Cana­dian po­lice spied on jour­nal­ist

The Myanmar Times - - World -

PO­LICE with the back­ing of a judge tracked a prom­i­nent Mon­treal jour­nal­ist’s move­ments and com­mu­ni­ca­tions over sev­eral months, hop­ing to iden­tify his sources, a Cana­dian news­pa­per re­ported.

At least 24 sur­veil­lance war­rants were is­sued in 2016 for the smart­phone of La Presse re­porter Pa­trick La­gace, which al­lowed po­lice to ac­cess his text mes­sages and track him us­ing the de­vice’s global po­si­tion­ing sys­tem (GPS), the news­pa­per said.

“This is un­equiv­o­cally an at­tack against the me­dia and the en­tire jour­nal­is­tic pro­fes­sion,” said Eric Trot­tier, ed­i­tor of La Presse, one of Canada’s largest dailies.

The for­mer head of the Mon­treal po­lice depart­ment’s in­ter­nal af­fairs di­vi­sion, who was re­as­signed last week to me­dia re­la­tions, ac­knowl­edged that the mon­i­tor­ing oc­curred.

Say­ing he was not “min­imis­ing” the se­ri­ous­ness of this af­fair, chief in­spec­tor Costa La­bos said, “I un­der­stand that some peo­ple may have been of­fended or dis­turbed by the fact that their phone was un­der sur­veil­lance, but we must do our job.”

Po­lice wanted to know the re­porter’s con­tacts and whether they may have in­for­ma­tion about open cases, and who within the po­lice force may be leak­ing in­for­ma­tion to the me­dia.

Their meth­ods, how­ever, pro­voked a rash of crit­i­cisms in­clud­ing from se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and fugi­tive whistle­blower Ed­ward Snow­den, the for­mer Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency con­trac­tor who leaked doc­u­ments ex­pos­ing the vast scope of US dig­i­tal in­tel­li­gence gath­er­ing in 2013.

Que­bec’s jus­tice min­is­ter, Stephanie Vallee, ex­pressed “con­cern” while re­mind­ing of “the im­por­tance of a free press in a free and demo­cratic so­ci­ety”. –

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