State Surveillance

The Issue

Documents released by Edward Snowden have revealed a degree of state surveillance that exceeds almost everyone’s worst fears.  What is unknown are the full effects pervasive surveillance is having on individual action and decision-making and the viability of our democratic institutions.

Why It Matters

Intellectual privacy is essential for free expression. It is the privacy that shields us from surveillance as we generate and explore ideas, discuss them with confidants, and prepare to express our thoughts and engage in action in our everyday lives and in the public domain.

Our Work

The Centre for Free Expression explores the extent, nature and effects of surveillance. Our focus is to create greater public awareness and understanding of these issues and to promote discussion of laws, policies and practices that ensure democratic and human rights are not compromised


Upcoming Event: You’re being watched: How we can expose the watchers and protect our rights

Speaker: Evan Light

Discussants: Andrew Clement and Brenda McPhail

News: CFE Releases Report: Chilling Free Expression in Canada – Canadian Journalists’ and Writers’ Views on Mass Surveillance

A survey conducted by the Centre for Free Expression, in collaboration with the Canadian Association of Journalists and PEN Canada, finds writers and journalists have serious concerns about mass surveillance, resulting in some now self-censoring their own activities.

Report: Chilling Free Expression in Canada: Canadian Writers' and Journalists' Views on Mass Surveillance

Centre for Free Expression in collaboration with PEN Canada and the Canadian Association of Journalists.

November 2016

Blog Post: Terrorism Speech Offences Will Undermine Radicalization Prevention Efforts

Many countries are stressing the importance of measures to counter radicalization to violence.  Unfortunately, we really don’t know, at this point, what measures are effective.  So far, the limited research and the experience of other countries have mostly served to show us what is not effective.

By Micheal Vonn

Past Event: Is fear of terrorism jeopardizing your rights? Bill C-51 and National Security

Panelists: Faisal Bhabha, Tom Henheffer, Sukanya Pillay

Moderator: James L. Turk

Guide/Advice: Surveillance Self-Defense

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Archive: Snowden Digital Surveillance Archive

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) and the Politics of Surveillance Project