Spy agency's airport data gathering aimed at countering kidnappers: document - InfoNews

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Spy agency's airport data gathering aimed at countering kidnappers: document

January 31, 2014 - 9:32 AM

OTTAWA - Newly disclosed documents suggest an effort by Canada's electronic eavesdropping agency to track the wireless devices of travellers at airports was aimed at locating kidnappers and terrorists.

The Communications Security Establishment Canada slide presentation published by CBC says information was taken from wireless devices using an unidentified Canadian airport's free Wi-Fi system over a two-week period.

The presentation indicates the project — which involved Canada's Five Eyes intelligence partners — would help security officials zero in on a kidnapper based in a rural area who travelled to a city to make ransom calls.

CSEC monitors foreign computer, satellite, radio and telephone traffic of people, states, organizations and terrorist groups for information of intelligence interest to Canada.

Edward Snowden, who once worked for CSEC's American counterpart, gave the document to Brazil-based journalist Glenn Greenwald, who collaborated with CBC.

In the House of Commons, Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, who is responsible for CSEC, said the eavesdropping service made it clear to CBC that Canadian communications were not targeted, collected or used, nor were travellers' movements being tracked.

The watchdog over CSEC has consistently said the agency respects the law and the privacy of Canadians, Nicholson added.

Material disclosed by Snowden last year indicated that Canada helped the United States and Britain spy on participants at the London G20 summit in 2009. Other documents from Snowden's cache suggested CSEC once monitored Brazil's department of mines and energy.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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