Canadian spies scooped up airport Wi-Fi in NSA trial: Reports

Documents from Edward Snowden reveal that Canada's foreign signals intelligence agency picked up metadata on airport travellers from free Wi-Fi available at a major Canadian airport.

The Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), Canada's national cryptologic and foreign signals intelligence agency, tracked the thousands of mobile devices of airline passengers by using data garnered from free airport Wi-Fi, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is reporting.

Documents provided by former US government contractor Edward Snowden, in the CBC's possession, allege that the CSEC was provided with two weeks' worth of data captured from free airport Wi-Fi in a major Canadian airport, which was used to help track passengers as they used other public Wi-Fi networks found in libraries and business across Canadian cities, as well as US airports.

The latest leaked document is said to be dated May 2012.

The CSEC operation is said to be a trial run of new software developed in concert with the US National Security Agency, with sources telling CBC that the service is fully operational.

A previous release of documents given to journalists by Edward Snowden showed that CSEC and the US National Security Agency (NSA) worked in partnership to develop cyberintelligence capabilities. The document showed that the NSA and CSEC had conducted employee exchange programs, and CSEC allowed the NSA to access areas that the American spy agency could not reach by itself.

"NSA has a close, cooperative relationship with CSEC that both sides would like to see expanded and strengthened," the document said.

This week, US Admiral Michael Rogers was nominated by President Barack Obama to be the new chief of the NSA and the US military's cyberwarfare command , as well as appointing its first privacy officer , Rebecca Richards, who will take up the role next month.