Saturday, February 01, 2014

CSEC : Spy vs. WiFi

So what exactly have we learned here from this 2012 CSEC pilot project that tracked wireless devices across airports, hotels, conference centres, coffee shops, and libraries, starting from a "single Canadian airport WiFi IP address" and "two weeks worth of IP-ID data" from a "Special Canadian Source", using ">300,000 active IDs over two weeks" in a "modest size city" as a control group?

1.  As Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, CSEC, and CSEC watchdog commissioner Plouffe have all now explained to us, CSEC wasn't "tracking" these Canadians because that would be illegal and our privacy is important to them.

2. If you haven't been issued a special decoder ring providing a CSECret definition of the words "tracking" and "metadata", whose fault is that?

3. If you are a hypothetical kidnapper from a rural area coming to the big city to make your three ransom phone calls - carefully spaced exactly 40 hours apart as seen in the nice CSEC powerpoint spreadsheet - at least try to blend in with the rest of the internet by forwarding some cat pictures around as well so your lone ransom calls don't stick out like a sore thumb.
If you don't much care for forwarding cat pictures, use a friggin' payphone.
Sat AM update : For those of you wondering what the fuck Calandra meant in the House yesterday when he called Glenn Greenwald, co-journalist on the CBC exposé, "a porn spy" - it's the Canadian nonsense version of "espionage pornographer", used two weeks ago by American Enterprise Institute's Marc Thiessen to describe whistleblower Edward Snowden.  
I guess the PMO thought Thiessen's version sounded too elitist.    h/t Techdirt
Sun AM update : Ryan Gallagher, one of the three journos on the original CBC piece, parses the CSEC and gov reaction. 
The always incisive Lux Ex Umbra looks at how we should interpret CSEC's mandate now. 
If, as CSEC seems to maintain, its collection of metadata is both legally within its mandate and likely to be upheld by the courts, then it would appear :
  1. there is no upper limit to collection of that data
  2. the section of its mandate referring to not directing its operations "at Canadians or any person in Canada" does not apply, and  
  3. given that part 3 of CSEC's mandate is to assist CSIS, the RCMP, CBSA, and other intelligence agencies, do those agencies require a separate warrant to access CSEC's metadata collection?

And a question of my own - Does this metadata automatically get shared with FiveEyes?
Or to put it more dramatically - is Skynet operational now?



West End Bob said...

Spy vs WiFi

Very clever, M'Lady . . . . ;-)

Alison said...

Bob : Hey, did you catch Calandra's characterization of Greenwald as "a porn spy" in the House yesterday?
He carefully read it off the bit of paper he gets every day from the PMO.
They didn't quite get it right though.
What Marc Thiessen of the American Enterprise Institute actually said in reference to Edward Snowden was "espionnage pornographer".
I guess the PMO thought that sounded too elitist.

h/t Techdirt

West End Bob said...

calandra, aka PMO, might have been referring to the brief business relationship Glenn's then consulting company had with a gay pornography company in 2002. The New York Daily News reported on the deal back in June. Not much to it for the average reader, but the PMO would jump on anything to deflect criticism from their own illegal actions, wouldn't they ? ? ? ?

deBeauxOs said...

"espionnage pornographer" are two MASSIVE words of 4 and 3 syllables, respectively.

It doesn't mean the same exact thing as "porn spy" - which Calandra may or may not know since all he does is spit out PMO speaking points.

But hey! 1 syllable each...

Alison said...

DBOs : Now looking forward to getting oodles of traffic from Google searches for porn ;-)

Bob : I do agree that's what Calandra was referring to when he launched a remarkably similar attack on Greenwald back in November, but the coincidence of using a dumbed-down version of Thiessen two weeks after he coined it would seem to confirm what RossK calls out as another example of Tea Partying within the PMO.

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