“I’m not disputing that there are times when there is no time to get a warrant — life is in danger” -Chantal Bernier
Feds ask Canadian telecoms to disclose private customer information 1.2 million times a year, docs show
Canadian Press: April 30, 2014
OTTAWA — The federal government asks Canadian telecom companies for private customer information about 1.2 million times each year, documents released Tuesday by the federal privacy commissioner’s office show.
It is unclear how many of those requests are made without a warrant. But figures provided to the office in late 2011 show wireless telecom companies complied with the government’s requests for customer data at least 784,756 times.
However, the actual total is likely even greater, since only three of nine telecom companies told the commissioner’s office how many times they granted the government’s requests for customer data.
The numbers came to light Tuesday as Canada’s acting privacy commissioner revealed that telecom companies have refused to disclose how often they release confidential customer information to the federal government without a warrant.
Chantal Bernier, the interim privacy commissioner, said her office has repeatedly asked telecom companies to disclose statistics and the scope of warrantless disclosure of data, but to no avail.
“I’m not disputing that there are times when there is no time to get a warrant — life is in danger,” Bernier said.
“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 said the companies have only provided her office with aggregate data, which shows how many times the telecom industry as a whole gives the government customer information without a warrant.
(read the full article at Financial Post)
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