Over the weekend, I posted a lengthy piece on why Canadians should be demanding answers about secret surveillance programs in the wake of the U.S. revelations about Verizon meta-data on all phone calls and the PRISM program that involves access to leading Internet company data. The focus of the piece was on Canadian law, as it argued that many of the same powers exist under Canadian law and that it is likely that Canadians have been caught up by these surveillance activities.
This morning, the Globe and Mail reports that Canada indeed has its own secret surveillance program that similarly targets telephone records and Internet data. The Globe report indicates that Defence Minister Peter MacKay granted approval to the program in November 2011. The program is unsurprisingly operated by the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) and the records feature much of the same language found in the U.S., focusing on meta-data rather than content (see here and here for why meta-data may be more revealing) as well as focusing on foreign communications (but acknowledging that Canadians may be swept up in the process).
My post closed with the following questions:
Does this mean Canadian authorities are engaged in similar forms of surveillance? That phone companies such as Bell and Telus are subject to warrants similar to those faced by Verizon? That Internet companies co-operate with Canadian authorities? That Canadian and U.S. authorities share information obtained through programs such as the Verizon meta-data program or PRISM? That Canadians are targeted by the U.S. programs?
We now know the answer to the first question. We need answers to the rest.
I’ve been saying for years that anything that happens outside the home is public knowledge… and should be treated that way.
I’ve also been saying that about any info on a netted computer… there are more than enough galaxy-class bugs to made that a reality.
My rants on what cells and tablets do is much the same. Or the dangers in our banking electronic systems..
OK, you’ve finally caught up to me, at least in part. Are yu ready for the throw-them-under-a-bus
blood-bath part of this info revolution yet?
I’d be surprised if anyone was surprised …
Western society needs to take a step back and ask itself if the current level of intrusion by the state is warranted, beneficial or even an equitable trade off to our rights to privacy.
Post 9/11 they all went a bit nuts, and perhaps understandably for the time, but sober judgement should take the time for a re-evaluation. Without a strident enough outcry from the public though, it will be impossible to shake the intoxicating power from those holding the reins.
Kudos to Mr. Snowden for the conversation wake up call.
We need older Canadians to step up
I’d like to explain why it’s very difficult for young people to speak out and rally against this threat to democracy.
I’m in my 30s. In this card game, I don’t have a good hand. I have nearly 40 years of employment ahead of me ; that’s 40 years of salary I need to support myself, my parents, and my children. I live in a security paranoid world, where employes routinely check internet history as part of a background check. Almost every employer checks this to some degree. And if the government gains more control, they’re going to start scanning for anti-government things as well. It’s very feasible that in a few years, people who have been saying too much online (or have any kind of political activism in their past) will have trouble finding ANY well paying employment.
Not just government employment, but any employment. This trend has already started with the electronic background screenings of e.g. Facebook accounts.
You older guys and ladies … man do I envy you. With only a few working years ahead of you, you have a lot more power than me. They can’t control your lives as they control mine. Not only the employment issue, but also your past history. If we’re looking at our adult years under conditions of pervasive state monitoring (of communications) —
92% of my adult life has been under total monitoring
only 23% of (a 70 year old’s) adult life has been under total monitoring
Old guys: they have less dirt on you. Please step up here … the under-30s, who typically have been the big political activists, DON’T have a good hand here.
Seems as if they’ve been stepping up anyway on any number of other fronts over the last decade. Why not this front too?
Here’s a free service you can use to encrypt internet communications:
Ministers deciding what should be legal
Back in 1987 Bill Vander Zalm ordered his AG to go to court accusing BC Labor Leaders of being part of a “seditious conspiracy”. The court came to a very different conclusion.
Even a secret court, with a public advocate, would be better than Ministers and micromanaging PMs deciding that anyone who doesn’t stand with them is standing with the seditious traitors or …