Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expressing concerns today about allegations that Canada has been spying on Brazil’s Mine and Energy Ministry.
As we reported yesterday, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff demanded an explanation after a Brazilian TV report revealed that Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) was using software to follow the Brazilian ministry’s emails and phone calls.
We now know that CSEC, along with the Americans’ National Security Agency (NSA), is part of something called the Five Eyes. This secretive group includes Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. (In fact, the group is so secretive the Australian prime minister didn’t even know it existed until 1973.) These countries share intelligence with each other. We’re guessing they’re called the “Eyes” because they are watching down over us. We’re not sure if it is related to the Eye of Providence, but other outlets have made the connection.
Intelligence sharing began during the Second World War, when the U.S. and the U.K. signed an agreement regarding the handling of classified information. They later invited the other three countries to join.
Apparently almost nothing was known about the group until 1999, when politicians began asking questions. Today, the group is able to listen to every phone call and read every email in the world. Even Facebook entries and an individual’s web history can be monitored
The countries divide the world into areas, and monitor what’s happening. Here’s how it breaks down
Canada: Northern former USSR, Central and South America to track drugs and paramilitary groups
Australia: Indochina, Indonesia and southern China
New Zealand: western Pacific,
U.K.: Europe, Africa, European Russia
U.S. Latin America, Asia, Asiatic Russia, northern China
Now this obviously begs a question: Can another Five Eyes country watch someone in Canada, or can Canada request intelligence from another group member? The Department of National Defence writes “CSEC is prohibited by law from directing its activities at any person in Canada or Canadians anywhere, and cannot ask its international partners, including the Five Eyes allies, to act in ways that circumvent this legal restriction.”
It goes on to say each country can collect intelligence in accordance with their own laws, can’t target one another, and CSEC doesn’t pursue communications gathered by others. This answer may have you feeling a bit better about the fact every email may be read, but the answer doesn’t deny CSEC accepts communications about Canadians sent by Five Eyes allies.
Here is an explainer by Truthloader