Commissioner Plouffe's report on reviewing the activities of the Communications Security Establishment is tabled in Parliament

OTTAWA, Aug. 20, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, the Annual Report of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner, the Honourable Jean-Pierre Plouffe, C.D., was tabled in Parliament.

The Commissioner provides independent external review of Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) operational activities to determine whether they complied with the law and protected the privacy of Canadians. Mr. Plouffe is a retired judge of the Superior Court of Quebec and the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and has all the powers of the Inquiries Act.

The Commissioner stated: "I am making public as much information as possible about my investigations, to be as transparent as legally and reasonably possible." He added: "I have encouraged CSEC to be more forthcoming in what it communicates to the public."

Report Highlights

  • All of the activities of CSEC reviewed in 2013-2014 complied with the law.

  • The Commissioner made 10 recommendations for CSEC, to promote compliance, strengthen privacy protection and support the Minister in his decision-making and control of CSEC. The recommendations include:

    • the need for precision and accuracy of language in information exchanges with CSEC's domestic and international partners; and

    • that the Minister issue a new directive to CSEC on information sharing activities with its partners in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand to clearly set out expectations for the protection of the privacy of Canadians.

  • The Commissioner examined all foreign signals intelligence private communications retained by CSEC at the end of the ministerial authorization period.

  • The report also includes an update on an ongoing review of CSEC use of metadata.


  • CSEC's mandate includes collecting foreign signals intelligence and helping to protect Government of Canada computer systems. It is prohibited by law from directing these activities at Canadians or at any person in Canada. However, CSEC may, unintentionally, acquire through these activities communications with a Canadian end, which it may use provided certain legal conditions have been met. The Commissioner's review includes determining whether CSEC takes satisfactory measures to protect a Canadian's reasonable expectation of privacy in CSEC use and retention of collected communications.

  • CSEC has accepted 93 percent of all recommendations since the inception of the Commissioner's office in 1996.

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Image with caption: "Commissioner Plouffe's report on reviewing the activities of the Communications Security Establishment is tabled in Parliament (CNW Group/Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner)". Image available at:

SOURCE: Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner

For further information:

J. William Galbraith
Executive Director, Office of the CSE Commissioner
(613) 992-3044

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Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner

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