The Current

Canada's electronic spy agency takes the lead on internet surveillance

It's never been clear exactly how Communications Security Establishment Canada, or CSEC does its work. What kind of information does it gather? Who does it target? CBC's Dave Seglins joins us to give us a rare glimpse into the operations of a part of the Canadian Government we know little about....
It's never been clear exactly how Communications Security Establishment Canada, or CSEC does its work. What kind of information does it gather? Who does it target? CBC's Dave Seglins joins us to give us a rare glimpse into the operations of a part of the Canadian Government we know little about.

... but you're looking at a kind of window into the operations of a very significant agency within our government that is shrouded in secrecy.Ron Deibert, director of the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab

Canada's electronic spy agency the Communications Security Establishment Canada, or CSEC is a mystery to most Canadians -- even to Ron Deibert, director of the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab.

We do know that CSEC has about 2,000 employees and a budget of about $400 million dollars. It's job is to monitor electronic communications around the world; to help the RCMP and CSIS keep tabs on people they're concerned with; and to protect the government's computer systems from cyber-attack.

But it's never been clear exactly how CSEC does its work, who it targets and what kinds of information it gathers along the way. Now, a CBC News investigation based on documents from U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden has provided at least a partial glimpse.

The CBC's Dave Seglins is reporting a story this morning about something called Project Levitation. He was in our Toronto studio.


This segment was produced by The Current's Gord Westmacott.

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