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CJFE conducts digital espionage awareness campaign

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression has begun an awareness initiative in collaboration with Surprise Attack Games aimed at Canadian lawmakers. The organization has sent 443 digital keys to senators and members of parliament which will allow them to play a video game called Orwell: Ignorance is Strength. According to the group, this is part of an initiative intended to educate Canadian lawmakers with the ethical implications of proposed new espionage powers. The intent is to express the concern of the group that some of the fictional powers depicted in the game will be granted to Canadian intelligence agents following passage of Bill C-59, an update to the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2015. Players of the game take the role of an operative collecting information about the residents of their country as part of a national security investigation.

"As a political statement and an educational product, Orwell, like the eponymous author, gives us a glance into the grim dystopia of total information awareness," said Duncan Pike, co-director of CJFE. "Many of the same powers in the game are proposed for Canada's digital spies in Bill C-59. This partnership is an excellent opportunity to educate parliamentarians about what exactly is at risk in the current wording of this bill."

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