Canada's cyberspy agency may have broken privacy law, intelligence watchdog says

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OTTAWA — The national intelligence watchdog says Canada's cyberspy agency may have broken the law in disclosing personal information about Canadians.

The Ottawa-based Communications Security Establishment, given its foreign-intelligence mandate, suppresses details that identify Canadians in its reports.

However, other federal agencies and foreign partners who receive these reports can ask for details of the information if they have legal authority and proper justification.

The National Security and Intelligence Review Agency looked at 2,351 disclosures of information about Canadians over a five-year period and found that more than one-quarter were not sufficiently justified.

Even so, during the review period the CSE approved 99 per cent of such requests from domestic clients.

Given this and other findings related to the cyberspy agency's internal practices, the review agency found that the CSE's implementation of its disclosure regime may not be in compliance with Privacy Act.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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