Canada is also collecting telephone records and Internet data of its citizens, similar to the US surveillance programme, Prism.
The Globe and Mail reported that Canada’s Defence Minister Peter MacKay authorised a top secret programme to mine global metadata in 2011 by signing a ministerial directive.
The Department of National Defense’s Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) is reported to have operated the programme.
CSEC spokesman Ryan Foreman told the Globe and Mail that CSEC incidentally intercepts Canadian communications, but takes pain to purge or "anonymise" such data after it is obtained.
"Beyond that, "metadata is used to isolate and identify foreign communications, as CSEC is prohibited by law from directing its activities at Canadians," Foreman said.
Reacting to the US surveillance programme, Foreman told Reuters that CSEC does not have access to data in Prism.
Recently, US President Barack Obama defended Prism citing security concerns and said American citizens and residents were not targeted in the programme.
Major firms, which were tapped under Prism include Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Apple, PalTalk, AOL, Skype and YouTube.
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