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Friday January 31, 2003
Imagine a Canada in which every citizen is finger-printed and retina-scanned.

Imagine massive government databases that use these biometric identifiers to catalogue people's travel habits at home and abroad, their Internet usage, their e-mail and cell phone conversations and even videotapes them as they converse on a street corner. Such a nightmare scenario was tabled Wednesday in the staid House of Commons by the federal ombudsman appointed to safeguard Canadian privacy. And George Radwanksi says this Orwellian society could be the natural evolution of the Liberal government's "unprecedented assault" on privacy rights.

"A year and half ago, if anyone had described the measures now being introduced, no one would have thought it would happen," the federal privacy commissioner told a news conference after he submitted his report.

"It's easy in a country like Canada to say bad things don't happen, nobody would intrude on our rights ... (but) all we have to do is look back at history."

Whether it be the internment of Japanese Canadians in the 1940s or the RCMP opening mail and torching barns in Quebec in the 1970s, "we're not immune from excesses by the state," said Radwanski. Source...

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