Monday, February 03, 2014

Wi-fi spy guys II

(Above) Creekside blog looks at the CSEC wi-fi controversy.

More coverage/commentary:

- Bruce Schneier, "CSEC Surveillance Analysis of IP and User Data," Schneier on Security, 3 February 2014 -- very helpful analysis
- "Needed: More eyes on Canada’s spies," editorial, Globe and Mail, 2 February 2014

It is also highly worth listening to today's edition of the CBC Radio show The Current, featuring Interim Privacy Commissioner Chantal Bernier, Western University professor Jacquelyn Burkell, and Citizen Lab's Christopher Parsons (podcast here).

Today's 4 to 8 pm meeting of the Senate Committee on National Scurity and Defence could also be enlightening. (Hope springs eternal.)

Update 7:00 pm:

Well, the Senate hearing did manage to clarify matters somewhat, although many of the key details remain unaddressed or withheld.

In essence, the government's position is that the metadata project reported by the CBC did take place, that its purpose was to develop targeting and analysis techniques that are in fact now being used operationally by CSEC, and that the collection, analysis, use, and retention of Canadian metadata is a normal part of CSEC's operations, necessary to those operations, and entirely legal. Officials also insist, however, that CSEC does not use the data to target Canadians for foreign intelligence purposes. The impression left was that the collection of Canadian metadata is extensive and may be close to all-encompassing, but no figures were provided, and officials also declined to disclose the retention period for the data. There was no discussion of the degree to which CSIS and the RCMP may have access to CSEC's metadata files (or the extent to which they may have their own files), and no discussion of whether or not CSIS and the RCMP require judicial warrants in order to use metadata in their investigations involving Canadians and/or to seek CSEC's assistance in utilizing that data. There was also no discussion of the extent to which Canadian metadata can be accessed by CSEC's Five Eyes allies or what controls may be in place on the use of that data.

Good coverage by the Globe here:

Colin Freeze, "Nothing wrong with monitoring airport wi-fi, Harper security adviser says," Globe and Mail, 3 February 2014

Additional coverage:

- Laura Payton, "Spy agencies, prime minister's adviser defend metadata collection," CBC News, 3 February 2014
- "CSEC Not Spying On Canadians, Head Of Eavesdropping Agency Says," Canadian Press, 3 February 2014
- Tonda MacCharles, "Top security adviser says CSEC didn’t violate Canadians’ privacy," Toronto Star, 3 February 2014
- Stewart Bell, "Stephen Harper’s top security advisor denies reports of illegal spying on Canadians using airport Wi-Fi," National Post, 3 February 2014


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