Canada has been rather shielded from the digital surveillance debate going on around the globe right now. Not anymore, now that a report suggests that Canadian spy agency used airport Wi-Fi to spy on passengers.
Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) is the electronic spy agency of the country. In a recent report by CBC News, CESC apparently collected data from free airport Wi-Fi for a period of two weeks. The report doesn’t reveal the exact nature of the data that was collected although the best estimate is that it was the metadata of devices.
Such metadata can be used to ‘track the wireless devices of thousands of ordinary airline passengers for days after they left the terminal’, says the CBC report. This claim comes in stark contrast with CESC Chief John Forster’s previous statement which said that CSEC does not ‘target Canadians at home or abroad in our foreign intelligence activities, nor do we target anyone in Canada.’
The CBC News has made many headlines but the report doesn’t present any significant details linked to the claim. Moreover, being able to track a passenger for many days after he or she has left the airport, is a tricky thing from a technical view-point. It’s possible that the agency was able to identify devices and then track them as they connected with other Wi-Fi hotspots at other places. But then, the agency will need access to the data from these other Wi-Fi hotspots as well.
CBC News report further says that the two-week spying was a trial for a software that CSEC was building in collaboration with NSA. The software, the report claims, is fully operational now. It remains to be seen how CSEC and NSA respond to this fresh spate of allegations, given that most of the recent allegations against spy agencies have turned out to be unexpectedly true.
Source: CBC News
Courtesy: The Verge