Canada Privacy Commissioner Investigating RCMP

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner in Canada is investigating the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) for allegedly collecting user data from telecom companies without obtaining warrants.

Going on Three Years

The investigation of the RCMP has been ongoing for three years, but the Office of the Privacy Commissioner is not yet ready to release a report. In 2011, an abnormally large amount of government agency requests raised red flags. The RCMP was one of these agencies that have requested user information, which all together added up to 1.2 million requests. These requests included information on telecom subscribers including the addresses where their connections were set up, their telephone numbers, and their IP addresses. They did not present any warrants for this information.

Rogers and Telus, two of the biggest telecoms operating in Canada, have released transparency reports. The reports show that hundreds of thousands of customer data requests were processed by them last year. Other major Canadian telecoms such as Bell have not yet disclosed any figures.

All law enforcement and intelligence agencies including the RCMP should have to make written requests for the record, according to Public Safety Canada. They should also have their systems audited regularly, and submit themselves for review. The goal of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner is to bring a higher level of accountability to the process of making data requests from telecom companies. If they are successful, Canadians should see better data security soon.Canada

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