Canadians Must Stop Being Naive About Security and Understand We're All 'Foreigners' Somewhere

A few days ago Obama attempted to re-assure this fellow Americans that the US's secret surveillance programs didn't target US citizens or residents. The next day it was Canada's Defence Minister Peter MacKay's turn to say that Canada's secret data-collection program is not targeting Canadians saying, "Canada’s own secretive online and phone metadata surveillance program is 'prohibited' from looking at the information of Canadians and is directed at monitoring foreign threats." Next up,  British Foreign Secretary William Hague rejected suggestions that US surveillance programs were being used by UK authorities to avoid local privacy laws and spy on British citizens. The Germans and the Aussies also said their secret information gathering only focused on  foreign targets.

In this day and age of lawyer speak folks must listen carefully to these politician's answers. What does it matter if your private calls are 'screened' by a Canadian intelligence network, or by an American or British or German or Australian intelligence network? The politicians all refer to not getting/using info from a particular country, none say they don't get and use info from one of the other countries in their security web. All of the countries have admitted, even bragged, at other times that they are supplying the other governments with information. It's easy for MacKay to state that Canadians are not being spied on by 'our' intelligence networks, when the Americans, British, Germans or Australians can do the work for him, as they are not bound to any such privacy regulations when it to comes to 'foreign' citizen's conversations. We're all foreigners somewhere.

Canada's metadata collection program was initially brought in by the former Liberal government in 2005, but was later put on hiatus over concerns it could lead to warrant less surveillance of Canadians. Then the program was quietly reinstated on Nov. 21, 2011 after MacKay signed a ministerial directive, which is not subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

Canada has also loudly and proudly signed 'The Integrated Cross Border Law Enforcement Operations Act'. It's part of 'The Beyond The Border initiative' which is "intended to foster the sharing of intelligence and, among other measures, the deal aims to address threats at the earliest possible opportunity as well as build on cross-border law enforcement programs and enhance emergency and cyber infrastructure."  And there's the US's 'Cyber-Intelligence Sharing & Protection Act' (CISPA), which commits [Bill C-12] Canada to “real-time information sharing” between cyber-security operations on both sides of the border. So Canada, and the others, already have all the legislation in place that they need to legally and secretly farm out their domestic Internet spying and warrant-less wiretapping.

On another level, none of the data a Canadian stores on Facebook—their photos, check-ins, private messages, friends list, or event attendance records—is saved within Canada. This is all data that is living inside of American servers. For all intents and purposes, the Internet as we know it is American owned. There is no Canadian Facebook alternative. The same goes for Google, there is a Google.ca but everything is stored or mirrored on US servers which are subject to PRISM. Gmail, for instance, may be where you have banking info, your SIN number, intimate photos, or chat logs that describe whatever sketchy shit you’re up to these days. Again, all of that has been entrusted to an American corporation that is currently being monitored in semi-secrecy (the semi part is thanks to Edward Snowden) by the NSA.

Metadata is the information that frames a digital portrait of who a person is. This isn't new or is it rocket science. Corporations like Google and Facebook have become vastly wealthy using these exact methods to build a profile of each of us that they use to serve up ads for stuff we'll be interested in. Considering the amount of data that can be collected about a person through Gmail and Facebook alone, it wouldn’t be hard to build a criminal dossier on someone who, say, has coordinated a few weed transactions and traded some illegal links to streaming TV shows or album downloads using these services.

Every Canadian who thinks for a second that every thing they type, every call they make, isn't being recorded some place by one or more of the West's vast 'security' operations is being naive.