The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) annual report released on Tuesday said the operation was designed to disrupt malicious cyber activity targeting the electoral system, as well as to protect political parties from foreign interference.
The agency also claims it has disrupted attempts by extremists based abroad, including those affiliated with militant Islamist groups, to recruit Canadians and spread violent propaganda in Canada.
The report said the agency removed 11,500 bogus websites, including fake government sites, and emails designed to trick Canadians into submitting personal information or clicking on infected links.
the CSTis said to have also thwarted and exposed Russian disinformation campaigns, including claims that Russia was only attacking military targets in Ukraine.
The report challenges the national intelligence watchdog’s conclusion, set out last year, that more than a quarter of the 2,351 disclosures of information about Canadians by the spy agency over a five-year period did not were not sufficiently justified.
The spy agency says that after detailed analysis and consultation with government partners, it is satisfied that all but one of the disclosures complied with the Privacy Act. The one disclosure that did not comply has been removed and the data has been purged by the receiving institution, it says.
The agency is prohibited by law from spying on Canadians and people in Canada, and it is not authorized to release their names, email addresses or computer IP addresses if it becomes aware of them in the course of its work.
However, other federal agencies and foreign partners who receive these reports may request details of the information if they have legal authority and proper justification.