Sunday, May 04, 2014

Here's looking at you, kid

Nine out of 12 big telecoms in Canada deigned to reply to Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart with info about their disclosure of customer data to law enforcement in 2011
  • Law enforcement agencies made 1,193,630 requests for subscriber data in 2011
  • Or, one request every 27 seconds
  • Three telecom providers alone disclosed information from 785,000 customer accounts
  • If each request had been for a different subscriber, that would work out to one in every 28 Canadians including babies
  • In 2010, 94% of RCMP requests for name and address were made without a warrant
  • Customers are not informed their private info has been disclosed
  • At least one telecom appears to have instituted a special law enforcement direct access database
And this info, these figures, are three years old.
Meanwhile the Cons look to expand that cozy relationship with two new bills :
  • Bill C-13, the cyberbullying bill, will also give immunity from civil or criminal liability to telecoms coughing up info without a warrant
  • Bill S- 4 extends the ability to disclose subscriber info without a warrant to private sector organizations as well
As telecom customers, we're paying them twice to peddle our info - once when we pay the telecoms to collect the info about us and deliver it to law enforcement and again when law enforcement agencies use our taxes to pay the telecoms for the info.

The irony here is how important privacy and anonymity are to the telecoms - their own at least.
Their response to Stoddart included the strategy of having their answers collated by a law firm and delivered to her as a bulk package that doesn't identify which telecom provided each piece of info. Why? To preserve their own privacy and anonymity.

Remember when we were aghast to learn that there was a "Canadian Special Source" providing CSEC with wifi data on random Canadians as part of a 2012 airport surveillance exercise? Ah the good old days of three whole months ago. 

Want to know what your telco has divulged about you? They are compelled by law to respond to you with something if you ask as an individual subscriber to their services.
Citizen Law provides a template letter and the telco contact details to send it to. Takes just a few seconds. When I get my response, I'll post it.

h/t  Lux ex Umbra and Michael Geist


West End Bob said...

When I get my response, I'll post it.

Oh, I hope it's a juicy one, M'Lady . . . . ;-)

Unknown said...

Hi. We take privacy matters very seriously and comply with all regulations. The security and integrity of our customers' personal information is important to us and we will continue to take every reasonable measure to protect the privacy of our customers.

We only disclose customer information if we have a properly executed warrant or an order to produce information as required by law. The number of requests reported to the Privacy Commissioner includes different kinds of requests. Many of these are basic requests to confirm a customer’s name and address so police don’t issue a warrant for the wrong person, which is in accordance with CRTC rules and privacy legislation.

We recognize that our customers and Canadians are looking for more information, and that’s why we’re looking at how we can provide more details within the law. We will work with the Privacy Commissioner and Government of Canada with the goal of being as transparent as possible while complying with legal disclosure restrictions. We encourage Canadians to join with us in seeking clarity from the Government about what can be disclosed.

Alison said...

Hi Rogers Elise and thank you for your prompt and helpful response.
Is this an official/semi-official Rogers response?
I ask because I notice your own link above describes you as "Worked at Rogers Communications" - past tense - so I'm unsure whether your reply here constitutes a reply from Rogers or if as a former employee you are merely advising us of the response Rogers usually gives to subscribers requesting info on the divulgence of their personal data.
Could you clarify for us?

Anonymous said...

I think Elise is an active member of the @RogersHelps support team.

I tweeted a link to your Here's looking at you, kid. Seems to have touched a nerve.

Alison said...

Thanks, Diogenes VS!

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