Canada government requested subscriber data from telecommunications firms

May 7, 2014

Once every 27 seconds. Privacy activist and University of Ottawa Professor Michael Geist says that's how often the government of Canada requested subscriber data from Canadian telecommunications firms in 2011 – for a total of 1.19 million requests (the telecoms complied 784,000 times). Geist made that calculation in response to documents released in late April from interim Privacy Commissioner Chantal Bernier's office, which also revealed that at least one unidentified telecom company allowed government agencies to intercept packet data for deep-packet inspection. While Prime Minister Stephen Harper stressed that government agencies “always seek a warrant when they are required to do so,” Geist countered that the majority of the 1.19 million requests would not have required a warrant under present Canadian law. At the same time, Privacy Commissioner Bernier complained that telecom companies have been reluctant to provide her office with detailed information on personal disclosures they have made about their customers, instead only providing aggregate data. “What we would like is for those warrantless disclosures to simply be represented in statistics so that Canadians have an idea of the scope of the phenomenon,” Bernier told the CBC.


prestitial ad