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Canadians, Too, Should Demand Surveillance Answers 81

Posted by timothy
from the enjoy-the-government-run-fiber-network dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Privacy and surveillance have taken centre stage this week with the revelations that U.S. agencies have been engaged in massive, secret surveillance programs that include years of capturing the meta-data from every cellphone call on the Verizon network (the meta-data includes the number called and the length of the call) as well as gathering information from the largest Internet companies in the world including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple in a program called PRISM. Michael Geist explains how many of the same powers exist under Canadian law and that it is very likely that Canadians have been caught up by these surveillance activities."
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Canadians, Too, Should Demand Surveillance Answers

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  • Absolutely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Phrogman (80473) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @09:35AM (#43946013) Homepage

    Guaranteed that our country is willingly sharing all of our data with the US. I don't doubt it for a minute. And its likely been doing it since Echelon was first built, now just more efficiently than before. I have zero faith in Steven Harper's credibility or integrity at any rate.

    • by JMJimmy (2036122)

      I doubt Canadian law enforcement is going outside the law... they don't need to since the US has no problem spying on foreign countries - we just happen to be in the "lucky" situation that they'll share the intel with us.

      • Yes, it's a tit for tat situation. We can spy on American's and the US can spy on Canadian's.

        It's a win-win.

        • by Mashiki (184564)

          Yes, it's a tit for tat situation. We can spy on American's and the US can spy on Canadian's.

          Several folks that I know or knew(some are dead now from old age/terminal diseases) who worked for various police services across the country said that this is exactly what goes on. Since you can't look at/up people via CPIC legally, among other databases, you can let your neighbors spy on you and reciprocate. All with the nudge-nudge, wink wink.

          • Yes, this concept is the basis for Echolon, which has only been happening for decades.

            Hell, the US worked around it's own wiretapping laws by getting the major carriers to route all international calls [at least to Europe] go through the Bahama's, where they would routinely listen in on any call they wanted.

            • by JMJimmy (2036122)

              I love the unmarked US helicopters running up and down the out islands in the Bahamas too.

        • US carriers route their long distance through Canada and calls from Canada route through the US. I forget the name of this process, but companies say it has to do with bandwidth rates. It seems to me that it is more likely a way to allow domestic only calls to be intercepted by a foreign nation.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Blaming Harper is disingenuous, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews [wikipedia.org] however deserves far more blame. It's not difficult to ascertain his stance with regards to privacy, drugs, gun-related crimes, and other topics related to the prison-industrial complex, and how this relates to American politics.

    • Re:Absolutely (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Saturday June 08, 2013 @11:26AM (#43946581)

      I, too, have zero faith in Steven Harper generally and would prefer him and his party out of office, but on this particular issue I'm worried the consensus is quite cross-party, at least between the Conservatives and Liberals. It's not like the practice of shoveling data to the US wholesale started only in 2004: the previous Liberal government under both Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin also maintained strong security & intelligence collaboration with the US.

      Chrétien was more publicly skeptical of US foreign policy than Harper is (e.g. opposing the Iraq war), but I'm not sure his government was in practice different when it came to behind-the-scenes things like how the intelligence services were operated.

      • by Etherwalk (681268) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @11:41AM (#43946679)

        Of course Canada is doing it; of course the United States is doing it; Every country that can figure out how is probably doing it. It's like sex. Everyone is doing it or trying to do it.

      • by alexo (9335)

        I, too, have zero faith in Steven Harper generally and would prefer him and his party out of office, but on this particular issue I'm worried the consensus is quite cross-party, at least between the Conservatives and Liberals.

        Then support the NDP (for a party with traction) or Green (for a party that desperately needs to gain some).
        You can also try your luck with Pirate, or even go with an independent (or run as one).

        Personally, I would vote Rhino before I would either LIB or CON.

    • by JustOK (667959)

      It's a scientific fact that Harper is the best PM ever. It's a scientific fact the he is the best person ever.

    • True. Where is the anger? The demonstrations in the streets? We need a US spring...
  • by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @09:36AM (#43946019)

    He'll bring you the "Hope and Change" Americans now enjoy. You certainly deserve it.

    • He's smoking crack in the Mayor's office in Toronto . . .

      . . . or so they say . . .

      I guess if that video does exist, the NSA will have it. No need to pay $200,000 for it. The CSIS can just ask the NSA to hand it over . . .

    • Echelon is old, we've progressed to admission and some disclosure - for decades you were a conspiracy nutcase they would dismiss if you even mentioned "Echelon". Then a few nations admitted it's existence on record and how they planned to quit, all while the USA denied the whole thing and still dismissed you as a conspiracy nut.

      Bush did the 1st "non-Echelon" spying, illegally and we somehow ignored all that and passed a law to allow it and then passed one to prevent suing the conspirators (that part during

    • by Anonymous Coward

      He died [wikipedia.org] not too long ago

  • by Livius (318358) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @09:43AM (#43946045)

    ....of copying whatever the Americans do when it's stupid. In those rare moments when Americans get it right, they refuse to imitate because the difference is part of what makes Canadian identity distinctive.

    Curieusement, les Canadien français sourvent font la même chose à l'égard des Canadiens anglais.

  • I don't think Canadians who travel to the US or abroad through the US would be happy to trade the 'security' of not having their data shared with the DoHS for the extreme amount of inconvenience that would result.

    I'm a Canadian living in Australia, and when I travel through LAX, US Customs and Immigration doesn't bat an eyelid, but my Australian partner has to typically get fingerprinted, scanned, searched and grunted at for several minutes just to transit.

    I'm not sure too many Canadians would be up for sim

    • by blade8086 (183911)

      DURR

      Your whole argument presumes that said fingerprinting, scanning, etc. is justified itself..

      DURR

  • If you read European laws, this kind of spying on citizens by governments has been permitted for a long time, and appears to be widely practiced. Countries like Germany even have state security services spy on parliamentarians regularly and infiltrate political parties.

    • Well, the Germans have more practice than most.

      • by Dr. Tom (23206)

        /scoff

        I visited an East Berlin museum back when there was an East Berlin. There was an exhibit consisting of several rooms worth of intercepted mail. Yeah, they read all the mail, except they didn't really have enough staff to do it all, so most of the letters just sat in crates forever. Basically, they were inept idiots compared to what's being done today.

        • Actually, they have much the same problem with what's being done today – only the problem is much much worse. Schneier (as often) had a recent commentary [cnn.com] on this.

          Short story: there is simply too much data, and no magical "find the suspicious subgraph" algorithm actually exists. Of course I'm not suggesting this as a justification for the practice – it makes it much more frightening in some ways – but I'm not so sure the modern agencies are that different from the stasi with respect to the

    • by Dr. Tom (23206)

      Why is it that nobody seems to care that phone companies and ISPs have been collecting and selling exactly the same information to marketing companies for years?
      The only thing draconian about this is that the government is too broke to just buy the data like everyone else, so they strong-arm the companies into giving it up for free.

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        Why is it that nobody seems to care that phone companies and ISPs have been collecting and selling exactly the same information to marketing companies for years?

        Your premise is wrong; phone companies and ISPs cannot and do not sell this information. If they did, you'd know about it because they'd actually be offering it for sale and they couldn't enforce secrecy.

        But even if your ridiculous premise were true, it would be much less harmful: marketing companies don't try to throw you into jail for terrorism, b

  • They will protect you from all the usual bogeymen, just like they protect us in the US.

    Plus, free stuff !! (Do you really want upper-class white Georgetown students to have to pay for their own birth control? What is this? Somalia?)

  • We're Canadian eh! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GrBear (63712) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @10:22AM (#43946249)

    We're no US citizens, we already knew we were under surveillance by the US gov't because we're a foreign country.

    This is the first time smug US citizens find out what the rest of the world feels like.

    Good on ya eh!

    • by Dzimas (547818)
      It is utterly stupid that the way a person is treated is based upon the location in which their mother pushed them through the birth canal and into the world. We give lip service to freedom, democracy and the right to achieve lofty goals... as long as an individual is "American," "Canadian," "Swiss" and so on. If not, we push ethics aside and condone surveillance, drone attacks, assassinations, invasions and all manner of nastiness -- like a very large pack of wolves.
      • It is utterly stupid that the way a person is treated is based upon the location in which their mother pushed them through the birth canal and into the world. We give lip service to freedom, democracy and the right to achieve lofty goals... as long as an individual is "American," "Canadian," "Swiss" and so on. If not, we push ethics aside and condone surveillance, drone attacks, assassinations, invasions and all manner of nastiness -- like a very large pack of wolves.

        Well, there's lots of studies on humanity and herd/tribe/pack mentality; it is built right in to us. However, I think you'll find that "American/Not American" is significantly different than "Canadian/Not Canadian" and "Swiss/Not Swiss". But then, there's always "White/Not White" "Rich/Not Rich" "Over 6'/Not Over 6'" "Mandarin Speaking/Not Mandarin Speaking" "Car Owner/Not Car Owner" "Employed/Unemployed" "Educated/Uneducated" ... and the list goes on.

        People are treated differently based on where they're

  • 5 Eyes (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 08, 2013 @10:24AM (#43946261)

    It's the 5 Eyes problem.

    The USA, UK, Aus, NZ and CAN have reciprocal intelligence agreements.

    Canada spies on US citizens, gives the intelligence to the US. And vice-versa.

    It's been going on for years.

  • Get the correct perspective: computation combined with signals analysis is a military technology plain and simple. This is a widespread use of military technology in the civilian domain and it has wide reaching effects on society similar to the contact of any other form of weaponized / military technology with civilians. There are various international agreements respecting the separation of the civilian domain from the military domain. The lack of these agreements with respect to computation and surveil
  • The problems with laws that provide "just in case" excessive power to government after a horrific event is that they will always abuse it and that the precedent has been set. New-found power to a government are freedoms lost forever.
  • The Conservative Government in Canada doesn't listen to what Canadians are saying to them directly, why would they listen when they aren't being spoken too?
    • by 0123456 (636235)

      Harper wouldn't be in power if the left-wing parties hadn't joined a bizarre suicide pact to force yet another bloody election that no-one wanted.

      Besides, all governments love spying on people whenever they can get away with it. At least with a center-ish government in power, the left-wing media will oppose them rather than blindly go along.

  • Maybe this doesn't matter to others, for some reason; but -

    The call metadata they're collecting also includes the location the call originated from and the location of the person receiving the call. I think that's a much bigger deal, since it means they are effectively tracking everyone who uses a cell phone.

  • > "it is very likely that Canadians have been caught up by these surveillance activities."

    RC Secret MP: "Turn it up, what are they saying?"
    (turns up volume)

    Person 1: "MMmmmm. That's some good backbacon, eh?"
    Person 2: "Ya, eh. Put some more maple syrup on it, eh."
    (sound of crunching crash in background)
    Person 2: "What was that, eh?"
    (some footsteps)
    Person 1: "Looks like another beaver cut down a tree and it almost hit the cabin, eh."

  • Write your MP, MPP, city councillor, mayor, the PMO, everyone. Call them. Complain. Make them hear your voice.

    Online complaining and petitions are great for raising public awareness, but until you actually send those messages to those in power, it does nothing.

  • No matter what illegal laws or treaties that PM Harper signed, Canadians have a specific right of privacy spelled out in the Canadian Constitution.

    Which makes these actions illegal no matter what justifications were given.

Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau

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