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Privacy International and allies call for protections in new US/Canada border deal

Privacy International, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association today released twelve Core Legal Principles we believe should be observed by the United States and Canada as they develop their joint border policy.

President Obama and the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper first announced their plans to develop a 'North American Security Perimeter' deal in February 2011. They are expected to unveil the agreement later this week.

PI, the ACLU and the CCLA have produced the twelve principles in an effort to ensure that constitutional rights on both sides of the border are not diluted. The principles seek to address some of the key legal issues raised by the Security Perimeter, including privacy, law enforcement, watch lists, due process and information-sharing.

We are also strongly advocating that the highest legal standards prevail, meaning that where standards differ between Canada and the United States, the higher standard – granting the greater protections to individuals – should adhered to.

Gus Hosein, Executive Director of Privacy International, said:

If Canada is getting into bed with the United States on border issues, both governments need to ensure that the agreement represents the norms and values of both countries and is in compliance with human rights. This situation could easily become a wholesale imposition of repressive American policies upon the Canadian government - a triumph of the lowest common denominator.