State Surveillance

The Issue

Documents released by Edward Snowden have revealed a degree of state surveillance that exceeds almost everyone’s worst fears.  What is unknown are the full effects pervasive surveillance is having on individual action and decision-making and the viability of our democratic institutions.

Why It Matters

Intellectual privacy is essential for free expression. It is the privacy that shields us from surveillance as we generate and explore ideas, discuss them with confidants, and prepare to express our thoughts and engage in action in our everyday lives and in the public domain.

Our Work

The Centre for Free Expression explores the extent, nature and effects of surveillance. Our focus is to create greater public awareness and understanding of these issues and to promote discussion of laws, policies and practices that ensure democratic and human rights are not compromised



Can your face be your undoing: The perils of facial recognition

What does consent look like, in an era of facial recognition? What rules need to be in place to keep us safe? Can it ever be used 'responsibly'?


Police Surveillance and Civil Liberties

The growing number of police technologies may serve legitimate police purposes but raise serious questions about civil liberties and privacy.


You’re being watched: How we can expose the watchers and protect our rights

Edward Snowden’s documents are a gold mine of information about how we are being watched. Light will look at privacy, the role of telecommunications providers, key surveillance programs and   introduce the Snowden Archive-in-a-Box


Is This the End of the Web as We Know It? How Facebook and Other Large Companies are Closing the Open Web

Corporate control, and the "tyranny of the popular." Fake news, filter bubbles, and apps as "walled gardens." Have we lost a free and democratic internet? 


Is Fear of Terrorism jeopardizing your rights? Bill C-51 and National Security

The federal government is asking Canadians how far they want to go in sacrificing rights and freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism.  What is at stake for you, your family and friends, and demo