Canada approved secret phone-tapping during Cold War

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tags: Cold War, Canada, surveillance



The federal government secretly gave RCMP security officials the authority to tap telephone calls without court oversight during the Cold War, newly unearthed archival documents show.

The surveillance program, codenamed “Picnic,” began as an emergency effort during the Korean War, but federal agencies collaborated with telephone companies in 1954 to continue the wiretaps, says Dennis Molinaro, who teaches history at Ontario’s Trent University.

Molinaro’s research indicates the RCMP security branch was listening in on the embassies of East Bloc countries, “certain unfriendly organizations” and individuals suspected of disloyalty.




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