Aletho News


Canada’s CSEC tracks travelers via airport Wi-Fi

Press TV – January 31, 2014

The Canadian government’s intelligence agency has spied on thousands of travelers through the wireless Internet service at a major airport, according to new revelations.

The top-secret document retrieved by US whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) tracked the wireless devices of passengers by using information gleaned from free Internet service at an unnamed major Canadian airport.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported that the data was collected from passengers’ smart-phones and laptops over a two-week period and that the devices were tracked for a week or longer afterwards.

CBS said the technology was to be shared with the so-called “Five Eyes” spy partnership, namely the US, Canada, Britain, New Zealand and Australia.

“Classified document in question is a technical presentation between specialists exploring mathematical models built on everyday scenarios to identify and locate foreign terrorist threats,” CSEC spokesperson claimed.

Ontario privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian, however, said she was “blown away” by the revelations. She also likened the country’s spy agency to those of a “totalitarian state, not a free and open society.”

Ronald Deibert, the director of the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies, also said the CSEC’s secret operation was almost certainly illegal.

“I can’t see any circumstance in which this would not be unlawful, under current Canadian law, under our Charter, under CSEC’s mandates,” he told CBC News.

It was also recently revealed that Canada has set up cover spying posts around the world and spied on trading partners at the request of the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Reports published in Canadian media and based on the leaks have shown that Canada allowed the NSA to conduct surveillance operations on its soil during the 2010 summits of G8 and G20.

Other reports have shown that the Canadian intelligence agency spied on communications at Brazil’s Mining and Energy Ministry, as it has mining interests in the South American country.

January 31, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Canada’s CSE admits to ‘incidental’ spying

Press TV – January 7, 2014

Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSE) has admitted that it “incidentally” spied on Canadians, making it the first time the agency deviates from its standard statement that it does not “target” the electronic communications of Canadian citizens.

The country’s foreign intelligence agency said in a statement published on its website that “it is possible that we may incidentally intercept Canadian communications or information.”

A spokesman for the agency said the statement was an initial response to the media attention following the disclosures by American whistleblower Edward Snowden.

According to the CSE, additional information about how it operates is to be posted in coming months “to share more information about our organization in as transparent a manner as possible while still respecting our security obligations.”

However, experts say the effort by the CSE is mostly government mantra and it does not address issues raised by Snowden leaks.

Wesley Wark, a security intelligence expert at the University of Ottawa, said the statement does not discuss the disclosures about collections of metadata or about the use of CSE’s foreign intelligence partners, including the United States, for information exchanges about targets, including Canadians of national security concern.

The leaked documents published in recent months have revealed among others that Canada has set up cover spying posts around the world and spied on trading partners at the request of the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Reports published in Canadian media and based on the leaks have shown that Canada allowed the NSA to conduct surveillance operations on its soil during the 2010 summits of G8 and G20.

Other reports have shown that the Canadian intelligence agency spied on communications at Brazil’s Mining and Energy Ministry, as it has mining interests in the South American country.

January 7, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

NSA spied on 2010 G8, G20 summits in Toronto with Canadian help

RT | November 28, 2013

The National Security Agency conducted widespread surveillance during the 2010 G8 and G20 summits with the blessing of host country Canada’s government.

Documents supplied by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show the US converted its Ottawa embassy into a security command for six days in June 2010 as world leaders met in Toronto. The covert operation was known to Canadian authorities, CBC News reported.

The documents do not reveal targets of the espionage by the NSA – and possibly by its counterpart, the Communications Security Establishment of Canada (CSEC). The NSA briefing notes say the operation was “closely co-ordinated with the Canadian partner.”

Ultimately, the documents obtained by the CBC do not give exact specifications of CSEC’s role, if any, in the Toronto spying. Former Guardian reporter and Snowden’s chosen journalist to receive the NSA documents, Glenn Greenwald, co-wrote the story for CBC.

But the documents do spell out that CSEC’s cooperation in the venture was crucial to ensuring access to telecommunications systems needed to spy on targets during the summits.

Both NSA and CSEC were implicated, along with British counterpart GCHQ, for monitoring phone calls and email of foreign leaders and diplomats at the 2009 G20 summit in London. In addition, it was recently reported that CSEC hacked into phones and computers at the Brazilian government’s department of mines. These revelations also came via documents from Snowden, who has received asylum in Russia.

The revelations also contradict a statement made by an NSA spokesman to The Washington Post on August 30, which said that the US Department of Defense – of which the NSA is is part of – “does not engage in economic espionage in any domain, including cyber.”

The NSA briefing document says the operational plan at the 2010 summit included “providing support to policymakers.”

The Toronto summit was chock full of major economic issues following the 2008 recession. Measures like the eventually-nixed global bank tax were strongly opposed by the US and Canadian governments. Further banking reform, international development, countering trade protectionism and other issues were on the docket – and on NSA’s list of main agenda items in the aim of supporting “US policy goals.”

The partnerships by some Western spying arms at the Toronto and London summits, not to mention other stories that have come out based on the Snowden documents, call attention once again to the “Five Eyes” surveillance coalition among Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US.

November 28, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spying on the World From Domestic Soil

By Katitza Rodriguez | EFF | June 21, 2013

The world is still reeling from the series of revelations about NSA and FBI surveillance. Over the past two weeks the emerging details paint a picture of pervasive, cross-border spying programs of unprecedented reach and scope: the U.S. has now admitted using domestic networks to spy on Internet users both domestically and worldwide. The people now know that foreign intelligence can spy on their communications if they travel through U.S. networks or are stored in U.S. servers.

While international public outrage has justifiably decried the scope and reach of these revelations, carte blanche foreign intelligence surveillance powers over foreigners are far from new. In the U.S., foreign intelligence has always had nearly limitless legal capacity to surveil foreigners because domestic laws and protections simply don’t reach that surveillance activity.

This legal framework, with no protection for foreigners and little oversight besides, has been exacerbated by the growth in individuals now living their lives online, who conduct their most intimate communications in cloud services that are hosted in the U.S. and across different jurisdictions. To make matters worse, the vast amount of Internet traffic globally is routed through the U.S. Last but not least, logistical barriers to powerful, mass surveillance have lowered and the application of existing legal principles in new technological contexts has become unclear and shrouded in secrecy, especially in a extra-territorial surveillance context. The US government’s FISA powers, which in 2008 opened the door to broad surveillance of communications where one side is an American and the other side is a foreigner, represent just an example of an increasing state capacity to conduct nearly limitless invasive extra-territorial surveillance from domestic soil.

International Backlash

On June 18, Germans rallied at a well-known Berlin Wall crossing point called Checkpoint Charlie. Under the motto: “Yes We Scan!” German activists protested against PRISM and NSA surveillance in response to President Barack Obama’s Berlin visit. Pictures of the rally show protest signs claiming that the Obama administration has become “Stasi 2.0” with the quote “All your data belong to us”.

The Stasi 2.0 campaign was originally designed in 2007 to fight Germany’s mandatory data-retention law, a law implementing an EU Directive that force ISPs and telecom providers to continuously collect and store records documenting the online activities of millions of ordinary Europeans. Roughly 34,000 citizens filed a lawsuit against the mandatory data retention in protest. The campaign was successful and in March 2010 a German court declared the law unconstitutional and ordered the deletion of the collected data. Now, the Stasi 2.0 campaign has shifted focus on calling upon their government to protect them against overreach scope of NSA foreign surveillance practices, Sandra Mamitzsch from Digitale Gesellschaft told EFF.

Germany has also increased its capacity to conduct sweeping and invasive extra-territorial surveillance from its domestic soil. As we noted, the German government has leveraged its ability to remotely compromise computer systems in order to spy on its citizens. The government has used commercial malware to hack private data. While there has been no confirmation that Germany is deploying these investigative techniques against persons outside German territories, extra-territorial surveillance is feasible because infection occurs via email and other Internet transmissions.

Campaigns against the NSA spying overreach are now being planned for July 6 all around Australia. Australians can get involved here:

Micheal Vonn, policy director at the B.C. Civil Liberties Association in Canada, told to the Global News in Canada: “[w]e fully intend to get some pointed questions to the Canadian government about knowledge, complicity, alliance with this program. And whether, in fact, very, very quietly, the Canadian security establishment has been harvesting the fruits of this program for some time.”

EFF is demanding Internet companies to join our cause and protect the privacy of their international customers calling on Congress to create a committee to uncover the truth about the NSA alarming allegations. You can take action here. Current foreign intelligence surveillance targetting foreigners must be challenged to ensure strong human rights safeguards, transparency and accountability across the world. A global dialogue on extra-territorial foreign intelligence surveillance among all nations is much needed.

EFF will continue blogging about the impact of the NSA leaks on Internet users abroad in our Spies Without Borders series. Next, we will examine what implications the government’s use of these FISA powers has for Internet users abroad, with an eye to other jurisdictions and the requirements of international law.

This is the 5th article of our Spies Without Borders series. The series are looking into how the information disclosed in the NSA leaks affect Internet users around the world whose private information is stored in U.S. servers, or whose data travels across U.S. networks.

Image: Digitale Gesellschaft, licensed under a Creative Commons BY SA 3.0 license.

June 23, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Spying on the World From Domestic Soil

No Canadian NSA connection, but very own data snooping program

RT | June 11, 2013

Canada does not use the US NSA’s top secret surveillance PRISM program, officials revealed. Instead, it has a spying platform of its own that it claims manages to distinguish between domestic and international telephone and internet data collected.

The Communication Security Establishment (CSE) spokesman separated the National Security Agency and the Canadian surveillance program.

“The Communications Security Establishment does not have access to data in PRISM”, Ryan Foreman told Reuters, confirming that the “CSE uses metadata to isolate and identify foreign communications,” as CSEC is prohibited by law from directing its activities at Canadians.

Officials admitted that CSEC “incidentally” intercepts Canadian communications, but removes such data after it is obtained, according to the Globe and Mail.

Secret spying programs have come under scrutiny this week as whistleblower and former technical assistant for the CIA Edward Snowden leaked information about the NSA’s PRISM project, describing it as a massive data mining surveillance program which gave the agency backdoor access to emails, videos, chats, photos and search queries from nine worldwide tech giants, including Google and Facebook.

A secret electronic spying program was approved in 2011 by Canada’s Defense Minister Peter MacKay. It searches through international and domestic telephone records and internet data for suspicious activity, Canada’s newspaper Globe and Mail revealed.

Despite the reports, the government’s metadata surveillance program remains a mystery with little information available publicly. The records obtained from the Access to Information requests by the Globe had many pages blacked out, citing national security.

The program was first passed in a secret decree signed in 2005 by Bill Graham, the defense minister at the time then put on hold in 2008 for more than a year due to privacy concerns. On November 21, 2011, it was once again renewed, along with other top-secret espionage programs. And currently it is headed by the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), part of the Department of National Defense.

It is still not known how the data is being collected. Mining metadata can reveal who knows who and help the authorities to map out social networks and even terrorist cells.

“Metadata is information associated with a telecommunication … And not a communication,” according to a PowerPoint briefing sent to MacKay in 2011.

The Canadian surveillance program has been authorized by ministerial decrees, bypassing the parliament, and is under the sole oversight of the Office of the CSE Commissioner.

Opposition MPs have questioned MacKay about the surveillance reports, to which he replied that Canada’s surveillance initiative “is specifically prohibited from looking at the information of Canadians” and that “this program is very much directed at activities outside the country, foreign threats, in fact. There is rigorous oversight, there is legislation in place that specifically dictates what can and cannot be examined.”

Canada’s privacy commissioner admitted a lack of clarity on the subject.

“When it comes to the metadata program, we know very little specific information at this point – but we want to find out more”, Scott Hutchinson, of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, told the Globe and Mail.

The Canadian program was criticized 2008 by a retired Supreme Court judge Charles Gonthier, who questioned whether CSEC could be passing any data collected to other partner agencies such as Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

Gonthier’s biggest fear was that the data collection would lead to unlawful surveillance.

June 11, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on No Canadian NSA connection, but very own data snooping program