Canadian spy agency admits to illegally spying on Canadians

The Communication Security Establishment of Canada -- a secretive spy agency that's already been caught lying to a judge and illegally spying on diplomats at the Toronto G20 -- has admitted that it illegally spied on Canadians as well.

CSE also admits it's allowed to help CSIS, the Mounties and Canada Border Services Agency "in a variety of circumstances — including intercept operations against a Canadian or individuals in Canada."

National security blogger Bill Robinson says that means CSE can use information gleaned from Canadians.

"If it falls into the government's collection priorities, they certainly will use it," he said Friday.

CSE admits it 'incidentally' spied on Canadians [Daniel Proussalidis/]

(via Reddit)

Notable Replies

  1. bwv812 says:

    So where does it say that this is illegal? Or is this just a conclusory statement?

  2. What CSE actually has done is admit in a considerably more frank way than normal that it has been legally spying on Canadians.

    As I explain here, the laws under which CSE operates permit the kinds of activities CSE described (assuming they're not struck down as a result of the BCCLA's current lawsuit).

    That said, being legal doesn't necessarily make CSE's monitoring justifiable. (And there's certainly no justification for misleading judges.) We need to know a lot more about the nature and extent of CSE's eavesdropping activities before we can feel reassured that they're justified, and we ought to take the rights and needs of non-Canadians into consideration as well when deciding the boundaries of acceptable activities.

    The ironic thing about all this is that CSE's brain trust put considerable effort into convincing Canadians that it is illegal for CSE to monitor them. The agency's boilerplate assurances all came with what I call secret asterisks attached.

    Now that they've had to admit that at least some monitoring of Canadians does occur, it's hardly surprising that most people conclude they must have broken the law.

    They should have been more honest with us in the first place.

    Thanks for the coverage you've been giving to these issues!

  3. Wait, I'm from the U.S. so I don't understand how this is news in any way?

  4. USA! USA! USA!

    Also, you should know this body is invalid, so I'll try using a little more description next time.

  5. Admittedly the US government already spies on our every communication and said assholery doesn't seem to be a problem for US citizens. But we Canadians would like to dream that our own government would be less of an asshole, or at least not a well funded enough asshole to enact any serious privacy invasions.

    Sadly, that is not the case. Our governments have decided that WE are the enemies, at least the ones they can most easily track. It won't be long before they start 'finding' a few convenient fall guys/bad guys to justify their existence and probably increased powers. They just have to finish creating them first.

    Also, I assume you are being ironic.

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