RCMP Spyware: Day 2 of House Committee Hearings on Tuesday


The director of the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab says the spyware is “like a sniffer on steroids,” and it requires much more monitoring and a much higher threshold of use than traditional wiretaps. .

Ron Diebert will speak to the House ethics committee as part of an investigation into the RCMP’s use of spyware in 32 investigations over the past five years.

In prepared remarks provided to the Canadian Press, Diebert said that what he called the “spyware industry for hire” was poorly regulated and involved in widespread abuses.

He said the industry is a threat to civil society, human rights and democracy and that governments should be transparent about procuring this technology.

Yesterday, senior officials told the committee that the RCMP does not use the controversial Pegasus spyware, but declined to disclose details of the technology it is using, citing security concerns. nation.

The RCMP also said that while the technology is new, the invasion of privacy on a digital device is similar to what police have done for years through wiretapping and installing surveillance cameras.

Federal privacy commissioner Philippe Dufresne told the committee that Mounties had not informed his office before he started using the technology and that he had learned about it through the media.

He urged MPs to make changes to the privacy law requiring government agencies and organizations to conduct privacy impact assessments whenever new technology is introduced that could have an impact. affects the “fundamental right to privacy”.

Dufresne’s predecessor Daniel Therrien will also appear before the committee today, along with the president of Canada’s Access and Privacy Council.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on August 9, 2022.

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