'Shady, secretive system': Public Safety green-lit RCMP, CSIS spying devices, documents reveal
Government officials refuse to say exactly what interception devices are being approved in Canada
Public Safety Canada has repeatedly approved CSIS and the RCMP’s use of devices to spy on Canadians’ communications, documents obtained by CBC News reveal.
Canadians have been kept largely in the dark about police and intelligence agencies’ surveillance capabilities. But recent revelations in a Montreal court case that police are using electronic tools to scoop up mobile phone signals have prompted some experts to call for greater transparency in the approval and use of technologies that potentially violate privacy.
The new documents reveal Public Safety Canada approved requests from the RCMP, Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Defence Department granting more than a dozen licences to an unnamed company (or companies) for the purpose of possessing, manufacturing or selling devices “used primarily for the interception of communications.”
The documents, which are heavily redacted and don’t identify the manufacturers or the devices and their capabilities, were shared with CBC News by Ottawa-based investigative researcher Ken Rubin.
“It’s a part of the puzzle,” Rubin said. “There are too many questions there. All I’ve uncovered is a link to how this rather shady, secretive system works, and there’s no public understanding of it.”