A sign for the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) is seen outside their headquarters in the east end of Ottawa on July 23, 2015. (Photo: Sean Kilpatrick/CP)
Agency broke privacy laws: watchdogA federal watchdog declared earlier this year that the spy agency broke privacy laws by sharing information about Canadians with foreign partners. Certain types of metadata containing Canadian identity information were not being properly "minimized" — stripped of potentially revealing details — before being shared with the CSE's four key foreign partners. Metadata is information associated with a communication — such as a telephone number or email address — but not the message itself. Still, privacy advocates argue it can be highly revealing. CSE's activities are shrouded in secrecy, says Grace Pastine, the civil liberties association's litigation director.
"CSE is required to have policies in place to protect the privacy of Canadians, but it has not provided the details of those policies to Canadians.""CSE is required to have policies in place to protect the privacy of Canadians, but it has not provided the details of those policies to Canadians," she said in a statement. "We're calling on the federal government to state clearly who it is watching, what is being collected, what is being shared with foreign governments and how it is handling Canadians' private communications and information." In his affidavit, Millar says if CSE is forced to reveal sensitive material provided to it by a Five Eyes agency, or related to the alliance's processes, it is very likely to be damaging. "A loss of faith in either the commitment or ability of CSE and the Government of Canada to protect such information could result in a significant decrease in information being shared with CSE and even a termination of access," he says.
Grits expressed concerns during campaign"Damaging trust and respect through disclosure of information against the expressed wishes of one or more of our Five Eyes partners would have a detrimental effect on future collaborative efforts, consequently harming not only the interests of Canada, but also those of our closest partners." The federal Liberals have expressed concerns about CSE, committing during the election campaign to limit the agency's power by requiring a warrant to engage in the surveillance of Canadians, the civil liberties association noted. However, to date, the government continues to oppose the lawsuit.
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