#CyberFLASH: Cyber spying thrives as mankind bids farewell to a private life

large_cybersecWASHINGTON – Eighteen months ago National Security Agency cyber spy Edward Snowden shocked the world when he emerged from the shadows to reveal the biggest government surveillance program mankind has ever known.

By collecting bulk data on phone calls, emails and other social media communications, the U.S. government was essentially monitoring the private lives of pretty well everybody with a phone and/or Internet connection. Americans, Canadians, Europeans, Asians – it didn’t matter. We had all come under suspicion.

Boosted by a decades-old intelligence gathering and sharing agreement called the “Five Eyes” – U.S., Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand – there was every reason to believe that not only was the U.S. sharing this information with its partners, but also these countries were watching their citizens with similar vigor.

The blowback was ferocious and U.S. President Barack Obama eventually promised action in 2014. The expectation was that the NSA would be reined in.

Well, 2014 has come and gone. What’s happened?

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#CyberFLASH: Glenn Greenwald Speaks – Oct. 25 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM : The Auditorium, 440 Albert St. Ottawa


Glenn Greenwald is coming to speak in Ottawa

Glenn Greenwald along with his colleagues at The Guardian was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for his work on the Edward Snowden NSA documents. Glenn is also a NYT best selling author and frequent commenter on CBC, MSNBC, Morning Joe, and Democracy Now. Glenn Greenwald is now recognized as one of the most influential journalists in America. 

Glenn will be speaking about state surveillance, privacy and its impact on Canadians. CSEC, Canadian Security Establishment Canada, is Canada’s version of the NSA. CSEC is a full partner in Five Eyes. CSEC is putting the final touches on their new facility in Ottawa, at $1.5 billion dollars, it is the most expensive building ever built in Canada. What are they doing there? Come join us and find out.

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#CyberFLASH: Cyber-spying fight shows Snowden was right: Burman


The backlash from whistleblower Edward Snowden’s security leaks is a gift that keeps on giving. This week’s righteous cyber-clash between China and the U.S. is the latest example. However unintended, it further peels the onion that modern global politics has become, as hypocritical as it is unpredictable.

Just imagine the Chinese military believing it can spy on American companies with impunity! Why wouldn’t it expect the U.S. government to respond aggressively — the first time by any country — by actually laying charges against five of its army officers? After all, what self-respecting nation can tolerate one of its historic rivals using the most sophisticated forms of 21st-century spy craft to ensure that its commercial interests have an unfair advantage?

Now, wait a minute. Isn’t that what the Snowden leaks revealed the Americans have been doing to the Chinese in recent years, as well as to many other countries — with, of course, the blind support of its client states, such as Canada? Does this huffing and puffing have no bounds?

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#CyberFLASH: NSA Gave Canada Money For Surveillance Program


The National Security Agency paid Canada to help develop its surveillance capabilities, according to documents published by Glenn Greenwald in a new book.

In “No Place To Hide”, Greenwald, the journalist who has been the conduit for the Edward Snowden leaks, reveals that Canada was the fourth largest recipient of money in 2012 from an NSA program aimed at helping partner nations cover “R&D and technology costs.” Only Pakistan, Jordan and Ethiopia received more funding. The document does not provide an exact sum but suggests Canada received somewhere between $300,000 and $400,000 in 2012.

#CyberFLASH: It’s Not Clear Why Canada Made 1.2 Million Customer Data Requests to Big Telecom


When news broke earlier this year that CSEC had been tracking Canadians through free airport wi-fi, the mainstream media largely missed the point. Not only had Canada’s NSA been using airport hotspots to gather personal information about Canadians, they had also been gathering data from other corporate sources to create behavioural patterns designed to track the comings and goings of whoever it is their targets are. That’s a bit more invasive than simply snooping on folks looking at cat videos while waiting for their connecting flight to Orlando.

If you go through the original presentation about CSEC’s so-called airport spying program, which was leaked by Eddie Snowden, you can see that CSEC uses the example of a kidnapper who’s on the lam, and whose position can be pinpointed by CSEC tracking programs.

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#CyberFLASH: Canadian spy agency gathered data at airport: Snowden document


Canada’s electronic spy agency collected data from thousands of travellers passing through a major airport and tracked their wireless devices for days after they left the terminal, according to a secret document leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden. 

The Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) collected information gathered from unsuspecting passengers’ wireless devices by the airport’s free wi-fi system over a two-week period in 2012. 

CSEC then tracked the travellers for a week or more as their wireless devices showed up in wi-fi “hot spots” in cities across Canada and even at US airports, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) quoted a top secret document retrieved by Snowden as saying. 

The document indicated the passenger tracking operation was a trial run for a powerful new software programme being developed jointly with the US National Security Agency (NSA). 

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#CyberFLASH: NSA leaks prompted Canadian eavesdropping review: declassified memo


OTTAWA — The massive intelligence leak by former U.S. spy contractor Edward Snowden prompted Canada’s secret eavesdropping agency to review its policies on sharing information with the Americans and other key partners, a newly declassified memo reveals.

The three-page note from Communications Security Establishment Canada chief John Forster says the unprecedented breach also sparked a CSEC examination of its practices for protecting the privacy of Canadians.

The undated memo to national security adviser Stephen Rigby — obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act — was prepared some time in mid-2013, after Snowden’s leaks began making global headlines.

The memo, originally classified top secret, says CSEC set about assessing the potential damage to Canadian signals intelligence collection capabilities, as well as asking its partners for confirmation on what data Snowden took from the U.S. National Security Agency.

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