U.S. envoy to Canada dismisses concerns over NSA data mining disclosure

OTTAWA – The U.S. envoy to Canada says his country is not spying on Canadian citizens.

U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson is commenting on the intense debate over the U.S. National Security Agency collecting large swaths of data on its citizens from major Internet companies.

Leaked NSA documents obtained by Britain’s Guardian newspaper disclosed how the top-secret, data-mining program called Prism has given the U.S. government access to a massive cache of digital information from companies such as Google, Microsoft and Apple.

That has since sparked a probe by Canada’s privacy commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, about the implications of that U.S. program for Canadians.

Jacobson says Americans and Canadians can take comfort in the fact that respect for privacy and individual liberty are highly regarded values in his country.

Jacobson steps down next month after nearly four years in Ottawa.