Ultra-secretive spy agency CSEC creeping on Canadians: VIDEO
Canada’s largest civic engagement organization, OpenMedia.ca, says the government’s ultra-secret electronic spy agency collects a staggering amount of law-abiding Canadians’ intimate information without a warrant.
In a new video released Monday as part of a privacy rights campaign, OpenMedia.ca says the data collected by the Communications Security Establishment Canada or CSEC includes individuals’ medical conditions, political affiliation, religious beliefs, sexual orientation and financial status. The outspoken organization launched the video in conjunction with more than a dozen other rights advocacy groups and progressive media organizations, including the Council of Canadians, B.C. Civil Liberties Association, Rabble.ca and The Tyee.
“The government needs to know that this kind of invasive spying is unacceptable,” says OpenMedia.ca.
OpenMedia.ca and 40 other major organizations recently launched the Protect Our Privacy Coalition, a platform for citizens, experts, organizations, and businesses to join hands and push back against government spying.
Leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden have confirmed that CSEC conducted widespread surveillance in Canada during the G8 and G20 summits in Toronto in 2010. The agency also reportedly spied on Canadian travelers. Late last year, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association filed a lawsuit against CSEC, claiming that the agency’s “broad and unchecked surveillance of Canadians is unconstitutional.”
“At present, CSEC is permitted to read Canadians’ emails and text messages, and listen to Canadians’ phone calls, when a Canadian communicates with a person outside Canada,” said the organization in an email.
According to OpenMedia.ca, Canadian “taxpayers are on the hook for over $4.2 billion to pay for these invasive spying activities” by an agency that operates without significant oversight.
CSEC already costs taxpayers $350 million annually. Last fall, the CBC News revealed that the Harper government was spending $1.2 billion on a “spy palace” or the “most expensive Canadian government building ever constructed” for CSEC here in Ottawa. The CBC also said the developer of the spy palace had been “contracted to maintain the building and provide other services for another roughly $3 billion over the next 30 years.”
But, spying on Canadians is not enough. CSEC also shares intelligence with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and foreign intelligence agencies of the U.K., Australia and New Zealand in the so-called Five Eyes global spy network. Other Snowden leaks have confirmed that “CSEC conducted espionage activities for U.S. in 20 countries.” A story published by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept in August reveals that CSEC also cooperates with the NSA and British spy agency GCHQ to support Israeli intelligence agencies with “cash, weapons and surveillance.”
This is not the image CSEC presents to the public. Watch CSEC’s sleek recruitment video:
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