Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Canada - Government to make criminals of anyone with leaked information, lawyer argues

This story about a current court case in Canada under the Security of Information Act from the Ottawa Citizen makes in interesting reading, the case dates back to the raids on Ottawa Citizenb reporter Juliet O’Neill’s home and office Jan. 21, 2004, after she wrote an article in the Citizen about Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen who was put under surveillance by Canadian security forces and subsequently deported to Syria by the U.S. government.

David Paciocco (her lawyer) argued that the Security of Information Act -- originally intended to prevent spies and traitors from gaining secret information that might jeopardize Canada's national security -- is now being re-interpreted by the government as "the enforcement arm of the Access to Information Act."

The line taken in Canada is:
"Both leakers and recipients of leaked material must know that absent authorization, releasing information that could not be given out pursuant to a request under the Access to Information Act is highly questionable activity," the factum states."

There are similar issues here in relation to the al-jazeera memo, the Daily Mirror story and the prosection of Keogh and O'Connor under the Official Secrets Act, which is scheduled to start on October 9th 2006. Given that FOIA requests (including one by myself) have been made for the memo I wonder if similar arguments will be used here ? (though this maybe less likely as the OSA has explicit wording in S3 about information relating to International relations)

Read more about the al-Jazeera memo

Wikipedia entry on the memo

No comments: