Stanford professors urge U.S. to end program looking for Chinese spies in academia…
The FBI has a track record of laying charges against American faculty for inappropriately working with Chinese institutions. But it’s critical that observers recognize that a large number of these investigations are subsequently dismissed.
Canada is adopting American methods of scrutinizing academics, with an expected focus on Asian (and specifically Chinese) collaborators. We will likely see similar charging behaviour, harassment, and bias against scholars based on ‘national security’ concerns and investigations.
Having spoken with academics across the country, there are already many who are being forced to change their long-standing research because some universities are becoming *very* cautious. And, in other cases, because faculty refuse to subject themselves to perceived witch hunts.
To date, I have only heard from individuals of Asian heritage experiencing these problems (others may also be affected, my sample size is anecdotal). These faculty worry for their students: how can they be trained & will they, too, be subject to perceived inappropriate scrutiny?
If the Canadian government wants to add ‘national security’ into the mix of academic research, then they will have to *massively* stand up the funds that will be lost as academics are prevented from collaborating with international colleagues and businesses.
It will also need to—and should have already—undertake a *huge* training campaign to explain what should be looked for while also doing everything possible to ensure that review is as bias-free as possible.

Sadly there is no evidence the government has a real appetite to do so.
To be clear: economic espionage is a real issue. But how CSIS (vis-a-vis the funding councils) is pursuing this is problematic with researchers, students, & Canadian research capabilities suffering.

For more, see what I wrote on this issue this summer at…

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More from @caparsons

13 Sep
Earlier this year, Canada's National Security Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) announced it experienced a 'cyber incident. @NSIRACanada is responsible for, amongst other things, reviewing the operations which have been undertaken by Canada's intelligence community. #cndnatsec
At the time there was very little public information, which led me to raise a serious of questions of what unclassified or Protected (as opposed to Secret, Top Secret, or Top Secret SI) information might have been accessed by a third party. See:…
NSIRA has, subsequently, provided further details on their incident at:…

In its statement, the agency sets out that only two files were seemingly acquired by the third party.
Read 13 tweets
13 Sep
Encrypted Phone Firm Ciphr, Used by Criminals, Moves to Cut-off Australia…
It's really interesting that Ciphr is expanding to include a 'Lite' version that may significantly expand their user base. Why might an organization that ostensibly markets its services criminals do this?
1) The more people using the service who are not potential criminals may increase costs to LEAs who want to insert a backdoor into the application somehow. If they can scale then there may be a public interest argument to *not* backdoor this Ciphr, unlike An0n.
Read 9 tweets
12 Jul
Ottawa imposes national security risk assessments for university researchers seeking federal funds…
This announcement has the potential to really gum up academic research protocols by disincentivizing researchers from doing certain classes of work in Canada due to adding bureaucracy or fear of security review and its consequences.
Funding in Canada is often hard to come by and so researchers are naturally disincentivized from publicly complaining about problems in obtaining funding. But they do talk quietly and create whisper communities of ‘problem funders’.
Read 11 tweets

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