Category Archives: Canada

Five Eyes, Nine Eyes & 14-Eyes Countries and VPNs Important to know when using (or planning to use) a VPN

The content herein is part of an article published in a VPN site where at the end of this short introduction there will be a link to take you to a lot more viewpoints & info. ENJOY.

This article will discuss available VPNs in relation to the 5 Eyes, the 9 Eyes and the 14 Eyes government surveillance alliances.

Encryption is the only way to protect private communications. While there are encrypted messaging systems that can be used for direct correspondence, virtual private networks (VPNs, also based on encryption) are the best tools for hiding internet activity, such as which websites are visited. Again, there are valid reasons to do so: to protect the privacy of religion, sexual orientation and sensitive medical conditions; all of which can be inferred from visited websites.

Background

During the second world war, US and UK intelligence agencies worked closely on code-breaking. After the war, the UK center at Bletchley Park evolved into the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). The American service evolved into the National Security Agency (NSA). In 1946, the working relationship between the two countries was formalized in the UKUSA agreement. It worked on signals intelligence (SIGINT); that is, the interception and analysis of adversarial telecommunications.

In order to provide global coverage for communications interception, Australia, New Zealand and Australia joined the UK and the USA – and became known as the Five Eyes.

However, such is the NSA’s global dominance of intelligence gathering, other countries have sought to cooperate in return for specific ‘threat’ information from the NSA. This has led to other SIGINT groupings: the 9 Eyes and the 14 Eyes.

The operation of these intelligence agencies was long kept secret. As global communications have increased – and as perceived threats have grown (first in the Cold War between east and west and more recently in the ‘war on terror’), the 5 Eyes in particular began to secretly use technology to gather everything for later analysis. GCHQ, for example, had a secret project called Mastering the Internet. None of this was publicly known.

In 2013, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked thousands of top secret NSA and GCHQ documents showing, for the first time, the extent to which national governments spy on everybody. It is always done in the name of ‘national security’, and both the relevant agencies and their governments insist on their right to do so.

MORE HERE

Henry Sapiecha

Snowden files show Canada spy agency operates global Internet watch: CBC

A sign is pictured outside the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) headquarters in Ottawa January 28, 2015. REUTERS-Chris Wattie

(Reuters) – Canada’s electronic spy agency has been intercepting and analyzing data on up to 15 million file downloads daily as part of a global surveillance program, according to a report published on Wednesday.

Critics said the revelations – made in 2012 documents obtained by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden – showed much more oversight was needed over the Communications Security Establishment, or CSE.

The documents are the first indication from the Snowden files to show Canada has launched its own massive, globe-spanning Internet surveillance in a bid to counter extremists.

The covert dragnet, nicknamed Levitation, has covered allied countries and trading partners such as the United States, Britain, Brazil, Germany, Spain and Portugal, the report by CBC News and journalist Glenn Greenwald said.

CBC said the CSE nets what it said the agency calls 350 “interesting download events” each month.

CSE is a secretive body, which like the U.S. National Security Agency, or NSA, monitors electronic communication and helps protect national computer networks. It is not allowed to target Canadians or Canadian corporations.

In the past, CSE has faced allegations that it has improperly intercepted Canadians’ phone conversations and emails. CSE says it has safeguards in place to protect any information about Canadians it might inadvertently collect.

An independent watchdog monitors CSE, but the watchdog’s powers are limited. Opposition parties moved in Parliament last October to give it a more robust role but were defeated by the governing Conservatives.

“We need to make sure there is proper public oversight of our national security agencies … we have very serious concerns about how this government is keeping Canadians safe,” said Justin Trudeau, leader of the opposition Liberal Party.

The Liberals lead most polls ahead of an October 2015 election.

Among CSE’s hauls, the eavesdropping program has discovered a German hostage video and an uploaded document that revealed the hostage strategy of an al-Qaeda wing in North Africa, the CBC said.

The agency did not confirm the report, saying in a statement that “CSE’s foreign signals intelligence has played a vital role in uncovering foreign-based extremists’ efforts to attract, radicalize, and train individuals to carry out attacks”.

The Snowden documents show the agency has sifted through 10 million to 15 million uploads a day of videos, music documents and other files hosted by 102 file-sharing websites.

Canada is part of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network, along with the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

In 2013, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff demanded an explanation from Canada after a media report, also based on Snowden documents, said CSE spied on the South American country’s mines and energy ministry.

Wesley Wark, one of Canada’s top security experts, said Levitation might well be covered by CSE’s foreign intelligence mandate, but questioned its effectiveness.

“Does this massive trawling of free download sites aimed at detecting terrorist communications or identities really deliver useful intelligence?” asked Wark, a University of Ottawa professor, noting CSE had talked of only two successes.

In November 2013, the CBC cited other Snowden documents that it said showed Canada had allowed the NSA to conduct widespread surveillance during the 2010 Group of 20 summit in Toronto.

Last August, the government watchdog said CSE should tighten its procedures for handling the private calls and emails it intercepts.

OOO

Henry Sapiecha