Rogers: Warrant Needed From Now On For Subscriber Data

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Guy Laurence, the new president and CEO of Rogers Communications, speaks at the company's annual general meeting in Toronto on April 22 2014. Rogers Communications says from now on it will require police to get a warrant before it hands over subscriber data.
Guy Laurence, the new president and CEO of Rogers Communications, speaks at the company's annual general meeting in Toronto on April 22 2014. Rogers Communications says from now on it will require police to get a warrant before it hands over subscriber data.

Rogers Communications says from now on it will require police to get a warrant before it hands over subscriber data.

“After hearing feedback from our customers and reviewing the Supreme Court ruling from last month, we’ve decided that from now on we will require a court order/warrant to provide basic customer information to law enforcement agencies, except in life threatening emergencies,” the company said in a statement Wednesday.

“We believe this move is better for our customers and that law enforcement agencies will still be able to protect the public.”

The country’s second-largest telecom by revenue released its first-ever transparency report last month, which showed Rogers got nearly 175,000 requests for information from the government in 2013, or about 480 requests per day.

Of those requests, about 100,000 did not involve a court order. Rogers did not say how many of these requests it fulfilled.

In a landmark ruling last month, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that police need a warrant to get even basic subscriber information from telecoms. It ruled that subscribers have a “reasonable expectation” of anonymity online.

The federal privacy commissioner’s office and others have suggested this could sour two items of legislation on the Harper government’s agenda: The Digital Privacy Act, which, among other things, solidifies the ability of corporations to share subscriber data amongst themselves, whenever a contract or other legal dispute is involved; and the “anti-cyberbullying bill,” which, among other things, grants telecoms immunity for handing over private data without a warrant.

An Industry Canada spokesperson recently told HuffPost Canada that the government’s interpretation of the ruling is that these proposed laws would continue to be constitutional, as the ruling did not strike down PIPEDA, Canada’s privacy law from 2001 that first allowed sharing of data without a warrant.

Documents released by the federal privacy commissioner's office earlier this year found that Canadian law enforcement agencies are making some 1.2 million requests for subscriber data per year, though it's unclear how many of those requests are warrantless.

Related on HuffPost:

12 Things Harper Doesn't Want You To Know About Spying On Canadians
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