Mass surveillance, sometimes called bulk interception, is a fundamental over-reach of state power. It refers to the wholesale interception, storage and analysis of information about all of us, merely in case it might later prove helpful in a national security context.
From a privacy perspective, mass surveillance is neither necessary nor proportionate, criteria that should apply to surveillance in a democracy. The invasiveness of having all of the information that is on the global information infrastructure, both by and about us, captured “just in case” it might come in handy simply cannot be justified in a nation where we take seriously the fundamental democratic presumption that we have a right to live free unwatched by the state (absent compelling reasons for a targeted investigation).
Mass surveillance negatively affects many of the rights protected by our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, freedom of association, and our rights to equality.