OTTAWA Aug 20 Canada's electronic spy agency
should tighten up its procedures for handling the private calls
and emails it intercepts, and clarify how it expects the United
States and other allies to use such material, a government
watchdog said on Wednesday.
The report by Commissioner Jean-Pierre Plouffe, a retired
judge, examined the work of Communications Security
Establishment Canada (CSEC), a secretive body that like the U.S.
National Security Agency (NSA) monitors electronic communication
and helps protect national computer networks.
CSEC has run into repeated criticism over allegations that
it has improperly intercepted Canadians' calls or emails, and
that it had given too free a rein to the NSA as part of the Five
Eyes intelligence sharing network that also includes Britain,
New Zealand and Australia.
"My review did not reveal any systemic deficiencies or
issues that require follow-up review," he wrote in the report.
However, he made a number of recommendations to try to
protect the of privacy of Canadians.
If CSEC targets a potentially threatening group outside
Canada, it might intercept calls or emails made to a person in
the country. Plouffe recommended that they be swiftly marked
either for deletion or essential to national security.
If they are deemed essential, they should each be reexamined
every quarter to verify they are still required.
The government should also issue a directive to CSEC on
information sharing with its Five Eyes partners that sets out
how the privacy of Canadians should be protected, he added.
CSEC itself should "promulgate guidance to formalize and
strengthen practices for addressing potential privacy concerns"
involving the Five Eye partners.
(Reporting by Randall Palmer.; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and