15 February 2017

Last year an Ontario company received support from Export Development Canada for the sale of Internet filtering technology to the government of Bahrain — a country criticized internationally for widespread suppression of human rights defenders through censorship, surveillance, arbitrary detention and torture.

In this submission to the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, we draw attention to this troubling situation and call for the adoption of regulatory and policy measures to ensure Canada is not complicit in foreseeable human rights violations associated with the use of censorship and surveillance technologies supplied by Canadian companies.

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Note: Following this submission, the Senate committee questioned Export Development Canada spokesperson Christopher Pullen on the agency’s support for the Netsweeper sale. Among other statements, Mr. Pullen indicated that “the guarantee that is the subject of the complaint is no longer in place.” A full transcript of the testimony is posted here.