The 'top secret' surveillance directives
In 2013, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association sued the federal government, alleging that a Canadian spy agency’s indiscriminate surveillance violated citizens’ constitutional rights against illegal search and seizure.
While that allegation is unproven, the BCCLA has been forcing into the public domain disclosures from Communications Security Establishment, the highly secretive “signals intelligence” agency conducting such surveillance. But now, the federal government is fighting to move the case behind closed doors.
To get a sense of what’s at stake, swipe back and forth on the following document, known as the CSE “metadata ministerial directive.”
This 2011 executive order effectively gave a legal green light to CSE surveillance. The version on the left is what was released to The Globe following an Access to Information request. The version on right is a much more illuminating document, disclosed in court filings as part of the BCCLA lawsuit.