National Newswatch

Canada’s no-ransom policy is flawed, hypocritical: ex-CSIS official

May 11 2017 — Colin Freeze — A former federal intelligence official argues that the Canadian government’s no-ransoms-for-hostages stand is an outdated and even hypocritical posture that needs to be reconsidered for the sake of citizens held abroad. Andy Ellis, a top Canadian Security Intelligence Service official until last year, makes this argument in a essay published Thursday in The Globe and […]

Federal documents say 2014 China-sponsored hack cost ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’

Mar 30 2017 — Colin Freeze — China’s state-sponsored cyberattack on the National Research Council’s computer infrastructure cost Ottawa hundreds of millions of dollars, according to federal documents that shed light on fallout from the 2014 breach. In a PowerPoint presentation obtained by The Globe and Mail, Ottawa officials highlighted this estimate last year as a cautionary tale about the cost of […]

CSIS assessing ‘bulk data’ collection, records show

Jan 9 2017 — Colin Freeze — Canada’s domestic spy service has been trying to figure out ways of obtaining “bulk data” to better feed the holdings of its secretive analytics centre, newly released records obtained by The Globe and Mail show. A 2012 memo by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service speaks of an intelligence-agency pivot with profound implications for privacy and […]

Trump’s torture view may change secrets sharing with Canada: spy watchdog executive

Dec 8 2016 — Colin Freeze — The civil servant in charge of the government’s spy-watchdog agency says Canada may have to reconsider how it shares intelligence with the United States if president-elect Donald Trump makes good on his promise to torture terrorists to gather intelligence. The federal official also remarked that had former U.S. intelligence analyst Edward Snowden worked for Canadian […]

Hackers target government’s energy and resource departments

Nov 17 2016 — Colin Freeze — Hackers hit the Canadian government’s “natural resources, energy and environment” sector almost as much as they do all other sectors combined, newly released numbers show. Statistics released to Parliament this week show that government systems in this sector suffered 2,078 “system compromises” in 2016. This compares to 2,493 such compromises against all other federal government […]

In scathing ruling, Federal Court says CSIS bulk data collection illegal

Nov 3 2016 — Colin Freeze — The Federal Court of Canada faulted Canada’s domestic spy agency Thursday for unlawfully amassing data, for misusing its surveillance warrants and for not being forthright with judges who authorize its intelligence programs. The court is also revealing that CSIS no longer needs warrants to collect Canadians’ tax records because of changes wrought by Bill C-51.

Canada, China to discuss accord on cybersecurity

Sep 27 2016 — Colin Freeze — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has directed his top security officials to discuss a cyber accord with China to help protect Canadian corporations from hackers. The Prime Minister’s national-security adviser, Daniel Jean, was sent to China earlier this month to co-chair the first in a series of meetings between the two countries’ public-safety officials. These talks […]

Spy agency accidentally shared Canadians’ data with allies for years

Jun 2 2016 — Colin Freeze — A federal spy agency inadvertently shared logs of Canadians’ phone calls and Internet exchanges with intelligence allies such as the United States for years, a newly disclosed report says. The revelation that the Communications Security Establishment compromised Canadians’ privacy while sharing clandestinely captured data appears in a confidential watchdog’s report obtained by The Globe and […]

Data breaches renew calls for stricter oversight of Canada’s spy agencies

Jan 30 2016 — Colin Freeze — Civil-libertarians are responding to new privacy warnings from spy watchdogs by saying that such cases show that a proposed fix to Canada’s intelligence system amounts to a half-measure. In separate reports on Thursday, watchdogs for Canada’s two spy agencies revealed potentially unlawful breaches of Canadians’ data. Such cases raise continued accountability questions for the agencies. […]

Chinese entrepreneur living in Canada implicated in U.S. military hacking case

Jan 18 2016 — Colin Freeze — Two Chinese government soldiers were part of a hacking conspiracy allegedly carried out by a Chinese resident of Canada to steal secrets relating to components of F-35s and other American warplanes, according to court-filed documents. Prosecution “books of record,” recently released by a Vancouver court following a request from The Globe and Mail, make explicit […]

Spy-watchdog chair Pierre Blais’s credentials questioned by Mulcair

Jun 6 2015 — Colin Freeze — The chair of Canada’s spy-watchdog committee is an inappropriate choice for the job, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair has told Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a letter. Pierre Blais, who recently retired after being a judge for 16 years and was minister responsible for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service in the 1980s as a Conservative cabinet […]

New spying powers may be necessary as security risks increase: CSIS watchdog

Jun 4 2015 — Colin Freeze — New terrorism threats may well warrant new spying powers, says the official now in charge of scrutinizing Canada’s intelligence agency, a former Conservative public-safety minister. “Terrorists, they don’t have borders,” Pierre Blais said in an interview. “…When they decide to put a bomb somewhere – the railroad, or in Parliament – they don’t care. They […]