According to Open Canada, "Americans [...] are not the only ones who should be considering the consequences of the NSAs activities" and that other countries, including Canada, "operate similar surveillance programs and participate in national security data sharing partnerships that crisscross the globe." Open Canada has therefore provided this Canadian Surveillance 101 with everything you need to know about what the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) has been monitoring.
So why should I be worried?
Concerns over data mining and surveillance were voiced in Canada even before Snowden exposed the NSAs PRISM, Xkeyscore, and affiliated programs. Globe and Mail reporter Colin Freeze has written that on November 11, former Defence Minister Peter McKay introduced legislation to renew Canadas metadata surveillance program. The program had been suspended after a federal watchdog expressed concerns that there were insufficient checks on the extra data collected on individuals of no interest to security personnel vacuumed up in the process of collecting data on suspicious individuals. One worry was that data gathered by CSEC as part of foreign intelligence collection could end up being shared with the domestic law enforcement agencies who would normally need a warrant.
Despite a lack of public evidence that such issues have been addressed, CSECs importance within the Canadian security establishment is growing. Colin Freeze has reported that the Canadian government is building CSEC a gleaming new $900-million, 72,000-square-metre compound in Ottawa even as it has relocated military and RCMP operations to older, cheaper offices on the outskirts of the nations capital, in buildings vacated by fallen technology companies.
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