#CyberFLASH: CSIS, Bill C-51 and Canada’s growing metadata collection mess

immigrant-detainees-20160711-2

Much has been made over whether the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Canada’s spy agency, should be armed with broader powers to “disrupt” what it perceives as terrorist plots.

A report tabled this month by the Security Intelligence Review Committee, which watches over CSIS’s work, notes that while the spy agency hasn’t abused its new powers of disruption, its bulk data collection program needs to be scaled back.

It’s easy to think of CSIS and other spy agencies as shadowy organizations that carry out James Bond-like “missions” involving cool gadgets and high-tech weaponry, but the Snowden leaks, among other revelations, have shown the public that metadata collection (online communications, phone logs and other electronic exchanges that can be intercepted in enormous amounts) now constitutes the state’s primary instrument of control.

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien recently called upon legislators (the Liberals in particular) to amend certain aspects of Canada’s national security laws in order to address the issue of metadata collection.

In particular, Therrien referred to the Communications Security Establishment, which seems to get a lot less public scrutiny than CSIS. The CSE is responsible for collecting massive volumes of foreign communications through “signals-intelligence,” (or “sigint”), but also tends to drag up large amounts of Canadian metadata as well, which it isn’t supposed to be doing.

Read more here

#CyberFLASH: Should police see your data? Think about it says Goodale

goodale.jpg.size.custom.crop.1086x713OTTAWA—Canadians need to think about how far police should be allowed to go in accessing their electronic devices and communications, the federal public safety minister says.

A federal review of cybersecurity will provide a chance to discuss a proposal from Canada’s police chiefs for a new law that would compel people to hand over passwords with a judge’s consent, Ralph Goodale said Wednesday.

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police says the measure is needed to fight criminals in cyberspace who increasingly use tools to hide their identities and communications.

In the United States, there are literally thousands of smartphones and other digital devices “sitting on shelves” because authorities can’t get into them, said Terrence Cunningham, a police chief in Massachusetts and president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

“And we know that those devices hold the answers to the questions that we need so that we can hold people accountable and prosecute some of these cases,” Cunningham said during the Canadian chiefs’ annual conference this week.

After a speech Wednesday to the gathering, Goodale acknowledged that smartphones contain a wealth of personal data and can reveal much more about a person than an ordinary physical search might.

But he added that while Canadians value their privacy, they also want police to have the necessary tools to investigate crimes. “I think Canadians recognize the imperatives on both sides.”

Read more here

© 2013 CyberTRAX Canada - All Rights Reserved.
Sponsored by C3SA Corp.