New NSA revelations underscore need to hold CSEC accountable

Thursday, July 10, 2014

By Diane Shnier

This week saw the latest revelations of troubling NSA mass surveillance practices leaked from the archive of Edward Snowden documents.

On July 8, journalists Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain exposed extensive NSA spying on prominent American-Muslims. Their detailed article reveals that the NSA monitored 7,485 email addresses for in-depth surveillance, 202 of which belong to American citizens. The targeted individuals explicitly identified in the report include a Muslim-American Republican Party political candidate, the head of a civil liberties organization, a high profile lawyer and two academics, all of whom have ostensibly never aided or abetted terrorism. These individuals come from a variety of walks of life and hold diverse political views; the common denominator amongst them, like many of the individuals on this particular list, is their religious background.

Earlier this week on July 5, The Washington Post reported that nine out of 10 account holders from an NSA cache of intercepted conversations, provided to The Post by Snowden, belonged to individuals who were not being explicitly targeted by the NSA. Many files contained intimate details of the daily lives of these innocent individuals, including love stories, sexual encounters, mental-health issues, and discussions concerning politics and religion. The surveillance files total more than 10,000, nearly half of which were marked as belonging to American citizens.

Both of these reports indicate that one need not have done anything wrong in order to be ensnared in the wide nets cast by spy agencies like the NSA and CSEC. Given the long history of cooperation between CSEC and the NSA, Canadians are asking questions about CSEC’s involvement with NSA spying. These recent leaks about NSA spying could have a bearing on privacy protections in Canada too.

CJFE is a part of the Protect Our Privacy coalition. Join us in standing up against mass surveillance in Canada by signing the petition below.


Do you agree with this statement?

"More than ever, Canadians need strong, genuinely transparent, and properly enforced safeguards to secure privacy rights. We call on Government to put in place effective legal measures to protect the privacy of every resident of Canada against intrusion by government entities."

Sign the petition and join the Protect Our Privacy Coalition.

Diane Shnier is CJFE’s Outreach and Communications Assistant, currently completing her degree in political science at McGill University.