Ottawa: Canada's electronic spy agency intercepts and analyses millions of videos and documents downloaded online everyday by people around the world to identify extremists, media reported.
The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) project, named "Levitation", was carried out in partnership with countries including the US, Britain, New Zealand and Australia, Xinhua news agency reported citing a CBS News report on Wednesday. The report is based on a document recently released to CBC News by US whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Under Levitation, analysts with the electronic eavesdropping service can access information on about 10 million to 15 million uploads and downloads of files from free websites each day.
A CSE spokesman said in a statement that "CSE does not direct its activities at Canadians or anyone in Canada" and "has a range of measures in place to protect the privacy of Canadians incidentally encountered in the course of these foreign intelligence operations". But he declined to comment on whether Levitation remained active.
These documents are the first evidence from Snowden files to show that Canada carried out its own mass surveillance programme to combat terrorism.
Snowden came to international attention in June 2013 after disclosing thousands of classified documents that he acquired while working as a contractor of the US National Security Agency.
In August 2014, he was granted a one-year asylum by the Russian government.