An Invasion of Privacy
by Elyette Levy on February 5, 2017 - 9:18pm
According to the Merriam-Webster, ‘freedom of the press’ means “the right of newspapers, magazines, etc., to report news without being controlled by the government”. Despite it sounding simple, it seems it has been a tough promise to keep in recent years. The illusion that reporters nowadays have freedom of the press had already started to tear at the edges in 2013, when whistleblower (although I would argue that word is misleading – perhaps brave man would be more appropriate) Edward Snowden revealed that the National Security Agency was snooping on its and many other countries’ citizens (CNN). But in 2016, it was completely shattered when news came out that seven Quebec journalists had been spied by Montreal police officers.
In a CBC news article, journalist Sabrina Marandola reports that the spying had been going on since 2013, during an investigation by the Charbonneau Commission on corruption. At the time, the ex-president of the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ), Michel Arsenault, had all the public’s attention because of some collusion accusations involving Quebecer entrepreneur Tony Accurso, as well as being at the center of another investigation where he was being wiretapped by the commission. He then complained to the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), “which forced police to do an inquiry … So they decided to ask for this warrant to spy on [the journalists’] cellular phone”.
The article, which was posted on the 2nd of November, mention the first case that came out: that of Patrick Lagacé. The police had 24 warrants to “track [his] whereabouts using the GPS chip in his iPhone, and to obtain the identities of everyone he communicated with.” As the reporters explained, this is a practice that was made by both the Montreal police force and the Quebec provincial authorities (SQ).
What does this say on our authorities’, the people who are supposed to protect and serve us, opinions about human rights? What does this mean about our democracy, which is being used as a model alongside the US’ in countries all around the world? But most importantly, does this mean that, from now on, freedom of speech implies violating human rights? If so, what’s the point of having freedom of speech at all?
Link to the article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-journalists-police-spying-...