Spying Agency Oversight: Looking at New Power

by JRajotte on April 27, 2015 - 11:13pm

The Canadian Communications Security Establishment (CSE) is one of Canada’s biggest spying agency. This agency operates in a 1 billion dollar building with a 500 million dollar annual budget. According to the article “Review body for Canada’s electronic spy agency warns it can’t keep up” published by Alex Boutilier on April 1, 2015 on TheStar news website. According to the article the review agencies monitoring Canada’s spying agency claims that they cannot properly monitor the agency, due to considerable delays in obtaining the information they require, but also due to the fact that CSE is growing fast and they simply cannot monitor all of the 2000 employees of the CSE. It is to be kept in mind that only 11 individual have the task of monitoring this expansive network of multiple intelligence agency. Eight of the eleven inspectors or overseers are tasked with monitoring the work of the CSE. While other agencies such as the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) has another system of oversight which is in charge of oversight.  The main question to be asked is whether or not the government is taking adequate steps to protecting its citizen. As the article stated, the overseers themselves are complaining about the lack of resources that are made available to them and the important delays on obtaining information. However this situation could be solved using this new global phenomenon called NewPower.


What is New Power?

New power is the ability to gather the general public in a way that promotes social change. IN this social wave, the general public holds the power contrary to old power (policy makers). This phenomenon is further developed through the use of technology to organise and reach massive amounts of people.


How does this connect to the intelligence agencies?


The use of New power could be applied to this situation. The citizens of Canada and other countries could organize protest movement such as was seen a few year ago with Occupy Wallstreet. In this case massive mobilization of people could occur through social media in order to request that the government alter the functioning of the Canadian Spying agencies in order to make them more transparent and accountable to its citizen.