Wednesday, April 04, 2012

CSE vs Anonymous

Not our mandate, says Toni Moffa, Deputy Chief IT Security at CSE, in response to recent questions from MPs wondering what CSE might be able to do about threats made by the hacker group "Anonymous" (Jim Bronskill, "Committee sheds little light on videos that take aim at public safety minister," Canadian Press, 3 April 2012).

Apparently Anonymous has been attempting to terrorize the Minister of Torture Public Safety -- or maybe attempting to terrorize the rest of us? -- by threatening to reveal salacious details of exactly what has been going on behind closed doors in the privacy of the Toews homestead.

I don't know what effect these threats have had on Minister Toews, but the Minister has certainly been terrifying me for quite some time. And that's without knowing any of said salacious details.

But enough of that.

If terrorism or other crimes (attempting to blackmail a Minister of the Crown?) are actually in play here, then there is in fact a potential role for CSE.

The third part of CSE's statutory mandate authorizes the agency to "provide technical and operational assistance to federal law enforcement and security agencies in the performance of their lawful duties". In other words, CSE could indeed be asked to provide assistance in a criminal investigation related to such threats.

[Update 18 April 2012: And, indeed, if you read the transcript of Moffa's testimony it becomes clear that she herself made much the same points.]

Of course, the nature of the assistance that CSE might be able to render is probably fairly limited at this point. For CSE to really get in the action, we may have to wait for the passage of Minister Toews' Panopticon Against Pornographers bill.

Can't you just feel the terror already?


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