Snowden documents say Canadian intelligence agency uses airport WiFi to track passengersBy Justin Kahn 13 comments
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."
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