When news broke that the NSA was unconstitutionally collecting digital information on American citizens, the world cast a eye on the U.S. and questioned the intent of whistleblower, Edward Snowden. The documents point to nine major Internet companies who allegedly opened their servers to government surveillance: Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL and Apple.
The purpose is to allow intelligence agencies to collect information that passes through American shores. A Canadian logging into Facebook is as much a target as an American subscribed to Gmail. This is detailed in the top secret documents that were submitted to the court that oversees surveillance by US intelligence agencies. The document, published on The Guardian, shows orders which allow the NSA to make use of information “inadvertently” collected from domestic US communications without a warrant as well as procedures to follow in order to target “non-US persons”.
Canada’s has it’s own shadowy surveillance agency, the Communication Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), whose first line of defence, according to the Globe & Mail, “is that hardly anyone has ever heard of it.”
The mandate of CSEC is an assurance that the agency is “strictly related to foreign intelligence, as prescribed in the National Defence Act. CSEC is prohibited by law from directing its activities at Canadians anywhere in the world or at any person in Canada. CSEC has rigorous procedures in place to ensure that it adheres to this prohibition.”