Canada Takes Aim at the Patriot Act

| January / February 2008

Concerned about cyberspooks spying along their virtual border, Canadian officials have passed a series of provincial laws that require government institutions to protect private data from U.S. investigative agencies empowered by the Patriot Act. In practice, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education (Sept. 14, 2007), Canada’s countermeasures have stressed its colleges, which must now store and secure student records, faculty résumés, and accompanying data on campus. In the past, schools could park digital files on cheaper, offsite servers, some of them on American soil. Now professors are often not allowed to cross the border with laptops that could be compromised. Building firewalls around the ivory tower is neither cheap nor convenient, but as Ian Forsyth, information and privacy coordinator at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, says, many Canadians are “uneasy about how potential information could be used by the U.S. government.”