Leaked Documents Show CSEC Collected Data from Public Wifi

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

According to a recently published report by CBC, it has alleged that the federal electronic spy agency, i.e. Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), illegally tracked thousands of people passing through a Canadian airport after collecting their information from free wireless Internet service. The news agency referred to secret documents leaked by former U.S. security contractor, Edward Snowden, and revealed that the agency gathered data from passengers’ smartphones and laptops over a period of more than two weeks and used it to tracked those devices for a week or longer afterward.

CSEC’s mandate allows the agency to collect foreign intelligence under law and restricts it from targeting Canadians, or anyone within Canada, without a warrant. The allegations were portrayed by a leaked document containing a 27-page presentation on a “trial run” of the program, dated May 2012, that was meant to be shared with the so-called “Five Eyes” spy partnership among Canada, the U.S., Britain, New Zealand and Australia.

In response to the highly critical report, CSEC spokesperson, Lauri Sullivan, replied on Thursday night that the “classified document in question is a technical presentation between specialists exploring mathematical models built on everyday scenarios to identify and locate foreign terrorist threats.” She alleged that its unauthorized disclosure puts those techniques at risk. She stressed that CSEC is tasked with collecting foreign intelligence to protect Canadians, and that includes collecting and analyzing metadata, the “technical information used to route communications, and not the contents of a communication.” “No Canadian or foreign travellers were tracked. No Canadian communications were, or are, targeted, collected or used.”

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