The Current

With CSEC monitoring people in airports, how much spying is done on Canadians?

We offer up volumes of private information about ourselves online and just assume we're untouchable. But the latest revelations about Canada's CSEC hovering information through public WiFi at airports raise questions about how our government is tracking us and what it's doing to our psyches....
We offer up volumes of private information about ourselves online and just assume we're untouchable. But the latest revelations about Canada's CSEC hovering information through public WiFi at airports raise questions about how our government is tracking us and what it's doing to our psyches.

The effects of spying on society and psychology


CSEC under it's legislation can not target Canadians anywhere in the world or anyone in Canada including visitors to Canada.John Forster, the head of Canada's Communications Security Establishment (CSEC)

Now after the revelations of Edward Snowden, some Canadians wonder if John Forster was completely candid. Late last week we learned CSEC tracked Canadians as they passed through one of this country's major international airports.

Coincidentally, last week also saw Canada's Interim Privacy Commissioner Chantal Bernier demanding tougher rules to protect privacy including reigning in the spy agencies.


  • Chantal Bernier is the Interim Privacy Commissioner and we reached her in Ottawa.

In December, the National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden gave a grim televised Christmas message, about intelligence agencies creeping into the lives of private citizens.

A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy of all. They'll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves, an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought. And that's important because privacy matters. Privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be. The conversation occurring today will determine the trust we can place both in the technology that surrounds us and the government that regulates it. Edward Snowden, National Security Agency whistleblower

  • Jacquelyn Burkell have spent a lot of time thinking about power and privacy. She is a professor in the University of Western Ontario's Faculty of Information and Media Studies. Jacquelyn Burkell was in London, Ontario.

  • Christopher Parsons is with the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs. He was in our Toronto studio.

If you're nervous about the ability of Canada's spy agencies to monitor and collect information about your private life, we'd like to hear about it.

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This segment was produced by The Current's Marc Apollonio.

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