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Canadians unwilling to sacrifice privacy for information sharing: poll data

Canadians are unenthusiastic about empowering federal agencies to share information in the name of national security if it comes at the cost of privacy rights, Global News obtains. The document suggests.

The central branch of government, the Privy Council (PCO), recently discussed the balance between privacy rights and the agency's ability to share information with partners to address national security threats. , surveyed Canadians.

READ MORE: Former Canadian privacy watchdog 'surprised' by RCMP spyware program

PCO would accept respondents "greater authority to share information" to address national security threats.

According to poll data obtained by Global News under the Access to Information Act, respondents 1 in 2 Canadians were not, about 1 in 10 Canadians were skeptical, and only 1 in 3 thought it was a good idea.

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Both CSIS and its sister agency Communications Security Establishment (CSE) We have repeatedly warned of the threat. This pandemic targets health research, critical industries, and people working from home in less secure networks.

While the suspicion that more information is being shared is clear, the new powers national security agencies may be seeking are darker.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) told Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino in October 2021 that the inability to share information with "non-federal stakeholders" hindered their work. Said it was.

"CSIS may not provide sensitive information to threat activity targets, such as private sector organizations, academia, civil society groups, state and local authorities," CSIS said. David Vigneault, director of Global, wrote in a letter to Mendicino seen by Global. news.

READ MORE: Canada ``unprepared'' for growing national security threat, former official says

It was more difficult for these groups to mitigate these threats, as the service suggested. I repeated these lines in response to a question from It also noted playing an "increasing public role" during the COVID-19 pandemic and "raising awareness of espionage and foreign interference activities directed against the private sector."

CSIS also said it could provide non-governmental organizations with a "comprehensive, neutralized threat overview."

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CSEs in particular have been wary of potential cyber security breaches since lockdowns began in March 2020.

``The CSE's current legislative and policy framework contains information to protect Canada and Canadians from complex and evolving threats. It includes sharing provisions," CSE spokesman Evan Koronewski wrote in a statement to Global.

His PCO, the unit that commissioned the poll, did not respond to questions from Global News at the time of writing.

READ MORE: CSIS finds "unprecedented" increase in violent online rhetoric during COVID

Global News uses the Federal Access to Information Act to review these weekly internal PCO poll databases.

Data collected by the PCO poll program are regularly circulated among the highest-ranking decision-makers within the offices of all ministers and deputy ministers, as well as the Prime Minister's Office.

A weekly poll program initiated by the Trudeau administration in 2015 is used to make important decisions such as what should be included in the budget or how best to respond to events. to generate data for use by the Cabinet and others.

The raw poll data obtained by Global News does not provide detailed information on the pollster's methodology or margins of error, but the poll samples 1,000 opinions each week and Researchers collect demographic data (language, region, gender, age, etc.) to ensure that the data is representative of the actual demographic composition of the country. Data is collected using live agent calls to landlines and mobile phones.

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— with file by David Akin.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.