Privacy experts disagree with the RCMP that spyware is like eavesdropping.

A former senior intelligence officer for the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency says it has been monitoring politicians at the federal, provincial and local levels due to concerns that they are being paid by foreign governments.

Michel Junod Katsuya said in French to a House committee that foreign agencies are trying to recruit elected officials, but they may not be aware they are being targeted. Told.

The revelation raised eyebrows among members of the committee investigating the RCMP’s use of spyware.

Juno Katsuya also said Canadian government agencies are likely using spyware to hack into people’s cell phones without their knowledge.

Conservative MP Ryan Williams asked if he was aware of groups such as CSIS, the Canadian Border Services Agency, and the Communications Security Agency using spyware.

“Other agencies are using it, probably,” Juno Katsuya said.

Juno Katsuya is one of several experts who told the Ethics Committee on Tuesday that the government needs to review and update parts of the criminal code related to electronic surveillance to keep pace with evolving technology.

Privacy experts say police and government use of “highly intrusive” spyware must be tightly controlled, and the technology should be outlawed for the general public in Canada. .

The director of the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab said spyware is “like eavesdropping on steroids” and requires much higher thresholds for more monitoring and use.

“(Mobile phones) are designed by their manufacturers to be as invasive as possible. They are designed to track every aspect of our lives, as are the apps they contain. So this is a treasure trove of information,” said Ron Deibert.

A senior RCMP official told the commission on Monday that although the technology is new, privacy violations on digital devices have been practiced by police for years through wiretapping and the installation of surveillance cameras. said they were similar.

But experts who spoke to the committee on Tuesday said that was not the case, highlighting concerns for the industry as a whole.

Deibert wants the government to hold public hearings on spyware, consult the public to create a legal framework around it, establish export controls on Canadian companies, and impose penalties on companies that contribute to human rights abuses. made seven recommendations to the Commission, including the imposition of

He also said spyware companies were targeting local and state police as potential clients, and warned that scrutiny at those levels would not be as rigorous.

“We are really sleeping driving the threat posed by the global mercenary spyware industry.”

Brenda McPhail, Privacy, Surveillance and Technology Project Director at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said police use of spyware encourages law enforcement to exploit software problems instead of reporting and fixing them. It says it does.

She called for a moratorium on the use of surveillance technology until a public debate could take place.

Former Privacy Commissioner Daniel Terrien told the commission early Tuesday that he had no idea the RCMP had been using what it called an “on-device survey tool” for more than a decade.

“With so much public debate about the encryption conundrum[in policing]when I was the Privacy Commissioner, I was told tools were used to overcome encryption. It was amazing that there weren’t,” he said.

During his 2014-2022 term, Terrien called on Congress to strengthen Canada’s privacy laws. In particular, he said privacy needs to be recognized as a basic human right under the law.

Sharon Polsky, president of Canada’s Privacy and Access Council, has called for spyware to be outlawed, except in certain cases, when approved by an independent third party.

“It’s commercially available to anyone with an internet connection who wants to download it,” she said, noting that spyware has been used by human traffickers and intimate partner abusers.

“No one talks about how spyware can take advantage of shortcomings and flaws in many software programs. Software should be properly tested to minimize opportunities.”

Therrien agreed that the technology could be legally used by law enforcement when there is a very compelling public interest, such as in the case of serious crimes.

“If the collection of information is permitted by law, such a level of intrusion is still legal, may be consistent with privacy principles, is necessary, and may be construed as persuasive by the government. It’s proportionate to the achievement of the objective,” said Therrien.

But he also said he sees no compelling reason to allow anyone in the private sector to use it.

New federal privacy commissioner Philippe Dufresne told the commission on Monday that The Mountie did not notify his office before it began using the spyware, and that he learned about it through the media.

He urged lawmakers to change privacy laws that require government departments and organizations to initiate privacy impact assessments when new technologies are introduced that may affect fundamental rights to privacy. I’m looking for

Sarah Richie, Canadian Press

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Privacy experts disagree with the RCMP that spyware is like eavesdropping.

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