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Anti-Olympic activist gets his RCMP file

A Vancouver software developer who opposed the 2010 Winter Olympics is urging fellow activists to apply for their RCMP surveillance files.

Joe Bowser, 31, paid no service charge and received 79 pages by mail on Jan. 10 showing how the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit deemed him a “person of interest”, spied on him and monitored his blog, Tweets and Facebook updates.

“They were afraid of me because I had interests in things,” Bowser said.

“My conduit of communicating, for giving them the middle finger, was the Internet.”

The file, which said he had no criminal record, includes copies of his Facebook and Twitter pages. A partially censored June 4, 2009, Joint Intelligence Group report mentioned Bowser was an anarchist who volunteered at Spartacus Books and travelled to hacker and computer security conferences. It also mentioned his Tweets about anti-Olympic publications and criticism of an Olympic journalist’s perceived political bias.

Const. Georges El-Azzi’s report detailed his failed Jan. 19, 2010, attempt to interview Bowser after a four-and-a- half-hour stake-out of Bowser’s Nitobi Software workplace. El-Azzi’s superiors decided Feb. 6, 2010, to take no further action.

“V2010 ISU sought to either confirm or disregard individuals as potential threats to the safety and security of Canadians and visitors to Canada,” RCMP spokesman Sgt. Rob Vermeulen said.

“Police have and will continue to use public information or information within the public domain as part of the assessment process.”

Bob Mackin reports for Vancouver's 24 hours.

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