Joven Narwal quoted in “Lawyers Raise Alarm Bells About Constitutional, Privacy Concerns in B.C. Money Laundering Report”

Joven Narwal was quoted in “Lawyers Raise Alarm Bells About Constitutional, Privacy Concerns in B.C. Money Laundering Report”, published by the Lawyer’s Daily, a LexisNexis Publication. Here is a link to the article:

Here are excerpts from Mr. Narwal’s commentary:

Joven Narwal, a criminal lawyer with Vancouver’s Narwal Litigation LLP and an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia school of law, said “predictably and perhaps prophetically” the recommendations all involve substantially increased state surveillance and an erosion of privacy protections for all British Columbians.

“And I do very much continue to believe that this is very much a case where the cure is worse than the disease, but distressingly the current public discourse has yet to grapple with that,” he said. “I think there is another method that can be used, which requires extensive consultation with stakeholders and a very clear mandate that this ought to be a process that has privacy architectures and foundations as a necessary element — particularly as it comes to the question of information sharing and collaboration among agencies and financial institutions.”

Narwal said when there is a piling-on of requirements and rules in order to isolate unlawful behaviour like money laundering it has the effect of “scooping out the entire ocean to catch a fish” and carries the risk that people who have nothing to do with the subject matter of the Cullen Commission may be pulled into unjustified investigations and inquiries.

“There is a rising tide of cases in which banks and other financial intermediaries will terminate banking relationships if they receive a simple inquiry from an enforcement agency about an individual, and where successive inquiries follow individuals to other financial institutions the termination pattern becomes a blacklisting from the financial system even when no finding of misconduct has been alleged or made,” he said. “And the individual who is subject to that kind of scrutiny may not even be aware of have no mechanism to find out who it is who is asking questions about them. The government is going to be permitted to co-opt this aspirational mission for anti-money laundering to impose a scheme which is going to erode the privacy protections of all of us and create a circumstance that quite frankly Kafka and Orwell had warned us about.”