February 11, 2014 ~ Stop Spying CSEC


Today many websites around the world joined together to protest the NSA’s practice of spying on the online activities of innocent people in the United States and around the world.  The American NSA (National Security Agency) is joined in these activities by its Five Eyes partners, England’s GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters), Australia’a ASD (Australian Signals Directorate), New Zealand’s (GCSD (Government Communications Security Bureau), and Canada’s own CSEC (Communications Security Establishment Canada).

Instead of using the one provided by www.thedaywefightback.org, I decided to create my own Canadian graphic using a darkened photo of CSEC’s current headquarters, rather than the NSA’s.

Being Canadian, my own protest is not directed at NSA; that is an agency of the Government of the United States.  The USA has little motivation to pay any heed at all to non-Americans.  On the other hand, The Government of Canada and CSEC are supposed to be working for Canadians;  they should have reason to listen to the voices of Canadians.

Most of those Canadians aware of the existence of Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) prior to the Snowden revelations believed our premier spy agency existed to spy for us, not on us.  In spite of evidence provided by Edward Snowden and responsibly reported by Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, CSEC protests it’s innocence.

Join me in signing Open Media’s Protect Our Privacy petition.

Even better: contact your member of parliament (see “Find Your Member of Parliament” in the sidebar) and letting him or her know we would be better served if the billions squandered spying on innocent Canadians was invested in something worthwhile instead, like:

  • replenishing the CPP, or
  • fully funding Library and Archives Canada, or
  • providing adequate education and health care to First Nations peoples, or
  • creating a postal service that actually delivers mail,
  • ensuring Canadian veterans get a fair shake, or
  • investing in green energy, or
  • improving health care, or
  • making a university education available to all qualified Canadians.

I’ll bet you can think of a dozen places you would rather see Canadian tax dollars being spent.


The CSE Commissioner has never found CSE to have acted unlawfully. In fact, he has specifically noted CSE’s culture of lawful compliance and genuine concern for protecting the privacy of Canadians.

— CSE statement re: January 30 CBC story

The Edward Drake Building in Ottawa used to be the head office of the CBC, until government cutbacks made this Ottawa property too costly for Canada’s National Broadcaster to maintain.

With no such budgetary restraints of its own, CSEC took over the luxury digs. While a case can be made that CBC needs impressive offices in an industry where image is everything, it is hard to explain why a Government Industry operating in the shadows should need opulent digs.  As it turns out even this spacious architecturally significant Ottawa building was not enough for Canada’s spy agency.

CSEC is spending 1.2 billion to construct the most expensive Canadian government building ever. And although Canadian taxpayers are footing the bill, most will never be allowed to set foot in it.

Canada’s cryptologic agency is part of the 5 Eyes spy consortium that shares intelligence.

CSE is mandated to collect foreign signals intelligence to protect Canada and Canadians, and by law, only directs its foreign intelligence activities at foreign entities.

In order to fulfill this key foreign intelligence role for the country, CSE is legally authorized to collect and analyze metadata. In simple terms, metadata is technical information used to route communications, and not the contents of a communication.”
CSE statement re: January 30 CBC story

CSEC’s claims (like the other Five Eyes claims) that it limits itself to metadata rings hollow.  Reporter Glenn Greenwald makes a convincing case that metadata collection is even more invasive than having the our email read.

For years now, our Canadian Government has been working hard to make such spying on citizens legal by passing “lawful access” legislation, which would make it legal for government to spy on innocent citizens without having to convince a judge that there is a good reason to invade citizen privacy.

After 9/11 the Liberal Government first introduced “lawful access” legislation which failed to pass. The second try at legalizing unfettered citizen surveillance was made by the Conservative government, but was one of the laws lost to premature prorogation.

The third attempt is the one we started hearing about; because it was misleadingly titled Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act, yet it neglected to even mention children or internet predators anywhere except in its title.  Public Safety Minister Vic Toews infamously told an opposition MP that he could “either stand with us or with the child pornographers” during a debate.

Despite promises not to revisit the issue, the Harper Government’s new Justice Minister Peter MacKay has introduced yet another incarnation, “Bill C-13, The Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act,” which will effectively allow unprecedented digital surveillance.  Which would look very much like the things are being revealed through Edward Snowden’s leaked documents.  If Bill C-13 becomes law, our spy agencies would be legally allowed to spy on Canadians who happened to use airport WiFi, or read our email, collect our metadata.  There would be no legal means for citizens to protest being watched 24/7.

Privacy Matters

I have spent my entire life being grateful that my maternal grandparents fled the Russian Revolution and emigrated to Canada.  This saved me from growing up in the Soviet Union, where citizens didn’t have civil rights.  Where the government decided where you went to school, or if you did; and what work you do, and where you lived.   Where people were correct in assuming they were being listened  to when they spoke on the telephone.  Or even when they didn’t.

Even if the education you receive led to the career you always wanted, not being able to say what you think, or even think aloud, without risking instant relocation to Siberia, makes such a system hard to take.

If you don’t think its such a bad idea, try to imagine what it would be like to spend every minute of every day with your mother.  No matter how much you love your mom, no matter how good your relationship, chances are good there are things you won’t want to say out loud, or emails you won’t be comfortable writing if you know she is going to read it.

Now think about doing the same thing, but this time instead of your mother, you are now going to spend every minute of every day of the rest of your life with the most annoying person you have ever known.  Maybe it’s the whiny little kid who followed you around in the third grade and wanted to be included in everything you did.  Or maybe it’s the bully who jumped out of the bushes every day and stole your lunch money.

If that doesn’t work, watch a movie like “Gorky Park,” “White Nights” or “The Lives of Others.”

If all of our digital communications are subject to surveillance after such a law eliminates oversight, the civil liberties promised by the Canadian Charter of Rights And Freedoms won’t be worth the paper its printed on.  

If Bill C-13 Lawful Access legislation should become law, Canadians will find ourselves tripping over the government in our bedrooms after all.

Image Credit
Edward Drake Building has been released into the public domain by its author, Vanished User

3 thoughts on “February 11, 2014 ~ Stop Spying CSEC

  1. Michael Heroux said

    My wife and I are the two people Justice Richard Mosley was refering to when he ruled CSIS was end running the law. We have been following this decision very closely, we are being spied on right here in Canada. My wife and I and our 3 children have been abused by the RCMP CSIS CSEC and other police forces in Ontario and British Columbia for over 5 years now. I have a mental disability and the police started harassing my family and I when I started using Craigslist 5 years ago, what can I say, we’re swingers. My wife slept with a few of them while I watched. We are not terrorist. It sounds strange but I have been poisoned and my wife has been poisoned for speaking out publicly about the abuse. We have also been assulted numerous times in the last 5 years. They are listening to us in our bedroom and living room because they let us know by telling us what we are talking about in the privacy of our home. We contacted the BC Human Rights and Civil Rights office last year because the police were trying to run me and my family over on the streets, but they never got back to us. We got a lawyer a couple years ago and the lawyer was able to get them to lay off for a bit. They sent a gunman to murder us last year, we managed to evade him. It also sounds strange but we have a spy monitoring us right now in the adjacent suite to us and they have been there for 12 months now. Since Judge Mosleys decision they quit harassing us but they are still messing around with our internet and phone communications. Thank God for Judge Mosley, I think he saved our lives. We think the reason they are still watching over us is because of what Judge Mosley refered to as “invasive survailence techniques” used against the people who had those warrents issued on them. They don’t want us to tell anyone about the techniques used against us for the last 5 years. Pretty sophisticated alien technology if I do say so myself. Pretty cool actually but we don’t plan on telling anyone. We are patriotic Canadians and we hate terrorist like everyone else but we don’t want to see people abused. Caught up in the fish net so to speak. They have tried to set us up numerous times for arrest over the last 5 years to get their hands on us and make us look like the bad guy’s but we have managed to evade those attempts also.

    My wife and I are concerned because Canada Post is being scaled back and it has got us worried. We use open source software for our operating system. In the last 5 years our privacy has been majorly violated. We are most concerned about our communications being sanitized. We no longer have control over who we can make contact with through electronic means. We can only contact people in person for representation so most people not within our city are off limits to us. We realize we are being followed and are being listened to in the privacy of our own home and our home has been entered numerous times when we are not home by intelligence but our means of communications are being sanitized. 5 years ago we noticed rootkits being installed on our operating systems and I was able to set up honey pots and found they were being installed by the military. Since, we switched to virtual machines from static medium verified with sha512sums (DEBIAN KNOPPIX) to get a malware free system each boot. The only website we use is Craigslist and we have met RCMP agents through Craigslist who wanted us to work for them to help them entrap people from terrorist to gangsters. We believe they were just looking for patsies though. I used to work for the RCMP over 20 years ago to infiltrate criminals and make arrests but I quit working for them because they wanted me to set people up that weren’t even breaking the law. For the last 5 years we have used Gmail and we have had numerous internet suppliers and numerous Gmail accounts and we have noticed people we have been emailing and people emailing us have not been getting the emails even though Gmail says they have been sent. We use an SSL connection so our communications are encrypted. The same thing applies to our text messages, we have used Rogers for internet, text and phone for the last 5 years. We have noticed our posting on certains forums are not showing up or they are being deleted as we are writing them right before our eyes or our browsers are being closed as we are writing stuff. Our computers are being shut down and our cell phones are being shut down as we are trying to correspond with people. We have realized that people have been contacting us through our email and our cell phones claiming to be people we know like family members for instance but we know they are imposters. We have tried contacting Human and Civil Rights advocates through electronic means but have had no replies. We have even tried to contact legal representation through electronic means but have never heard anything back over the years. It sounds strange but a gunman was sent to kill us early last year but we managed to evade him. Shortly after that someone tried hiring a hitman through the SILK ROAD website to kill us. At first when the website was taken down by the FBI the owner said the hit was for a father of 3 from Vancouver but later he admitted it was for the whole family of 5, a husband, wife and 3 children. We have been poisoned numerous times in the last 5 years and I have numerous painful swollen lumps throughout my body. Strangers have come up to us on the streets and have told us I have cancer. I went to the emergency room last year because my brain was swelling in my head and my eyes were bulging and I was having severe headaches and the doctor didn’t want to treat me and sent me home. Thanks for reading.

    • The same comments and more by Michael Heroux/davechappel54321 have been posted to the blogs of people far more expert than I, namely Schneier on Security and Michael Geist. While there may be some merit in what you write, I would strongly suggest that you go (in person) to see a local psychiatrist of your choice for assessment. Good luck to you.

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