With a new law in place, it’s becoming easier for Canadian spy agencies to track and record every Canadian, according to a recent report by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
The CSE, Canada’s domestic spy agency, has been ramping up its efforts to monitor the electronic communications of Canadians for the past several years.
That’s made it easier for the Canadian government to monitor Canadians’ internet usage and the movements of their associates, the report says.
The law, which passed with broad support from the public, was expected to be passed this week but was delayed until next week because of a number of amendments.
The amendments included a clause allowing the spy agency to obtain a warrant to monitor emails and other online activity of suspected terrorists.
The report also says the new law will allow the CSE to “provide access to metadata on electronic communications and the activities of persons who communicate through digital devices.”
As a result, the Cse can collect metadata on Canadians’ online activities, such as the time and location of where they were, when they spoke and who sent them.
The government has defended the legislation as necessary to fight terrorism, despite concerns from civil liberties groups that it could infringe on Canadians privacy.
It’s unclear what impact the law will have on Canadian intelligence efforts, as the law doesn’t specify when it will be used.
The Canadian Security Service did not respond to requests for comment.
The new law has been under review for years by CSE’s top brass, and the spy service has long been wary of the potential of this law to invade Canadians’ privacy.
The watchdog’s report makes clear that the new legislation is designed to keep Canadians safe, and that the spy agencies are “committed to maintaining a high level of vigilance” to ensure they don’t have a backdoor into Canadians’ digital lives.
The proposed law is “an important and necessary step in ensuring that CSE remains vigilant against threats to our national security and privacy,” the report states.
However, it does not give the spy services the power to monitor communications of suspected extremists.
Instead, it requires them to notify the Canadian security services of “an imminent threat to the security of Canada or the security and integrity of Canadian society.”
In a statement, CSE spokesperson Mark Thompson said the agency “will continue to monitor and assess the law and its impact on our operations.”
It remains to be seen how the new spy legislation will affect Canadians’ ability to communicate online.
According to a July 2016 report by The Canadian Press, Canada is the only Western country without a law to limit the activities and communications of foreign nationals who are suspected of terrorism.
The bill is being drafted by a committee chaired by CTV journalist and former spy Christopher Parsons.
He said he was surprised that the government was so cavalier about the law.
“I’m not surprised, but I’m just disappointed,” he told CBC News.
“We should have been prepared to debate and debate, and to get our ducks in a row.”
The Cse is also under fire for not including protections for journalists in the proposed law.
In an interview with the CTV News Channel in July, Parsons said the CSA has been working to improve its media surveillance capabilities and has been providing a more thorough report to Parliament every year since 2012.
Parsons said he believes the new bill is a response to the CSC’s report, and is designed “to ensure the CTS remains vigilant, to keep us safe and to protect our privacy.”
“The new legislation allows the CSS to provide access to digital metadata on the activities, communications and movements of Canadians who communicate via digital devices,” the Csie’s Parsons said.
“The law also includes provisions allowing the Css to request a warrant if it believes there is a threat to national security.”
The new legislation does not specifically mention the CSPs media surveillance powers.
However it is not clear how the spy organization would be able to access the metadata of communications of journalists.
CSE said it would be willing to help Parliament with the legislation.
“There is a strong and ongoing relationship between the CSI and Parliament,” a spokesperson for the agency said in a statement.
“As a result of that relationship, the Canadian Press Council is also involved in the drafting of the legislation.”
However, Parsons believes it’s unlikely that the Csps would have a “direct and tangible relationship” with Parliament to change the law, as he said.
The spy agency will have to convince the House of Commons that it has a case for using the powers, according the report.
That process could take years, and it may not happen without a public debate, Parsons noted.
The parliamentary watchdog also says it will not make a recommendation to the government about whether the law should be amended.
It says the government has the authority to amend the law with an “impartial and independent review” of the CSEA’s surveillance powers, as it did in 2012.
However critics say that process was flawed.
They say the parliamentary watchdog, made up