Book Launch

"Illusions of Security: Global Surveillance and Democracy in the Post-9/11 World"
By Maureen Webb; March 20, 12 - 1pm, School of Policy Studies Room 202.
Maureen Webb
In light of the revelations of the Arar Commission and recent news stories about Ottawa's "no fly" list and National Risk Assessment Centre, this book is a provocative read about a new, globalized network of surveillance governments are building to keep watch on entire populations.

Describing in detail how government agencies are using the "virtual" trails we leave behind us in our daily lives to amass vast databases, and then data mining that information to predict who among us might be a "risk", Ottawa lawyer and activist Maureen Webb demonstrates how a new "preemptive" model of security is turning us all into suspects.

Webb argues that these initiatives do not make us safer. On the contrary, they are destroying the democratic rights and institutions that really do protect us, and diverting resources away from much more productive counterterrorism efforts.

This event is part of the SP Seminar Series and is co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology and the Faculty of Law. Copies of "Illusions of Security" will be available for purchase at the event.

Maureen Webb is a human rights lawyer and activist. She has spoken extensively on post-September 11 security and human rights issues, most recently testifying before the House and Senate Committees reviewing Canada's Anti-terrorism Act (C-36). In 2001, Webb was a Fellow at the Human Rights Institute at Columbia University in New York. A litigator for some of the first constitutional cases heard under Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including the landmark freedom of association case, "Lavigne," and a case challenging the powers of Canada's newly instituted spy agency, CSIS, she co-chairs the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group. She is also the Coordinator for Security and Human Rights issues for Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada.

Praise for Maureen Webb's Illusions of Security:

"Writer and lawyer Maureen Webb has produced a book every Canadian should read, and read again while still free to do so. [ …] The new information and the transparent analysis she provides in Illusions of Security is a passionate call to the democrats in any political party anywhere to reclaim their role in determining the truth about terrorism and in directing governments to manage it differently."
- Lesley Hughes, Winnipeg Free Press

"The intel mountain has magnified massively since 9/11, as Ottawa lawyer Maureen Webb notes in her readable new book, Illusions of Security. Gobs of electronically generated scraps provide endless irrelevant "leads" based on verbal cues that set off recordings that must be evaluated, overwhelming the evaluators — though the best clues are always found through human legwork…." - Rick Salutin, Columnist, The Globe and Mail

"Illusions of Security is a thorough and terrifying compendium of the threats to democracy posed by the unquestioning use of technology.
Maureen Webb portrays a frightening image of high-placed officials playing with their technological toys; meanwhile the real world - and its real insecurities - elude them." - Ellen Ullman, author of The Bug: A Novel and Close to the Machine

"Your government is spying on you, and it's going to get worse until we do something about it,' is Maureen Webb's message in her brilliant, much needed new book. In measured, lucid detail, Webb presents a wide-ranging account of the emerging global network of surveillance that is infringing on the personal privacy and civil liberties of people in the United States and worldwide. " - Nadine Strossen, President , American Civil Liberties Union

"George Orwell and Michel Foucault together could not have imagined the future that Maureen Webb warns is already here - a state of global surveillance that challenges all of our most deep-seated expectations of privacy. Highly readable and critically important. Read it to see who's watching you." - David Cole, author of Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism

"Illusions of Security: Global Surveillance and Democracy in the Post-9/11 World"
By Maureen Webb
Illusions of Security
Available February 2007
Published by City Lights
ISBN 978-0-87286-476-4 Paperback, 306 pp $20.50