Wednesday, November 08, 2017

My work here is not done

I don't consider it my personal mission to make Canadians more aware of the existence and activities of the Communications Security Establishment. But I've always thought it would be a Good Thing if Canadians were more aware of CSE, and I felt it was possible that this blog might make a small contribution towards that end.

Well, if it has made any contribution, it certainly has been a small one.

A recent poll conducted for CSE found that,
On an unaided basis, only 3% of respondents correctly name “CSE” or the "Communications Security Establishment” as the government agency responsible for intercepting and analyzing foreign communications and helping protect the government’s computer networks. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is much more commonly named as the agency described (mentioned by 22%).
Also, that 3% figure is only considered correct within plus or minus 2.8 percentage points 19 times out of twenty. In other words, it's pretty much within the margin of error.

As Jim Bronskill notes, there was a time not so long ago when CSE would have been thrilled to be so completely unknown ("Only three per cent of people surveyed could name Canada's cyberspy agency," National Post, 8 November 2017).

Times have certainly changed. CSE is a lot more interested in publicity than it used to be.

But of course there's still an awful lot they aren't keen to talk about. (See my comments on transparency here.)