Saturday, November 30, 2013

Globe and Mail profiles CSEC

The Globe and Mail's Colin Freeze has produced an excellent introductory guide to CSEC, its operations, and its evolution since 2001 (Colin Freeze, "How CSEC became an electronic spying giant," Globe and Mail, 30 November 2013):
Next year, the analysts, hackers and linguists who form the heart of Communications Security Establishment Canada are expected to move from their crumbling old campus in Ottawa to a gleaming new, $1-billion headquarters.

It is the physical manifestation of just how far the agency has come since Sept. 11, 2001. Before those attacks, it was known as Canada’s other spy agency – an organization created to crack Communist codes more than seven decades ago, but rendered rudderless after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The agency’s biggest victory of the 1990s, insiders say, was its behind-the-scenes role in the seizure of a Spanish trawler during the Turbot Wars, a 1995 fishing dispute off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.

But now, where it once focused on vacuuming up Russian radio signals from Arctic bases, its surveillance reach is global: Its leaders now speak of “mastering the Internet” from desktops in Ottawa. In 1999, it had a shrinking budget of $100-million a year and a staff of about 900. Today, CSEC (pronounced like “seasick” ever since “Canada” was appended to the CSE brand) has evolved into a different machine: a deeply complex, deep-pocketed spying juggernaut that has seen its budget balloon to almost half a billion dollars and its ranks rise to more than 2,100 staff.
Well worth reading the entire piece.

Bonus: The Globe and Mail also posted (1) the (heavily redacted) officially released text of a 2004 ministerial directive related to CSEC use of metadata and (2) 18 slides from CSEC's "Olympia" slide deck with only minor, privacy-related redactions (earlier discussion here and here).

Well done, Globe!


Blogger Reese Witherspoon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 05, 2013 11:37 pm  
Blogger Reese Witherspoon said...

Sorry, I forgot to leave my email address.

December 07, 2013 8:33 am  

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