Henry Farrell, cyber-rights prof from the University of Toronto, is attending the Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference in NYC this week, and he's taking fantastic and copious notes on his blog.
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George Radwanski, Federal Privacy Commissioner of Canada
The US and Canada are very close in many ways, but are also very different. This is not to say that Canada is better, but it is different. One difference is in privacy laws
Radwanski is the Privacy Commissioner for Canada - he has responsibilities for both public and private sector. Is a voice for privacy on policy issues. There is no equivalent in the US. Radwanski is talking on behalf of Canada - he isn't able to tell any other country what to do
But in the wake of September 11, privacy has become an international issue. People were outraged by the attacks, and there was a need for security, and to address the psychological side, the crippling fear that people had. And this last is the goal of terrorism, what terrorism wants.
Usually, this is fairly specific, but by all accounts the goals of the current terrorist movement are much broader and diffuse. They want to attack the West; our freedoms and values are precisely the target. When people see what terrorists are capable of, it's easy to lose perspective, and to think that privacy has become a luxury
But this only rewards terrorism, it doesn't diminish it, it doesn't safeguard our lives. We could evacuate high rise towers, close subways and so on, but no reasonable person would advocate this.