Edward Snowden is the gift that keeps on giving. His latest “gift” is the news that the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) which is Canada’s version of the NSA had a very invasive and likely illegal method to keep tabs on Canadians. Here’s what the CBC is reporting:
The latest Snowden document indicates the spy service was provided with information captured from unsuspecting travellers’ wireless devices by the airport’s free Wi-Fi system over a two-week period.
Experts say that probably included many Canadians whose smartphone and laptop signals were intercepted without their knowledge as they passed through the terminal.
The document shows the federal intelligence agency was then able to track the travellers for a week or more as they — and their wireless devices — showed up in other Wi-Fi “hot spots” in cities across Canada and even at U.S. airports.
Here’s the troubling part. CSEC is not supposed to be doing this:
Ronald Deibert told CBC News: “I can’t see any circumstance in which this would not be unlawful, under current Canadian law, under our Charter, under CSEC’s mandates.”
The spy agency is supposed to be collecting primarily foreign intelligence by intercepting overseas phone and internet traffic, and is prohibited by law from targeting Canadians or anyone in Canada without a judicial warrant.
As CSEC chief John Forster recently stated: “I can tell you that we do not target Canadians at home or abroad in our foreign intelligence activities, nor do we target anyone in Canada.
“In fact, it’s prohibited by law. Protecting the privacy of Canadians is our most important principle.”
Clearly they must have forgot about that. This is very troubling if you’re Canadian and even if you’re not. It’s clear that better oversight of spy agencies so that this sort of thing doesn’t happen. It’s also clear that if you use free WiFi, you might be opening yourself up to this, or some other issue that exposes your privacy in some way.
It makes you think doesn’t it?