La Presse journalist Patrick Lagacé Surveilled by Police

La Presse journalist Patrick Lagacé just found out his phone was tapped by Quebec police, one of 7 other Quebec reporters. His meta data and geolocated movement were legally obtained, through 24 court ordered warrants for police surveillance. This is shocking.

DS ()Diana Swain): We’ve focused on journalists, and that’s what we’ve heard about this week. But should Canadians at large be concerned about this? People who are not journalists?

PL (La Presse journalist Patrick Lagacé):

Yes, and for a very good reason. If you want to have a healthy debate, healthy debates, in this society, you cannot rely only on official truths. You cannot rely only on what spokespersons tell you. You cannot rely only on what you find in press releases. This is what a free press does. We try to get all the facts, even the facts that institutions, like the police, doesn’t want you — Canadians — to hear about. So if we cannot do that freely, we cannot have healthy debate in this country.

All Canadians should be concerned. Was Legace a national security threat? Was he a terrorist? If not, and I am assuming not, why was he so heavily surveilled? Though the police state they only kept metadata, if there is a lie then it is possible that they also kept the actual conversations as well.

We need vigilance, or we will go the way of strict behaviour that we see in China, with no way of stepping away from the shadow of the government. As an open democracy we really do not want that.

Technology has made police surveillance better, and technology can make police surveillance harder. It just needs to be more widespread in the public.

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