Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Canada, SIGINT, and this blog

This blog is about Canada's signals intelligence (SIGINT) activities, past and present, including Canadian participation in the global UKUSA SIGINT alliance.

Signals Intelligence was defined by the Canadian government in 1977 as "all processes involved in, and information and technical material derived from, the interception and study of foreign communications and non-communications electromagnetic emissions." Subcategories of SIGINT include intelligence derived from communications, also known as Communications Intelligence (COMINT); intelligence derived from non-communications emissions such as radar, also known as Electronics Intelligence (ELINT); and intelligence derived from the telemetry transmissions of missiles or other equipment undergoing testing, also known as Telemetry Intelligence (TELINT). In 2001, the range of potential Canadian SIGINT targets was formally broadened to incorporate data or technical information carried on, contained in, or relating to the electromagnetic emissions, communications systems, information technology systems, and networks that comprise the "global information infrastructure" when obtained for the purpose of providing foreign intelligence.

The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) is Canada's national Signals Intelligence organization. Formerly a civilian agency of the Department of National Defence, in November 2011 CSE became a separate agency of the government of Canada. CSE processes SIGINT, produces analyses, and disseminates reports to Canadian and allied intelligence clients. The collection of SIGINT is conducted primarily by the Canadian Forces Information Operations Group (CFIOG), formerly the Canadian Forces Supplementary Radio System (CFSRS), a component of the Canadian Armed Forces that operates under the direction of CSE for SIGINT purposes. CSE and the CFIOG in turn work in close co-operation with the US National Security Agency (NSA), Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Australia's Defence Signals Directorate (DSD), and New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) in a global intelligence alliance known informally as the UKUSA community.

The purpose of this blog is to collect, compile, analyse, and discuss publicly available information about the Communications Security Establishment and SIGINT activities in general. I have never had any role, direct or indirect, in the SIGINT business, and I consider myself neither a critic of nor an advocate for the Canadian agencies involved in these activities. A certain amount of secrecy is essential to the operations of these agencies. Nonetheless, a greater level of public knowledge about the privacy and national security issues raised by signals intelligence activities, and about the SIGINT agencies in general, would, in my view, be a good thing. My primary motivation in pursuing this topic, however, is simply to satisfy my own curiosity about the business of signals intelligence and Canada's role in it.

[Updated 16 January 2012: Since November 2011, CSE has been a separate agency of the government of Canada.]


Blogger Pete said...

Ahah! Bill

This explains your motivation.



February 12, 2009 11:53 pm  

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