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Updated: Fri, 31 Jan 2014 12:34:09 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

CSEC Snowden docs: no sign spy agency targets Canadians, minister insists



Information about how intelligence agencies spy on people, revealed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, has lead tech-based giants like Google and Apple to ask for tighter controls on surveillance. Associated Press

Information about how intelligence agencies spy on people, revealed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, has lead tech-based giants like Google and Apple to ask for tighter controls on surveillance. Associated Press

Nothing in a document obtained by CBC News suggests Canada's communications spy agency used airport Wi-Fi to track Canadians, Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said Friday.

The top secret document was retrieved by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden. It shows Canada's electronic spy agency used information from the free internet service at a major Canadian airport to track the wireless devices of thousands of ordinary airline passengers for days after they left the terminal.

Under repeated questioning by opposition MPs, Nicholson didn't directly deny the story, but said that the document detailing work by the Communications Security Establishment Canada doesn't show that Canadian communications were targeted or used.

"It's my understanding that CSEC made it clear to CBC that nothing in the documents that they had obtained showed that Canadian communications were targeted, collected, or used, nor that travellers' movements were tracked," Nicholson said in the House of Commons.

Nicholson said that regular reports by a watchdog, the CSEC commissioner, affirm the signals intelligence agency doesn't break the law.

The spy agency is supposed to be collecting primarily foreign intelligence by intercepting overseas phone and internet traffic, and is prohibited by law from targeting Canadians or anyone in Canada without a judicial warrant.

New Democrat MP David Christopherson asked Nicholson to categorically deny the agency has tracked Canadians, but Nicholson returned to his response about the CSEC commissioner.

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