Months of surveillance-related leaks from U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden have fuelled an international debate over privacy, spying, and Internet surveillance. The Canadian-related leaks – including disclosures regarding spying on the Brazilian government and the facilitation of spying at the G8 and G20 meetings hosted in Toronto in 2010 – have certainly inspired some domestic discussion. Ironically, the most important surveillance development did not involve Snowden at all.
My weekly technology column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that late last year, Justice Richard Mosley, a federal court judge, issued a stinging rebuke to Canada’s intelligence agencies (CSEC and CSIS) and the Justice Department, ruling that they misled the court when they applied for warrants to permit the interception of electronic communications. While the government has steadfastly defended its surveillance activities by maintaining that it operates within the law, Justice Mosley, a former official with the Justice Department who was involved with the creation of the Anti-Terrorism Act, found a particularly troubling example where this was not the case.