Police Caught Spying on Journalists to Uncover Source of Leaks

surv3By Chris “Kikila” Perrin

In what can only be described as a case that defies the idea of freedom of the press, CTV News reported this week that the Sureté du Quebec (SQ; the Quebec Provincial Police) has been tapping the phones of reporters. That they were doing so in an effort to uncover which officers have been leaking information, however, indicates that this surveillance greatly undermines the bounds of civil liberties.

Problematically, this is not the first time police in the province of Quebec have been caught spying on the press — it is only the first time that the provincial police have been implicated.

Earlier in 2016, a new report found that the SPVM (or Montreal Police) were spying on and surveilling a reporter for La Presse. This, they reasoned, was in an effort to uncover which one of their fellow officers was passing information to the press. Moreover, the practice seems long-standing with Montreal police as a similar program, with similar motives, was ongoing as early as 2014. Since then, the undermining of the free press has become broader in scope.

With the discovery this week that the SQ are also guilty of tapping the phones of reporters in an effort to uncover their sources for police corruption, it appears that the practice is now province-wide. Perhaps more troubling than this spread from police force to police force is the systemic disregard for civil liberties that this case highlights.

According to the Canadian Criminal Code, police must obtain a warrant to conduct electronic surveillance of this nature. That both the SPVM and the SQ had obtained these warrants is indicative of a broader issue as it directly implicates the criminal judiciary as a whole.

Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, in their book Manufacturing Consent, explain that a functioning, open democracy is dependent on a free press. One of the deep implications of this case is the apathy of the criminal court, and a police force that is swiftly being militarized, for the freedoms that ensure a democratic society. It is in this regard that even Edward Snowden has weighed in on the issue, pointing out how any slip in freedoms tends to turn quickly into an avalanche.

Despite the federal government promising that more broadly-reaching law enforcement agencies in Canada are not currently spying on the press, the guarantee is hardly comforting.

Logically, if the police in one province, at multiple levels of jurisdiction, have been able to convince judges to grant warrants that undermine freedom of the press and freedom of speech, not to mention Canadian whistleblower protection laws, then what actual guarantee is meaningful? According to CitizenFour and others, promises are simply falling flat.

This article (Police Caught Spying on Journalists to Uncover Source of Leaks) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Chris “Kikila” Perrin and UndergroundReporter.org. If you spot a typo, please email the error and the name of the article to [email protected].


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3 Comments on "Police Caught Spying on Journalists to Uncover Source of Leaks"

  1. Glad to see the Kanucks have the same problem that it’s big bro does.

  2. Drugs, War and Surveillance – Can’t do it without Transnational Banks, Global Intel, DOD, DHS (et. al.), Government Insiders, Cops and non government organizations like the School of the Americas.

  3. Christopher Smith | November 10, 2016 at 1:44 am | Reply

    . Specifically the anti-Trump position Citizen 4 media outlet apparently takes. Don’t get me wrong, I am neither Republican or Democrat. I affiliate more in my non affiliation with Anarchy. However, as I stated I was somewhat dismayed by the apparent anti Trump slant that solution for takes with other articles that it produces. So I investigated Citizen 4 to some degree, and discovered that it was owned by Bell Media, which in turn is owned with several other media outlets buy BCE Inc.. while further researching the parent company BCE Inc., investigated the shareholders of said company, and discovered that the major institutional shareholders consisted of several multi-national banks, other financial institutions, and global institutions as well. Perhaps that has something to do with the conspiracy theories of the New World order, IMF, global banking corruption, bailouts, and cover-ups. Toss in the Royal Bank of England, that we all know that Canada is just an old tributary of, with a little Thousand Island salad dressing, and we have something perhaps substantial to really sink our teeth into. Media has quite a potential to sway opinions of the ill informed masses that rely on them to get up-to-date news and information. By using such outlets to toss around opinions and propaganda disguised as information to be disseminated to the unsuspecting population, the hearts and minds our turn the way that TPTB see fit. Does anybody care to explore how much further and deeper this Rabbit Hole goes? Just curious. And I’m not going to take anything else heard or read for fact from anyone or any source for any reason without doing some critical thinking and research of my own, which you so often hear I’m truly investigative an independent news organizations. Just saying.

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