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Iran Press TV

Canada urged to reveal extent of spying after watchdog's report

Iran Press TV

Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:54PM GMT

The government of Canada has been urged to reveal the extent of monitoring by its electronic eavesdropping agency after a report by the country’s watchdog says it appears the agency has illegally spied on Canadians.

The Canadian press reported on Thursday that the demands have been raised after a recent report was released by the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner (CSEC) Robert Decary.

“Minister of National Defense Rob Nicholson needs to release all information related to this spying immediately,” said Jack Harris from the New Democratic Party.

In the report presented to the country’s Parliament on August 21, Decary said some of the spying at CSEC could have affected Canadian citizens during the past year. However, he was not able to pinpoint any violations due to “poor record-keeping” by the agency.

“A number of CSEC records relating to these activities were unclear or incomplete,” said Decary in the report, adding, “After in-depth and lengthy review, I was unable to reach a definitive conclusion about compliance or non-compliance with the law.”

As a response to the report, Raymond Boisvert, who stepped down last year as former deputy director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service said, “Given the massive volume of millions and billions of pieces of data tracked, those [recordings] are kind of like accounting errors.”

The commissioner’s findings come amid recent revelations by US intelligence leaker, Edward Snowden, about the massive surveillance by the American and British intelligence services.

In addition, Decary was critical of the Harper government, as numerous CSEC watchdogs have called for clarification of the agency’s authority but no changes have been forthcoming.

"I am deeply disappointed at the lack of action by the government, which is no longer in a minority situation, to address the ambiguities identified by my predecessors and myself," said Decary.

Under Canada’s, so-called Anti-Terrorism Act, only CSEC, which is a part of the Department of National Defense, can actually spy or monitor communications on the internet. However it is forbidden from intentionally collecting or analyzing information from Canadian citizens either at home or abroad.


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