Canada spy agency stops sharing intelligence with international parters

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Canada’s ultra-secret eavesdropping agency has stopped sharing intelligence with international partners after revealing it had illegally collected Canadians’ metadata in sweeps of foreign communications.

In a report to parliament, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) said on Thursday the breach was unintentional and had been discovered internally in 2013.

A CSE official blamed a software flaw that resulted in sharing of metadata, used to identify, manage or route communications over networks that could identify Canadians.

The agency said the likelihood of this leading to any abuses was “low”.

But as a precaution, the CSE suspended its sharing of metadata with its Five Eyes intelligence partners – Australia, Britain, New Zealand and the United States – until it finds a fix to the problem.

Canadian defense minister Harjit Sajjan said he was satisfied that any data that had already been shared with the intelligence alliance before the software glitch was discovered “did not contain names or enough information on its own to identify individuals”.

He also said he accepted an investigation’s conclusion that the breach of Canadian privacy and national security laws was “unintentional”.

It was unclear what, if any, impact the metadata sharing stoppage has had on Five Eyes intelligence gathering.

Public safety minister Ralph Goodale said Canada’s allies have been “very supportive” while the CSE told AFP it continues to have “strong and collaborative relationships” with its allies..

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