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HOUSE OF COMMONS CHAMBRE DES COMMUNES August 6, 2014 Hon. Robert Nicholson, P.C., M.P. Minister

HOUSE OF COMMONS CHAMBRE DES COMMUNES

August 6, 2014

Hon. Robert Nicholson, P.C., M.P. Minister of National Defence House of Commons Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Dear Minister,

It is with great concern that we learn through media reports of the Communications and Security Establishment of Canada’s (CSEC) refusal to disclose how long it retains Canadian citizens’ personal data. This lack of transparency is yet another alarming example of Canada’s intelligence and security institutions encroaching on citizens’ private information, and it is cause for deep concern.

Other jurisdictions, including the United States and New Zealand, have long been forthright with their domestic data retention policies. Canadian citizens have the right to know the retention policies surrounding the collection of their private communications acquired without their consent.

We would note that these are not the first or the only problems that have recently been associated with CSEC. For example, I have previously referred to the 2012-2013 Annual Report of the CSE Commissioner whose mandate is to provide oversight of CSEC. On page 20 of that report, the Commissioner stated the following with respect to the issue of CSEC operating within the law:

"I had no concern with respect to the majority of the CSEC activities. However, a small

number of records suggested the possibility that some activities may have been directed at

Canadians, contrary to law [

compliance or non-compliance with the law." This only reinforces what the Liberal Party has been calling for in the House of Commons namely new mechanisms by which CSEC and all federal intelligence and security agencies could be effectively monitored. We are specifically referring to two pieces of legislation tabled in the House of Commons by our Party which would create a committee of Parliamentarians to provide critical oversight of Canada’s intelligence and security

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I was unable to reach a definitive conclusion about

apparatus, would strengthen protection of Canadians’ personal communications, including their metadata, and establishes clear timelines for how long that data can be retained.

What is concerning is that the Minister of National Defence has denied this in the House of Commons, claiming that, “all CSEC activities were authorized and carried out in accordance with the law.”

As recently as July 31st we have seen reports that CSEC, in its efforts to combat serious cyber threats, has once again been found to intercept the private information of Canadians without the acquisition of judicial warrants. Recent reports of unsupervised retention of Canadians’ personal data by CSEC suggest the need for additional and more robust oversight.

The federal government must be forthcoming with our citizens in regards to their right to privacy. It is imperative that the both the government and the Minister of National Defence come clean about how long it retains Canadians’ personal and private communications. It is a Canadian’s right to know.

Sincerely,

It is a Canadian’s right to know. Sincerely, Wayne Easter Liberal Party Critic for Public Safety

Wayne Easter Liberal Party Critic for Public Safety

Sincerely, Wayne Easter Liberal Party Critic for Public Safety Joyce Murray Liberal Party Critic for National

Joyce Murray Liberal Party Critic for National Defence