It took a question from the House of Commons from the Conservative Party to shed light on a controversial practice many suspect: the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is using spyware in the context of some investigations.
Published at 5:00 am.
Not since yesterday. From five years. Very, very secretly.
This revelation, published in our Wednesday issue by Politico and my colleague Melanie Marquis at the end of June, should wake us all up. Two nights rather than one.
Do you think I’m exaggerating?
Spy on everything going on in the target’s phone or computer, spy on conversations, read emails, remotely operate camera and recorder, this software wreaks havoc across the planet.
In July 2021, a major investigation by 17 media outlets in 10 countries found politicians, journalists and human rights defenders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, on the list of potential targets for the software. By Israeli company NSO. The survey pointed to countries with less than stellar human rights records: Saudi Arabia, Morocco, India, Hungary, to name a few.
All winter long, the Musée d’Art Contemporaine de Montréal presented a disturbing exhibition. Contagion of Terrorism, which mapped the use of Pegasus software and gave voice to its victims – all from civil society – or their survivors. Yes, some died, under suspicious circumstances, as we learned in this Punch Museum.
A number of organizations, including Amnesty International, have launched campaigns calling for a ban on these nasty regulatory technologies.
Meanwhile, it’s clear that authoritarian countries aren’t the only ones braving this technology that can turn your phone into a super pocket spy anywhere in the world.
Talk to the President of Catalonia, Pere Aragones. On Wednesday, the sovereign politician filed a complaint against the former director of Spain’s intelligence services and the NSO group after spying on the use of Pegasus in 2020. He was then appointed as the Vice President of the same region.
An investigation by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, known worldwide for its expertise in malware detection, revealed in April that the smartphones of 67 politicians — most of them Catalan separatists — had been targeted or infected by the Pegasus or Candiru software.
Since then, the Spanish government has recognized that at least 18 politicians have been subject to this type of surveillance with the approval of justice.
A real attack on democracy. With the approval of the Judiciary. Nothing less.
It is in this chaotic context that we learn that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is also using this type of software.
which one Mystery and gumdrop. In his response to reporters who inquired about it, he did not divulge this information.
The RCMP says it uses the technology sparingly when investigating serious crimes or national security. She does it with the approval of a judge.
However, it is not appropriate for the RCMP to inform the Privacy Commissioner, whose mandate is to study this type of practice. Given the controversy surrounding these new technologies, this is a regrettable, even worrisome, “oversight.”
And, as the Conservatives pointed out, this surveillance is also worrying members of parliament in Ottawa, who cannot discuss the use of this software and the guidelines that should be imposed. Both the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).
We don’t know if the Canadian secret services use these same spy tools. On Wednesday, Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino’s office said the information was not available.
We can say that there is a lot of gray area in an issue that directly affects our rights and freedoms. Our right to privacy. That is simply unacceptable.
It is time to subject this unlimited digital spy to true democratic scrutiny.
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