Snowden documents say Canadian intelligence agency uses airport WiFi to track passengers

By on January 31, 2014, 5:30 PM
nsa, wifi, airport, spying, canadian intelligence, csec, john forster

While Edward Snowden has told the media he has no further documentation regarding NSA and other government spying, new revelations from documents he has turned over are continuing to surface. Recent news from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) says information obtained from Snowden points at the Canadian intelligence service tapping free WiFi networks in the airport to keep an eye on citizens.

Reports say the Canadian intelligence agency, known as Communications Security Establishment Canada or CSEC, claims the data gathering in question only consisted of metadata. The agency said it included details of who users call and when, along with which websites they hit, not the actual content of a particular communication.

While CBC is yet to actually publish the documents these reports are sourcing, it does suggest they don't necessarily paint a complete picture of the operation as a whole. What we do know is that CSEC was able to track the mobile devices of thousands of airline passengers through the free WiFi network at a currently unknown Canadian airport for days after leaving the terminal. Reports say the continued tracking outside of the terminal could have been done through users accessing other public WiFi spots.

The documents also suggest that agents were quite excited about the technology describing it as "game changing," and that it is part of a passenger tracking operation being run in conjunction with other groups including the NSA. The sources say it has been rolled out on a larger scale at this point.

There is also evidence of another Canadian spying project that sounds like some sort of operation to prototype tracking technology. CSEC “obtained access to two communications systems with more than 300,000 users, and was then able to ‘sweep’ an entire mid-sized Canadian city to pinpoint a specific imaginary target in a fictional kidnapping,” according to the CBC.

CSEC head John Forster expectedly denies all claims regarding the organization spying on citizens, while pointing out the legal issues: "I can tell you that we do not target Canadians at home or abroad in our foreign intelligence activities, nor do we target anyone in Canada...In fact, it's prohibited by law. Protecting the privacy of Canadians is our most important principle."

(Image via Shutterstock)




User Comments: 13

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Guest said:

Snowed-In is sooo yesterday. zzzzzzz

1 person liked this | Raoul Duke Raoul Duke said:

Snowed-In is sooo yesterday. zzzzzzz

Not only is he 'today', it is happening 'right fffing now'

You work for the GCHQ, NSA or government? Want it all to disappear from the media?

May we never forget and actually force our governments to change.

1 person liked this | SirChocula said:

Snowed-In is sooo yesterday. zzzzzzz

People like you is what is wrong with the governments of countries today with spying; not caring and being complacent when everyone's freedom (including yours) is slowly being taken away. GG

1 person liked this | Guest said:

"Snowed-In is sooo yesterday. zzzzzzz"

...people who comments like this either this guy is soo yesterday or just plain ignorant about their freedom get robbed

1 person liked this | Nima304 said:

Snowed-In is sooo yesterday. zzzzzzz

I absolutely despise people like you; people that don't give a rat's ass which of their rights are taken away, until it starts to affect them. We either stand united against our governments, or we fall alone, one at a time.

Lurker101 said:

This is quite significant news in my book. Until I'd read the article, I didn't even know Canada had an intelligence agency.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

I really like the 'we're only collecting meta-data so we can't identify you' vs. the 'we can track a specific target amongst 300,000'

yea, trust us.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

What gets me is if you are foreign, least the government can do is ask if they can track your activities and deny anyone that says no. But in my opinion tracking foreign people in not their only goal, which is why they don't ask.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Snowed-In is sooo yesterday. zzzzzzz

I absolutely despise people like you; people that don't give a rat's ass which of their rights are taken away, until it starts to affect them. We either stand united against our governments, or we fall alone, one at a time.

Snowed-In is sooo yesterday. zzzzzzz

People like you is what is wrong with the governments of countries today with spying; not caring and being complacent when everyone's freedom (including yours) is slowly being taken away. GG

Do you know what the phrase "People Like You" means? It means you've taking one idea, judged that person completely on it and grouped them in everyone else who disagrees with you. It's one of those phrases you have to avoid if you want people to pay attention to whatever else it is you have to say.

By the way. Warning us that the govt is infringing on our rights is rather misplaced this time around because this story is about Canada. Canadians are too busy being upset at their government for their open door policy on immigration and free healthcare to be worried about airport wi-fi.

Oh, and in case you haven't flown lately, they make you show ID now, so being tracked by wi-fi is rather pointless.

Guest said:

That's why I secure my public Wi-Fi network with VPN.

cmbjive said:

Yes, Snowden has done the entire world a favor. I can't wait until the documents released shows Russia's intelligence capabilities. Oh wait, maybe Russia remembered to take those documents out before they granted asylum in their country.

Guest said:

All of you freedom fighters out there who think that Snowed-In is still relevant and that he is actually helping your 'cause' - what have you actually done to further your freedom? Used TOR? LoL, you really give me a chuckle.

Thanks for taking the bait, and for thinking I'm a Fed. Double the LoL!

Guest said:

"All of you freedom fighters out there who think that Snowed-In is still relevant and that he is actually helping your 'cause' - what have you actually done to further your freedom? Used TOR? LoL, you really give me a chuckle. Thanks for taking the bait, and for thinking I'm a Fed. Double the LoL!"

..see? What I told you before, people who comments like this either this guy is soo yesterday or just plain ignorant about their freedom get robbed.. Don't worry, I do this on purpose taking the bait just to point out that my opinion is right, and you're that proof...

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