PRISM and Canada: what are the north-of-the-border implications of American spooks gone wild?

Michael Geist sez, "Privacy and surveillance have taken centre stage this week with the revelations that U.S. agencies have been engaged in massive, secret surveillance programs that include years of capturing the meta-data from every cellphone call on the Verizon network (the meta-data includes the number called and the length of the call) as well as gathering information from the largest Internet companies in the world including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple in a program called PRISM. This lengthy post provides some background on the U.S. programs, but focuses primarily on the Canadian perspective, arguing 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."

Why Canadians Should Be Demanding Answers About Secret Surveillance Programs


  1. On the upside for us Canadians, our secret police are distinguished by their sheer banal lack of competence at even the most basic of activities.  Developing massive surveillance programs is likely more than they could realistically accomplish.  On the downside, they will probably just destroy a few lives at random and call it a day.

  2. NSA and CIA have always spied on and worked with Canada. That is their mandate! They do foreign intelligence, Canada, while a NAFTA nation, is foreign!

    1. NSA and CIA have always spied on and worked with Canada. That is their mandate! They do foreign intelligence, Canada, while a NAFTA nation, is foreign!

      So…. it’s justified by the fact that we’ve always done it? Is Canada a threat to the US? Why on earth would we allot resources to spying on a neighbor who has neither the desire nor the wherewithal to cause us harm?

      1. Is Canada a threat to the US?

        Sir Humphrey Littleton could do nothing other than give you a sad little smile, and remind you of the French component in Canada.

      2. If you consider “the US” as “the rich people that run the US”, then Canada’s socialist policies existing and not failing is a threat to “the US”.

  3. “massive, secret surveillance programs”
    Come on.  This certainly wasn’t a very well kept secret, and has been described and reported on in the past at various levels.  Not only that,  nearly every company listed as being accomplices to the US government’s “spying” have denied it, and Clapper, the head Intelligence Chief as stated that the information in Greenwald’s piece is not accurate, stating that due process was followed.  Do you believe him?  I don’t know.

    I’m not one to believe everything, the government says, but it seems a bit of a disservice, journalistically to report anti-government info without some kind of rebuttal.

     All this internet outrage at privacy concerns seems like a concerted effort to inflame a political agenda.  The Patriot Act is 12 years old and has been revised and authorized by Congress and 2 different administrations.  I’m certainly no fan of it, but what did people think those 3 letter acronym government agencies have been doing both inside and outside their classic scope of operations with all that terror fighting cash?

    Of course Canadians are monitored, as is probably every single country with phone and data connections.  The “War on Terror” might have been birthed in the US, but it’s a global governmental operation.

    I’m not sure why people believe that their electronic communications are private to begin with?  They never were, whether you’re in Canada or the US.

    1. you’re right. I really don’t get why people are surprised by this. The Patriot Act has been voted and re-voted many times. And hello? Echelon?

      1.  Not being surprised is not equal to not being appalled.  I really don’t get how knowing about something makes it somehow OK.

        1. I don’t think they are not appalled just if you pay attention to the right things it should not be that much of a surprise. It wasn’t to me, the direct access thing seemed a bit far fetched though. The problem is it isn’t just the USofA it is everyone, China, Canada, France, Russia, etc. If a spook agency can get information they will get it. Is there something we can do about it. Call your congress cirtter or equivalent representative if you are not ‘merican and ask them to put in better legal procedures.
          The big problem that would be harder  is the you scratch my back I scratch yours between foreign agencies as is it fair game to spy on people ‘over there’ then trade information.

  4. I would just like to add that any government secretly intercepting and storing ALL communications of it’s citizens, is just wrong and evil.  Not sure about other countries, but the US constitution has been through the shredding machine here.

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