The Harper government’s anti-terrorism bill has a new opponent: The Firefox web browser.
The Mozilla project, the open-source software community behind the Firefox browser, has issued a statement urging the federal government not to go ahead with Bill C-51.
The bill’s move to broadly expand information sharing between governments and give new powers to Canada’s intel agencies will “undermine user trust, threaten the openness of the Web, and reduce the security of the Internet and its users,” Mozilla internet policy director Jochai Ben-Avie said in a statement published on the Mozilla blog.
“C-51 is sweeping in scope, including granting Canadian intelligence agencies CSIS and CSE new authority for offensive online attacks, as well as allowing these agencies to obtain significant amounts of information held by the Canadian government,” Ben-Avie wrote.
He argued the broad nature of information-sharing between government agencies would erode trust in government, and described the Canadian bill as “even more concerning” than the controversial CISA bill making its way through the U.S. Congress.
Since it was tabled, Bill C-51 has slowly gained numerous opponents concerned about a lack of oversight of intelligence agencies under the bill, as well as numerous privacy and civil liberties issues.
Opponents of the bill have included some allies of the Harper government, including the National Firearms Association and even a Tory MP -- Michael Chong -- who is concerned about the bill’s lack of parliamentary oversight of intelligence agencies.
The Canadian Bar Association last week came out against the bill, arguing it contains “ill-considered” measures that erode Canadians' civil liberties without making them safer.
The bill’s “vague and overly broad” language means it could be used to harass protesters and put a chill on legitimate dissent, the group said.
For these reasons, aboriginal groups have also come out against the bill.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has been among the most vocal opponents of the bill, along with the NDP. The Liberal Party under leader Justin Trudeau has backed the legislation.
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