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Canada's border agency enlisting informants, prompts internal review

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney on September 12, 2013 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
January 15, 2014 - 1:38 PM

OTTAWA - Newly released documents show Canada's border agency is enlisting confidential informants, prompting internal concerns about the privacy risk to sensitive institutions such as churches, schools and Parliament.

Briefing notes obtained under the Access to Information Act say the Canada Border Services Agency uses confidential human sources willing to provide valuable details about the suspicious movement of people or goods.

The notes say while reliance on informants is a widely accepted investigative technique, it has privacy implications and can intrude upon fundamental areas of Canadian life.

The documents add that internal border agency reviews conducted in 2012 led to proposed policy changes to address the risks.

The border agency planned to clarify management oversight, approval, auditing and reporting.

University of Ottawa intelligence expert Wesley Wark says the agency should not running a human source program on its own — especially without proper outside scrutiny — given the delicate nature of such activities.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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