Documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, and NSA leaker Edward Snowden paint a picture of Canadian Spies ignoring the rule of law days before the Conservatives plan on announcing the anti-terror legislation.
Documents obtained through Snowden suggest that the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) cast a wide dragnet on anyone who downloaded files from file sharing sites Sendspace, Rapidshare, and Megaupload. The documents confirm that CSE has been engaged in widespread mass surveillance of Canadians, rather than targeting specific national security threats. The spy operation was codenamed “Levitation”. Being an ex-music industry DJ, I’d often get legitimate promo material sent to me through these sites directly by the music labels, and artists themselves. I would consider those communications to be private business communications that appear to have been intercepted by CSE in its mass surveillance dragnet. Privacy Lawyer David Fraser posted a blog on this today in which he stated that lawyers have also used these services to communicate with clients:
During the the time in question, I had clients who used these services to share large documents with me that are subject to solicitor client privilege. This data was swept up in their system and their assurances that they didn’t look at it offers me no comfort.
Fraser goes on to say:
Mass, suspicionless surveillance is not OK and has to stop.
This past summer the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that mass surveillance dragnets cast without a warrant, as the one being exposed through the Snowden documents are unconstitutional, regardless of what was looked at or not. This mass surveillance dragnet shows that Canadian spies are not abiding by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Not only are Canadian Spies showing neglect for our constitutional rights, they are also showing neglect for the tax payer as well. Global News broke a story recently in which the head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) which is another branch of the Canadian spy net, has been filing inappropriate expenses to Parliament. Only now that media has reported on it, that Government is reviewing those costs.
With only days until the Conservative government gives more power to law enforcement and our spy agencies through anti-terror legislation; what assurances do Canadians have that these agencies will abide by the rule of law or the will of parliament?
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