Class-Action Lawsuit Goes After Canadian Agency for Warrantless Mass Surveillance


The Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) — an intelligence and government data security agency — is facing a lawsuit over violating the electronic privacy rights of millions of Canadians since 2001.

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) is leading the class-action lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, “on behalf of anyone who used a wireless device in the country since 2001” — the year of the terrorist attacks in New York City that caused the Canadian government to change anti-terrorist laws.

The main goal of the suit is to nullify laws that permit the CSEC to read emails and text messages, and listen to calls with people outside of Canada. CSEC is purportedly forbidden from deliberately collecting or analyzing information, but the federal defense minister can authorize “unintentional interception.”

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The Canadian federal government has experienced substantial pressure to disclose CSEC activities since US American Edward Snowden sparked furious debate about electronic privacy. According to the executive director of the BCCLA, Josh Paterson, the “specifics” of the lawsuit are less important than making sure that Canadian rights are protected.

This suit was filed to follow action taken in October, and must be approved by the federal court before processes can begin.

Source: Toronto Star.

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