A recent report shows the Conservative Government has been collecting metadata from monitoring phone calls and online activity since 2011.
The spying program was initially proposed by the Liberals in 2005 but was put to the side because of concerns it could lead to warrant-less surveillance of Canadians.
Defense Minister Peter MacKay reinstated the program on November 21, 2011, after he signed a ministerial directive to avoid scrutiny in the House of Commons.
Under the Anti-Terrorism Act, Communications Security Establishment Canada, an arm of the Defense ministry, is the only agency that can eavesdrop on people's lives. It is believed the agency is used to monitor people both domestically and internationally. If MacKay shows up to Question Period, he can expect a number of questions on the matter, including who had access to the information and what it is being used for.
CSEC can look up email threads, IP addresses and phone connections and is aimed at thwarting criminal activity and terrorist organizations. The issue is these messages are off limits without a warrant.
The United States implemented a similar program, but rather than focusing on metadata it focuses on actual communications. Americans are angry with their government - with good reason - and the CIA operative who leaked the information is in refuge and warranted for arrest.
The American program can access Google and Facebook and security experts warn that Canadians using these communications platforms should be aware that they could also be under surveillance.
This news comes long after both the American and Canadian governments tried to pass legislation that would make it legal for the government to spy on individuals and fine or arrest people responsible for criminal activity online without a warrant. Canada's C-30 and US's SOPA both failed to see the light of day and faced blunt scrutiny from companies and people alike who saw it as an infringement on their rights and liberties.
Let us not forget that Public Safety Minister Vic Toews didn't like it when his private life was exposed on a silver platter and that he was the head of the charge against civil liberties, accusing those who opposed him as being for child pornographers. It just goes to show the true victors of the war on terror are the terrorists themselves.
So what do you think of the surveillance program? Is it a means to keep us protected or another ploy of big government to get Big Brother through the front door? Share this article and join the discussion and let us know what you think: Facebook, Twitter, Google+.