BCCLA Sues Canadian Government to Stop Illegal Spying
On October 22, 2013, the BCCLA filed a lawsuit against the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) claiming that its secret and unchecked surveillance of Canadians is unconstitutional.
The BCCLA’s lawsuit calls on the government to state clearly who they are watching, what is being collected and how they are handing Canadians’ private communications and information. The BCCLA filed the case because we believe that secret and unrestrained government surveillance presents a grave threat to democratic freedoms.
The BCCLA’s lawsuit is the first challenge to the legality of CSEC’s spying programs.
CSEC’s Operations Infringe Canadians’ Rights
The BCCLA’s lawsuit argues that two aspects of the CSEC’s operations violate the Charter’s protections against unreasonable search and seizure: the interception of the private communications of Canadians and the sweeping collection of metadata information produced by Canadians.
By law, CSEC is permitted to read Canadians’ emails and text messages, and listen to Canadians’ phone calls, whenever a Canadian is communicating with a person outside Canada. CSEC also operates under a secret ministerial directive that allows it to collect and analyze the metadata information that is automatically produced each and every time a Canadian uses a mobile phone or accesses the internet.
There is no court or committee that monitors the CSEC’s interception of these private communications and metadata information, and there is no judicial oversight of its sweeping powers. CSEC’s operations are shrouded in secrecy.
The BCCLA filed this lawsuit to force the government to enact specific safeguards to protect the rights of all Canadians.
- Read the BCCLA’s 2016 arguments about Canada’s secret evidence
- Read the 2013 Press Release (case filed)
- Read the 2014 Press Release (class action filed)
- Read the 2016 Press Release (Ottawa hearings)
- Read the Backgrounder
- Read the Notice of Claim
- Defendant’s Response to Civil Claim
Our lawsuit against CSEC is just one more important step to ensure that privacy matters – now and in the future.