OTTAWA, Ontario – Every day, Canada’s electronic spy agency examines tens of millions of electronic documents and videos — and some of the people who downloaded them — as part of an anti-terrorism effort involving the U.S. and other allies, a document leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden indicates.
The project, to detect possible extremists by monitoring visits to sites commonly used to download music, film and television series, was outlined in a top secret PowerPoint presentation document made by the surveillance agency, the Communications Security Establishment Canada, in 2012.
The presentation to the Communications Security Establishment Canada indicated that the agency looks at 10 million to 15 million uploads a day from 102 file-sharing sites and finds about 350 a month that might point to extremists.
Those include bomb-making instructions and “pictures of cars on fire.” The system also captures much unrelated material. One slide was titled “Filtering out ‘Glee’ Episodes.”
A software analysis produces a list of suspects. Systems operated by U.S. and British electronic surveillance agencies are then used to link them to Internet addresses, e-mail and Facebook accounts.
The document listed two “successes.” It said the system had produced “a German hostage video from a previously unknown target” and the “hostage strategy” of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, a terrorist group in North Africa.
The Communications Security Establishment Canada would not confirm or deny that the project exists.
New York Times