Back in April it was reported that a free online threat blocker is being made available in Canada. So what has been reported is that the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has teamed up with Canada’s foreign signals intelligence agency to thwart malicious websites.The CIRA, a not-for-profit agency that manages the .ca internet domain and the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), Canada’s foreign signals intelligence agency, have teamed up on the CIRA Canadian Shield — a protected domain name system (DNS) service that prevents Canadians from connecting to malicious websites that might infect their devices and steal personal information. What all this means is that anything being used to defend the government of Canada is now being made available for all Canadians.
Obviously this security initiative may raise questions about privacy protection of individual Canadians. While the CSE collects a wide spectrum of foreign communications related to Canada’s interests that includes phone calls and emails, its mandate restricts it from collecting data on Canadians. Due to the sensitive nature of its activities, it’s monitored by an independent watchdog group. In the past, this watchdog organization has reprimanded the agency over CSE metadata collection practices.
As well, the CIRA which would be the Canadian operator of the threat-blocker would have to comply with Canadian privacy laws, including the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. Spencer Callaghan, a CIRA spokesperson has stated that the authority has committed to a full annual privacy audit by a third-party auditor.
Certainly if the Canadian Shield system functions as it should, it can improve internet security while at the same time protecting privacy for individual Canadians.
A step by step process on how to add the extra security protection is detailed on the CIRA website.