Travellers urged to tell their stories about being caught in web of government "no-fly" and other watch lists



    OTTAWA, June 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Several civil liberties groups and major
labour unions are launching an innovative project aimed at documenting the
impacts of the no-fly lists and other government watch lists on our civil
rights, privacy rights and mobility rights.
    "Over the past year, we realized that we needed to document the growing
surveillance of travellers," said Roch Tassé, coordinator of the International
Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG).
    "We were hearing too many troubling stories of people caught in the
growing web of watch lists. The stories that have come to light may just be
the tip of the iceberg," said Maureen Webb of the Canadian Association of
University Teachers (CAUT).
    The research project is led by the 38-member pan-Canadian coalition - the
International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group in partnership with the
Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE),
the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), the Polaris Institute,
the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA), and the Québec-based
Ligue des droits et libertés.
    "We are seeing both workers and travellers subjected to increased
surveillance, invasive security measures and limitations applied to mobility
and privacy rights. It is really part of a National INsecurity agenda, and
doesn't necessarily result in greater sense of safety and wellbeing for
anyone. No-fly lists, watch lists, the sharing of vast amounts of personal
data, and questionable security assessments are practices that demand more
public debate," said Karl Flecker, the CLC's National Director of the Human
Rights Department.
    The ICLMG wants to hear stories from travellers and their encounters with
airlines, transport and border officials in Canada and the U.S. The website
www.travelwatchlist.ca explains the goals of the project, and allows people to
tell their stories. Individuals can also contact the project via a toll-free
number or by mail. The ICLMG and its partners will not release or publish any
personal information without prior consent.

    Some findings:

    
    - Although Canada's no-fly list was introduced on June 18, 2007, airlines
      continue to use the U.S. no-fly list - even when they fly domestically;
    - A number of people have been mistakenly identified as being on a no-fly
      list but refuse to discuss it publicly for fear of attracting more
      attention to themselves;
    - People who have encountered problems no longer fly or visit the U.S.
      for fear of harassment;
    - A significant number of people who continue to be detained at the
      borders are from racialized communities, peace activists or have a
      history of labour activism;
    - There is considerable ignorance and confusion about the Canadian watch
      list. Even Liberal Senator Colin Kenny who chairs the National Security
      and Defence committee appeared confused a couple of weeks ago when he
      asked the Transport minister to remove his 33-year old son's name from
      the Canadian no-fly list. He said Robert, a Toronto Crown attorney, has
      been encountering problems when flying in Canada and the U.S. for the
      past five years. However the Canadian no-fly list is a year-old. He
      also complained that his youngest son, James, is also on some sort of
      airline watch list.
    - In the first year of the Passenger Protect Program, Transport Canada
      reports approximately 100 cases of false positives based on a list that
      is said to contain between 500 and 3,000 names.
    - According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the U.S. watch lists
      will have ballooned to include one million names by next month.
    - In the U.S., one airline reports 9,000 false positives every single
      day.
    - There is little recourse for an individual who shares the name of
      someone on a no-fly list.
    




For further information:

For further information: Patricia Poirier, (514) 295-9364;
www.travelwatchlist.ca; www.surveillancedesvoyageurs.ca

Organization Profile

THE INTERNATIONAL CIVIL LIBERTIES MONITORING GROUP (ICLMG)

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