#CyberFLASH: BCCLA says warrantless spying on Canadians must end

computer-closeupThe B.C. Civil Liberties Association is in federal court seeking access to government documents it says it needs for its ongoing court case on the alleged illegality of Canada’s spying program.

Special post-9/11 powers allow the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) to collect phone, email and internet-use details from Canadians communicating with other countries and share that information with other Five Eyes countries.

Five Eyes is an intelligence alliance consisting of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S.

In a lawsuit originally launched in 2013, the BCCLA maintains the collection of this data violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and should be stopped — but it needs more documentation to make its case.

“The CSE is engaged in what is surely one of the largest warrantless surveillance activities directed at Canadians,” the BCCLA’s litigation director, Grace Pastine, told On The Coast guest host Michelle Eliot.

“We’re seeking information that will tell us what kind of information the CSE is collecting, how they are storing it, who they are sharing it with and how long they’re keeping it for. We believe Canadians have a right to know what one of their federal spy agencies is doing and the privacy protections that are in place.”

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