For years it has been suggested that Governments across the world have been monitoring what we are downloading from the web. But it looks like in Canada they have finally got the proof.
CBC news have revealed their own evidence which shows that Canada’s leading surveillance agency, the CSE (Communications Security Establishment) are targeting more than 15 million downloads a day to see what online users are looking at and what files they are storing.
All In The Name of Security
In top secret documents that have been uncovered, the reason for such an intrusion in privacy has once again been blamed on the terrorist threat, stating that their monitoring systems have been set up to identify extremists and their actions, yet such systems have never actually led to the capture of any terrorist.
Instead this investigation looks into music files, videos, photographs, Facebook and Google accounts, tracking IP addresses to reveal the names and locations of anyone they wish to monitor.
Using the code name Levitation, it was files leaked by Edward Snowden that first drew the attention to this practice, which uses access to popular file share platforms such as RapidShare and SendSpace to identify the online habits of millions of people without the knowledge of the users or the permission of the sites themselves.
And though this is run by the equivalent of the NSA in Canada, legally the CSE cannot monitor people in Canada, (although two of the IP addresses monitored did come from Montreal) instead files are logged from users in the UK, United States, Spain, Brazil, Germany and Portugal.
The Giant X-Ray Machine Over All Our Digital Lives
As CitizenLab Director Ron Deibert has stated, such intrusion into the lives of the general public is like having a ‘Giant X-Ray machine over all our digital lives’. But this expose couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Canadian Government.
Just this week, they have been petitioning for even greater access to online user information, following the lead of President Obama in the US, but it looks like they already have more power than anyone thought possible.
So What Does this Mean for Online Security?
Until there is fundamental proof that Governments across the world have stopped hacking into the online activities of genuine, private individuals, it is up to the user to protect themselves.
Every time you go online, especially on file sharing sites, your activity can be tracked, traced and logged. And if you do not want this to happen, then only you can stop it.
Make sure every time you go online you use a facility such as EasyHide VPN to hide your IP address and ensure your online activity cannot be traced.
It doesn’t matter where you are or how you log in, if you are using a high quality VPN service, your data will be protected and your activities cannot be monitored.
Our right to privacy is fundamental, but it seems that the Canadian Government have now proven what we have all been thinking. Privacy is a right that is being taken away from us. And only if we act fast, can we take it back.