Leaving it up to the minister in charge to decide what is acceptable and what is not, or what is lawful and what is not, is far from a democratic and accountable model. We need review mechanisms with the necessary autonomy, independence and structure to create true accountability.
Have you ever heard of Leon Theremin? If you don't know him but you like electronic music or have ever used a toll road transponder, or even if you've noticed the square tag on the side of a peanut butter jar at the grocery store, you have Leon Theremin to thank. The early 20th century Russian-born inventor developed technologies that have and will continue to change our world.
All countries with adequate resources have intelligence agencies like CSEC and CSIS. Countries have oversight mechanisms to assure these agencies' political masters -- including legislators from both government and opposition parties -- that the agencies are not breaking the laws of their country or otherwise operating outside their mandate. Canada has no such oversight mechanisms. Or, rather, Canada's mechanisms are so feeble and after-the-fact that nobody can assure ordinary Canadian citizens that their own intelligence agencies are being held to account.
The U.S. National Security Agency has been in hot water for the last few weeks, as whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed a massive online spying system that has been vacuuming up huge amounts of communications data from U.S. and foreign citizens. But Snowden is far from the first whistleblower.
His motivation aside, there is no debate that Snowden broke the law and should go to prison. But his methods are important and will determine what happens next. U.S. lawmakers have been demanding answers from intelligence officials on how Snowden, a high-school dropout, got his hands on the country's top-secret programs.
THE CANADIAN PRESS -- OTTAWA - Canada's spy agency says cyberattacks waged via the Internet are the fastest growing form