Vive Le Canada

Post-9/11 laws too intrusive for some Canadians
Date: Tuesday, November 14 2006

Post-9/11 laws too intrusive for some Canadians
13/11/2006 3:58:18 PM

Almost half of Canadians and even more Americans feel new post-9/11 laws aimed at protecting national security are too intrusive, says a new survey.

"It would have surprised me if we had these results immediately after 9/11," Queen's sociology professor and the project's lead investigator, Elia Zureik, told Canada AM on Monday.

"But now... the whole sort of fear campaign has subsided and people are getting back to normal assessment which means that privacy means a lot to people."
Forty-seven per cent of Canadians, 53 per cent of Spaniards and 57 per of Americans called current surveillance laws intrusive.

Zureik said while the concern was high the level of understanding was not.

"Canadians known very little about legislation governing privacy of information across the country," he said.

The survey examined the surveillance and privacy attitudes and experiences of 9,000 people from eight countries.

Sixty per cent of Canadians, Hungarians, Brazilians and Chinese rejected the implementation of extra airport security checks for visible minorities. Meanwhile, only a third of Americans were against such practices.

"The campaign in the United States is probably more vociferous than it is in Canada and as a result people are getting more used to the idea," said Zureik.

Showing a majority of support for national ID cards:
The U.S. did not have a majority with only 42 per cent in favour of the cards. The Canadian survey results showed Quebec residents supported the cards more than the country as a whole with 62 per cent in favour.

"Europeans have more faith and trust in the government to regulate information," said Zureik.

"Whether this is true or not we don't know but the point is that people have more faith in involving the government... less do in North America."
Zureik said the survey found a gap between the media coverage of privacy issues and terrorism.

"When people were asked about whether the media devotes enough attention to the privacy of information: the majority said no. They said they devote more time and coverage of stories revolving around terrorism than they do of stories involving a violation of personal information, whether by the government or the private sector."

Regarding the Internet, 66 per cent of Canadians, 54 per cent of Chinese, 60 per cent of Americans, 62 per cent of Spaniards and 70 per cent of Brazilians worry about sharing personal details online.

[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on November 14, 2006]

This article comes from Vive Le Canada

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