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Articles on On-Device Investigative Tools (ODIT)

Privacy committee to conduct study of spyware tools used by RCMP (Canadian Press) – July 26

The ETHI committee will hold hearings on the RCMP's use of spyware and potential risks to the privacy rights of Canadians. The committee voted to determine which ''device investigation tools'' the Mounties use and seek a list of judicial warrants obtained for deploying such software. The committee also requested a list of warrants or any information about the wiretapping of members of Parliament, parliamentary assistants and any other staff.

Un comité parlementaire examinera l'usage de logiciels espions par la GRC (Canadian Press) – July 26

Privacy committee to study RCMP use of spyware tools (CTV News) – July 26

The House of Commons Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics Committee voted Tuesday to begin a special summer study to examine the RCMP's use of spyware, calling on the national police force to be more transparent about the software it uses to conduct surveillance or collect data as part of its investigations. MPs on the committee have decided to hold a series of meetings starting in August that will focus on determining which "device investigation tools" the RCMP uses, as well as the terms and conditions of using this software. As part of the study, MPs will be calling for any RCMP officers who have made decisions around the use of surveillance tools; Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino; and the current and former federal privacy commissioners to testify, with the option to invite additional witnesses as desired.

Le Bloc veut questionner la GRC (La Presse) – July 19

Bloc Québécois MP René Villemure is calling for a House of Commons committee to investigate the use of spyware by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

La GRC reste muette (La Presse) – July 18

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has categorically refused to disclose which type(s) of spyware it has been using to conduct surveillance on citizens for several years. As Amnesty International has insisted on the first anniversary of the publication of the “Pegasus Project,” the RCMP cannot continue without accountability. In late June, it was accidentally revealed through a question from a Conservative MP in the House of Commons that the police have been using spyware in their investigations for the past five years without informing the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

La GRC armée de logiciels espions (La Presse) – July 6

The federal police recently discreetly revealed that they are using these methods—and that they are doing so without consulting the Privacy Commissioner of Canada beforehand. Created in 2016, the program is managed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Covert Access and Intercept Team (CAIT).

Statement On The RCMP’s Use Of Spyware (Canadian Civil Liberties Association) – June 30

Brenda McPhail, Director of Privacy Technology and Surveillance Program for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) said that the RCMP uses spyware against Canadians in targeted investigations. McPhail says the Covert Access and Intercept Team (CAIT) has used “on-Device Investigate Tools” to remotely collect texts, emails, even to turn on microphones or cameras remotely. This happens after obtaining a warrant and was used in 10 targeted investigations between 2018 and 2020. The Privacy Commissioner of Canada was not consulted. The CCLA calls for public transparency on these important questions.

Canada’s national police force admits use of spyware to hack phones (POLITICO) – June 29

The RCMP has described for the first time how it uses spyware to infiltrate mobile devices and collect data, including by remotely turning on the camera and microphone of a suspect’s phone or laptop. The police agency outlined the techniques used by its Covert Access and Intercept Team in a document introduced in the House of Commons last week. In the document, the RCMP says it didn’t consult the federal privacy commissioner before launching the CAIT program in 2016. However, it says the police force began drafting a PIA in 2021 regarding CAIT activities. A spokesperson for privacy commissioner Philippe Dufresne confirmed to POLITICO that his office has not been notified about the CAIT program, and said the office will be following up with the RCMP.

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