Watchdog Report Suspects Government of Illicit Spying on Canadians

A government watchdog has concluded in his report that Canada’s super-secret electronic spy agency might have illegally targeted Canadians in the recent years. The findings included in the report tabled in the Parliament on Wednesday by retired judge, Robert Decary, are considered extremely sensitive due to the ongoing revelations of U.S. government having conducted widespread snooping of its citizens. Decary has been serving as an independent watchdog for the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) since 2010. He highlighted proof of potentially illicit spying during a routine review of the electronic surveillance agency’s activities over the past year.

In his report, Decary wrote that “a small number of records suggested the possibility that some activities may have been directed at Canadians, contrary to the law.” However, Decary alleged that he was unable to conclusively decide on whether the snooping was legal or not because “a number of CSEC records relating to these activities were unclear or incomplete.” He reported that “after (an) in-depth and lengthy review, I was unable to reach a definitive conclusion about compliance or non-compliance with the law.”

It is notable that CSEC is unconditionally prohibited from spying on Canadians regardless of whether they are inside or outside the country. Canada’s federal privacy czar has already announced to have begun a review to find out conclusively whether the spy agencies are targeting Canadians, and now the findings published in Decary’s report are undoubtedly going to result in louder calls for transparency and oversight of CSEC’s activities.

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