Privacy czar to probe Canadian implications of U.S. snooping allegations

OTTAWA – The federal privacy watchdog says she will look into any implications for Canada posed by possible U.S. government snooping on a wide scale.

The issue of data privacy is generating debate in federal circles following revelations the U.S. National Security Agency has been tapping into the information banks of American Internet giants.

The office of privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart says the scope of information reportedly being collected raises significant concerns.

Stoddart says while it is difficult to assess the merit of the allegations, she will confer with the watchdog that oversees the Communications Security Establishment — the Canadian counterpart to the NSA — to determine how the personal information of Canadians may be affected.

She also plans to contact fellow international data-protection authorities, who may share similar concerns about the information of their citizens, to discuss combining fact-finding efforts.

The CSE, with headquarters in a plain-looking building in Ottawa’s south end, monitors foreign computer, satellite, radio and telephone traffic.