Canadian ECA supports Canadian software exports to stifle dissent in Bahrain

(Above Ground, Ottawa, 15 February 2017) Last year an Ontario-based company, with support from Export Development Canada, sold 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 digital censorship and surveillance technologies supplied by Canadian companies. The kingdom of Bahrain last summer started using Web-filtering software from Netsweeper Inc. as a means of keeping a lid on dissent according to a University of Toronto report.