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Spy agency CSE is monitoring our private online activities

Breaking - Spy agency CSE is monitoring our private online activities on a massive scale and sharing sensitive data with other governments

Canadian spy agency has been caught monitoring over 100 popular file-storage websites, spying on millions of downloads a day, with Canadian Internet addresses among the targets.

January 28, 2015 – Canadian spy agency CSE (Communications Security Establishment) is indiscriminately monitoring the private online activities of millions of Internet users, including Canadians. According to CBC News and The Intercept, CSE monitored over 100 popular file hosting websites, including RapidShare and SendSpace, spying on millions of downloads a day. They also collected millions of IP addresses of individual users, with a number of Canadian Internet addresses among the targets.

Findings from the program are collected and shared with foreign spy agencies. All of this activity has been undertaken without users’ knowledge or consent. The program, named LEVITATION, dates back to at least 2012, while Peter MacKay was the Defence Minister responsible for CSE. The news breaks as MacKay, now Justice Minister, prepares to announce new measures to undermine Canadians’ privacy in legislation expected to be unveiled on Friday.

“CSE is clearly spying on the private online activities of millions of innocent people, including Canadians, despite repeated government assurances to the contrary”, said communications manager David Christopher. “Law-abiding Internet users who use popular file hosting services are now finding themselves under the government’s microscope.”

Christopher continued: “Given that Canadian IP addresses are among the targets, this amounts to spying on the private information of innocent Canadians, at any time, without a warrant. This alarming development underlines the need for robust action to rein in CSE’s reckless and out of control spying activities. When will the government finally take responsibility and come clean to taxpayers about what’s being done in their name?”

The Intercept says the program is clear evidence that the “Canadian government has launched its own globe spanning Internet mass surveillance system.” Canada’s government has long denied that CSE spies on Canadians. In June 2013, over a year after the spying program exposed this morning went into effect, Peter MacKay reassured the House of Commons that CSE is “prohibited” from spying on Canadians. That same day he told the Toronto Star that “We don’t target Canadians, okay?”. At the time, MacKay was the minister responsible for authorizing CSE activities, which then included LEVIATHAN.

Today’s news is the latest in a long string of revelations about how CSE spying has grown secretive, expensive, and out-of-control. These include how CSE spied on innocent Canadian air travellers, facilitated a massive U.S. spy operation on Canadian soil, monitored important Canadian trading partners at the behest of the U.S. NSA, and even spied on the private communications of Brazil’s energy ministry.

More about CSE spying can be found in this PSA video and infographic OpenMedia put together with the help of privacy experts.

Canadians are speaking out by joining the Protect our Privacy Coalition, which now includes over 65 organizations and 40,000 Canadians from across the political spectrum. Canadians can join the coalition at


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