Sunday, 22 May 2016

TPP Would Subject Canadian Citizens' Banking Data to U.S. PATRIOT Act

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A provision in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, to which Canada and the United States are parties, makes it “quite likely” that the private banking details of Canadian citizens could be “accessible to American security intelligence agencies,” according to a member of the Canadian parliament.

Speaking on May 12 in the House of Commons, Parliament member Guy Caron warned fellow lawmakers that the sprawling surveillance state to the south of Canada could soon swallow up private banking data in Canada.

“Right now, Canadian data, such as banking information and confidential information, are stored on Canadian servers, which are obviously not accessible to the United States at the moment and do not fall within the scope of the USA Patriot Act,” Caron said. “However, the provision that requires these types of data to be stored on Canadian servers may be removed. It is therefore quite likely that these data could be stored on servers on American soil, where they would be accessible to American security intelligence agencies.”

David Lametti, member of Parliament from Quebec, said he was familiar with this criticism, but dismissed it as part of a necessary “quid pro quo” with the United States and other TPP signatories.

“There is a quid pro quo because a number of Canadian companies in the financial services and insurance sector have told us that the cross-border flow of data is very important,” Lametti said.

Economic growth in Canada “is directly linked to international trade,” Lametti added. “The government strongly supports free trade as a way to open markets to Canadian goods and services, grow Canadian businesses, and create good-paying middle-class jobs.”

Goods and services aren’t the only things that will be freely traded across the border. Banking data will be packaged and transmitted to servers in the United States where U.S. intelligence gathering organizations would undoubtedly rejoice at the reception of such a large cache of critical financial data without the need of a warrant.

Then, that data would become subject to the provisions of the PATRIOT Act. As explained in the Canadian edition of the Huffington Post:

The combined effect of these U.S. laws is that many users fear that once their information is stored in the U.S., it will be accessible to U.S. authorities without suitable privacy protections or oversight. Since U.S. law provides less privacy protection to foreigners, there is indeed limited legal recourse for Canadian data held in the U.S.

In November 2013, portions of the TPP draft agreement published by WikiLeaks contained sketches of President Obama’s plans to surrender American sovereignty to international tribunals. 

Another WikiLeaks disclosure in January of the next year revealed that the president was attempting to surrender sovereignty over U.S. environmental policy to international bureaucrats interested in lowering those standards to mirror those of our TPP partner nations.

U.S. copyright laws, Internet freedom, and web-based publishing can be obliterated by the TPP, and, although it hasn’t been widely reported, the TPP grants to the global government sweeping surveillance powers, as well.

Canadian opposition to the data dump isn’t new. Negotiators for our neighbors to the north denounced the emigration of electronic data early on the agreement’s history.

A reported published in 2014 by Vice exposed Canada’s attempt to block the proposed surveillance scheme:

America is, essentially, the world’s data server. Since the dawn of the internet itself, every database of import has been hosted in the grand US of A. But now, foreign governments are starting to see the benefit of patriating their citizens’ private information.

Canada was an early adopter of the idea. Federal procurement regulations often require government departments to insert local data requirements, stating that businesses who wish to administer or host Canadians’ information must keep the information within Canadian borders.  Most recently, the Canadian Government put out a tender for a company to merge and host the email servers for all their departments. In doing so, they stuck in a national security exemption, forbidding foreign contractors from applying.

Nova Scotia and British Columbia went a step further, flatly requiring any government-hosted personal data to be physically located in Canada.

Of course, American trade representatives wouldn’t brook this patriotic protection of Canadian’s personal data.

Again, from Vice:

But the American government is not having any of it and is using TPP negotiations to strong-arm new provisions that favour American hosted data.

“In today’s information-based economy, particularly where a broad range of services are moving to ‘cloud’ based delivery where U.S. firms are market leaders; this law hinders U.S. exports of a wide array of products and services,” reads a report on Canada from the office of the United States trade commissioner.

The Americans aren’t even making secret their insistence on the matter. On the American website for the trade deal, it clearly states there’s a priority for the TPP to include: “requirements that support a single, global Internet, including ensuring cross-border data flows, consistent with governments’ legitimate interest in regulating for purposes of privacy protection.”

One provision of the TPP agreement would authorize American corporations to sue Ottawa should Canadian interests interfere with the “data flow provisions” of the agreement.

What makes the TPP agreement so extreme is that it could allow those corporations to sue governments that don’t respect the data flow provisions.

It’s two years on, the TPP agreement is complete, and the Canadians have walked back their insistence on domestic storage of electronic data.

A majority of Parliament now considers the TPP “the best opportunity to strengthen the multilateral trading system and develop rules that protect Canada’s economic interests.”

Something more than private banking data is being transferred by the TPP: national sovereignty.

Economic and political integration that is central to the TPP’s purpose will push the once-independent United States of America into yet another collectivist bloc that will facilitate the complete dissolution of our nation and our states into no more than impotent members of a one-world government.

Each of the “partners” to the pact, including foreign corporations, would be exempted from abiding by American laws governing trade disputes. Moreover, the sovereignty of the United States and the Constitution’s enumeration of powers would once again be sacrificed on the altar of global government by subordinating U.S. laws passed by duly elected representatives of the people to a code of regulations created by a team of transnational bureaucrats.

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