge amounts of extra data, under the Interception Moderni-sation Programme. Ministers have argued that that RIPA will be sufficient to govern access to the newly available terabytes of private information. ®

Related stories

* UN issues call for international privacy agreement (20 January 2010)
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/20/un_terror/
* RIPA III: A legislative turkey comes home to roost (25 November 09)
http://www.theregister.co.uk/09/11/25/jfl_ripa_opinion/
* UK jails schizophrenic for refusal to decrypt files (24 November 09)
http://www.theregister.co.uk/09/11/24/ripa_jfl/
* Government rejects call to secure snoop data (9 November 09)
http://www.theregister.co.uk/09/11/09/ripa_consultation/
* FBI and SOCA plot cybercrime smackdown (22 October 09)
http://www.theregister.co.uk/09/10/22/soca_fbi_cybercrime_strategy/
* Increase in comms snooping? You ain't seen nothing yet (10 August 09)
http://www.theregister.co.uk/09/08/10/interception_commissioner/
* Mobile operators question net snoop plan (1 July 09)
http://www.theregister.co.uk/09/07/01/imp_evidence/
* ISPs frosty on Jacqui's comms surveillance plan (2 June 09)
http://www.theregister.co.uk/09/06/02/imp_reception/
* Councils to lose some spy powers (17 April 09)
http://www.theregister.co.uk/09/04/17/home_office_snoop_review/
* Bush-era NSA wiretap violations exposed (16 April 09)
http://www.theregister.co.uk/09/04/16/nsa_warrentless_wiretapping_scope_creep/

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GROUPS CALL ON PREMIER TO BRING BC FERRIES BACK UNDER FOI ACT

November 16, 2009

FIPA, the BC Civil Liberties Association, and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation sent a letter to Premier Gordon Campbell today calling for the return of BC Ferries to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

A report by the province’s Comptroller General revealed a culture of secrecy and entitlement at the provincially-owned but privately-run company. BC Ferries was removed from the provincial freedom of information law in 2003 by the Liberal government as part of a massive re-organization of the company.

"This is a concrete example in dollars and cents of how important freedom of information really is," said FIPA Executive Director Darrell Evans. "I doubt BC Ferries officials would have been paid these outrageous salaries and bonuses if they knew citizens or the media could ask for them through the freedom of information act."

The enormous salaries and bonuses that were the highlight of the Comptroller General’s report became public knowledge only when changes to federal securities regulations required BC Ferries to disclose them.

"The government should act immediately to put BC Ferries back under the FOI act," said Micheal Vonn of the BCCLA. "Clearly they made a mistake in removing the company from scrutiny by the public, and they should correct that error immediately."

"The Ferry Authority and Board are not accountable to anyone, and as politicians are not minding the store, citizens, watchdog groups and the media must be empowered to ensure taxpayers are getting value for money," said Maureen Bader, BC Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. "Putting BC Ferries back under the FOI act is the first step to renewing accountability and transparency among organizations receiving tax dollars."

A Special Committee of the Legislature is now reviewing the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. All three groups intend to make submissions for improving the law and will call upon other concerned citizens and groups to do the same.

The letter to Premier Campbell is available at
Click Here

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HOUSE OF COMMONS ETHICS COMMITTEE ISSUES NEW REPORT ON REFORM OF THE ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT
June 2009
LINK: Click Here

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BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING US
Feb. 24, 2009

Follow the instructions below for a real-life demonstration ... and then imagine the effectiveness of those guys taking pictures at the last demo you attended...

An interesting demonstration of how far imagery has come. You can take a picture of a million people (or thereabouts) and still get down to individual faces. Wow....

This picture was taken with a commercial Canon digital camera at 1,474 Megapixels. 295x better than the standard 5 Megapixel! Double click an area, let it focus as it zooms in, then do it again. And again, or just use the scroll wheel of your mouse. Imagine what the military has now..
http://gigapan.org/viewGigapanFullscreen.php?auth=033ef14483ee899496648c2b4b06233c

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CANADIAN JUDGE RULES INTERNET USERS HAVE “NO REASONABLE EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY”
February 13, 2009
A judge in Canada has ruled that Internet users have “no reasonable expectation of privacy” regarding records kept by their Internet service providers (ISPs). The ruling was made in the course of a child pornography case in which law enforcement officers asked an ISP to provide subscriber information for an IP address that was allegedly used to access the content. Bell Canada provided the information without a warrant. Most Canadian ISPs require warrants before they will provide subscriber names, except in the case of child pornography. Privacy advocates are concerned the ruling could set a precedent that would put individuals’ entire surfing history at the disposal of law enforcement authorities without the need for warrants. They maintain the judge operated under the faulty assumption that the information obtained from the ISP is similar to what could be found in a telephone directory.

Source: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=1283120
Source: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Police+have+access+your+online+history/1286193/story.html

OTTAWA RECALLS SENSITIVE DATABASE IN BORDER PROJECT

The federal government is repatriating a database of personal information about Canadian citizens after warnings the U.S. government might misuse it. The database with details about several hundred British Columbians was turned over to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency last year as part of a controversial project to issue “enhanced driver’s licences” instead of passports for land-border crossings.

The pilot project is the first step in a Canada-wide program that could have seen the personal information of hundreds of thousands of Canadians handed over wholesale to American officials. But the Canada Border Services Agency has bowed to pressure from privacy advocates and is recalling the database, with the U.S. border agency promising to erase its records. Instead, as the project expands, the growing personal databanks will reside in Canada, accessible electronically -with strict limits- by American border officials.

“The data will remain in Canada, and it will be accessed remotely,” said David Loukidelis, British Columbia’s privacy commissioner and a critic of the original plan.

ACCESS-TO-INFORMATION LAWS TOO WEAK: WATCHDOG

Canada’s information commissioner says existing access-to-information laws are too weak. and lack measures that would force the federal government to hand over the records Canadians have a right to see. Commissioner Robert Marleau will table “a shopping list of legislative amendments” next month for MPs to consider. But he says it’s vital Treasury Board President Vic Toews take steps to force individual government departments to give their access-to-information offices the money and staff to fulfil their legal obligations under Canada’s Access to Information Act. Marleau said the decision by Canada’s Foreign Affairs Department to systematically prevent the release of hundreds of thousands of government records is a symptom of a much broader problem, where bureaucrats are trying to use every administrative trick in the book to avoid a mounting workload. “There is a systemic problem; it’s not just a departmental performance issue. The centre, like Treasury Board Secretariat, has to exercise some leadership to turn this ship around,” Marleau said.
Source: http://www.nationalpost.com/story.html?id=1297902

POLICE CHIEFS URGE OTTAWA TO CHANGE LAWS TO HELP BATTLE CRIME
February 19, 2009
Canada’s police chiefs lined up to support B.C.’s fight against gang violence and urged Ottawa to make much-needed legal changes to help police battle crime. Steven Chabot, president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, said what’s really needed are new federal laws to help police wiretap digital devices and make evidence disclosure less of a burden on the legal system.”There is almost universal understanding this is a crucial area of law that needs updating,” Chabot said at a meeting of B.C. police chiefs in Victoria. “What is required now is for the Government of Canada to act.” B.C. Solicitor General John van Dongen said he’ll travel to Ottawa next week to lobby the federal government.

Source: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/Police+chiefs+urge+Ottawa+change+laws+help+battle+crime/1306851/story.html

SURVEY: PRIVACY A MAJOR CONCERN AMONG WEB SURFERS
Feb 20, 2009
Following on the heels of Facebook’s decision to rescind a highly controversial move to store all content posted on the social network, new data has emerged to support consumers’ increasing alarm over online privacy. The vast majority—80.1%—of Web surfers are indeed concerned about the privacy of their personal information such as age, gender, income and Web-surfing habits, according to a survey of some 4,000 Web users administered and analyzed by Burst Media. More worrisome, perhaps, is the finding that privacy concerns are prevalent among all age segments, including younger demographics that are coming of age online.Still, privacy concerns do appear to increase with age, from 67.3% among respondents ages 18-24 to 85.7% of respondents 55 years and older. In addition, the Burst survey found that most Web users believe Web sites are tracking their behavior online. Three out of five—62.5%—respondents indicated it is likely that a Web site they visit collects information on how they navigate and interact with it. Based strictly on the description “advertisements more relevant to interest,” only one in five respondents—23.2%—said they would not mind if non-personally identifiable information was collected if ads were better targeted.

Source: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=100617 Source: http://www.burstmedia.com/research/current.asp

INTERNATIONAL PANEL: ‘WAR ON TERROR’ HAS DILUTED PRINCIPLES
February 18, 2009
An international group of judges and lawyers has warned that systemic torture and other abuses in the global “war on terror” have “undermined cherished values” of civil rights in the United States, Britain and other countries. “We have been shocked by the damage done over the past seven years by excessive or abusive counterterrorism measures in a wide range of countries around the world,” Arthur Chaskalson, a member of the International Commission of Jurists, said in a statement announcing the results of a three-year study of counterterrorism measures since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. “Many governments, ignoring the lessons of history, have allowed themselves to be rushed into hasty responses to terrorism that have undermined cherished values and violated human rights,’’ said Chaskalson, a former chief justice of South Africa. The Geneva-based panel’s conclusions, released Monday, were echoed by a former British domestic intelligence chief, who said people in Britain felt as if they were living in a “police state” because of the government’s counterterrorism actions. “It would be better that the government recognized that there are risks – rather than frightening people in order to be able to pass laws which restrict civil liberties, precisely one of the objects of terrorism – that we live in fear and under a police state,” said Stella Rimington, former head of MI5, the domestic intelligence-gathering agency.

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/17/AR2009021703013.html


FOREIGN AFFAIRS VIOLATING DISCLOSURE LAWS: EXPERTS
David Akin, Canwest News Service
February 16, 2009
OTTAWA -- Canada's Foreign Affairs Department has systematically prevented the release of hundreds of thousands of government records on everything from the mission in Afghanistan to the NATO briefing materials Maxime Bernier left at his girlfriend's home, Canwest News Service has learned.
Two legal experts say the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) violated Canada's Access to Information laws when it decided to systematically charge "preparation fees" before responding to Access to Information requests, effectively creating a barrier to government records being sought by ordinary Canadians, academics, businesses and journalists.
An official with the Office of the Information Commissioner, Parliament's Access to Information watchdog, said it is investigating complaints that have been filed over the policy.
"There is an issue there over possible denial of access," Andrea Neill, the assistant commissioner of information, said Friday.

Source: http://www.nationalpost.com/story.html?id=1297902


PRIVACY PROTECTION MUST BE PART OF VANCOUVER OLYMPIC GAMES PLANNING, SAY FEDERAL AND B.C. PRIVACY COMMISSIONERS

VICTORIA, February 2, 2009 – The Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia say that security and law enforcement agencies have to find the right balance between security requirements and privacy for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

“Experience has shown that Olympic Games and other mega-events can leave a troubling legacy – large-scale, security surveillance systems installed for mega-events often remain long after the event is over,” said Privacy Commissioner of Canada Jennifer Stoddart.

“Our hope is that Vancouver-area residents will not wind up surrounded by surveillance systems they neither want nor need. This would be an unfortunate legacy of the 2010 Games,” added her colleague, B.C. Commissioner David Loukidelis.

What happened following the Athens Games of 2004 is a case in point. Closed-circuit cameras installed for the Games were left in place afterwards to help law enforcement monitor citizens, notably during public demonstrations.

The two Commissioners have discussed security and privacy issues for the Games and will collaborate in monitoring security measures and privacy protections, in order to ensure that privacy rights are fully respected during the Games and after.

Full news release: http://www.privcom.gc.ca/media/nr-c/2009/nr-c_090202_e.asp

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P.E.I. GOVERNMENT FALSIFIED WORKER’S JOB RECORD: PRIVACY COMMISSIONER
Dec 31 2008
The P.E.I. Department of Transportation has been ordered to apologize to a former employee after it provided incomplete records following an access to information request. The department must also provide training to all of its employees about the province’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

The strongly worded decision came out last week following the investigation of the department’s response to a request from a former employee for all records pertaining to her employment under the province’s freedom of information law. When she got the documents, she complained that a large amount of information seemed to be missing.

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TORIES FAILING TO END ERA OF SECRECY, GOMERY SAYS
March 14th, 2008
[Excerpt, link to full Globe and Mail article below]

The Harper Conservatives have failed to deliver on their key election promise to open up the federal government to greater scrutiny and to offer a transparent administration to Canadians, retired judge John Gomery told MPs yesterday.

The former head of the inquiry into the sponsorship scandal said the government is "badly misjudging" the situation if it believes Canadians will tolerate a government that doesn't adhere to transparency.

"The era of secrecy in government is the past. I'm convinced that any government that behaves secretly is eventually sowing the seeds of its own defeat," he said.

Mr. Gomery's comments came as the Conservatives are under intense opposition attacks for their refusal to release information on detainees in Afghanistan, their conflicts with various government agencies and their overall focus on secrecy.

Mr. Gomery made 19 recommendations to the government in 2006 after two years at the head of his inquiry, and said he heard a near-unanimous call for greater transparency as a protection against other scandals.

He added that, in his view, there is a need for decentralization of power in Ottawa, to get away from the growing trend toward a "one-man government." He said that two years later, he is surprised that the Harper government has not acted on many of his proposals, and that it has also failed to enact some of its key election promises.

In the last campaign, the Conservatives specifically vowed to "implement the Information Commissioner's recommendations for reform of the Access to Information Act (ATI Act)."

The promise was in reference to former information commissioner John Reid's plans for the act, which included the creation of a public-interest clause that could override the numerous reasons to hide information from the public.

But the Harper government has not made any major changes to the access to information sys


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