Tuesday, January 07, 2014

CSEC spies on Canadians 'incidentally' to its mandate (but deliberately when helping other agencies)

The Communications Security Establishment of Canada (CSEC) has said, in a new informational website meant to be more transparent, that it sometimes "incidentally" intercepts the communications of Canada when fulfilling its mandate, though it often deliberately does so when assisting other agencies.

However, in the course of targeting foreign entities outside Canada in an interconnected and highly networked world, it is possible that we may incidentally intercept Canadian communications or information. The National Defence Act acknowledges that this may happen and provides for the Minister of National Defence to authorize this interception in specific circumstances. If a private communication is incidentally intercepted (e.g. a foreign individual we are targeting overseas is communicating with someone in Canada), CSE takes steps to protect the privacy of that information.
The website also has a reasonably clear page on the assistance they provide to federal law enforcement and security agencies.

The Ottawa Citizen is reporting on this (Spy agency admits it spies on Canadians ‘incidentally’) as well as the recent Federal Court decision that found CSIS and Department of Justice lawyers deliberately misled the Court in order to obtain warrants.

It's heartening to see that Michael Geist and Tamir Israel share my feelings about that case and are also calling for an independent review of the conduct of those involved.

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