Carriers must let authorities access their networks for surveillance under new licence conditions

by Andrew Roach on September 17, 2013

Over the past few months, there has been a lot of talk about privacy intrusion and how far the authorities can go to monitor someone who is using a mobile device.

With the spectrum auction applications due tomorrow, the federal government has unveiled a major new condition which will force networks to give authorities access to any mobile phone used by potential suspects in federal crimes.

If any of the networks refuse to give access to their networks, then they will not have their licence renewed or accepted by the government.

But the government will only be able to do this if they are granted a warrant from the court granting them access to a particular individual or group.

At first, the new conditions seem fairly draconian but it is more of a tweak to laws that have been in place since 1996 which requires any network involved in a spectrum auction to give authorities some sort of access to their network in the interest of national security.

The new rules, which only force telcos to comply if there’s a warrant, may give networks the power to reject any surveillance requests unless it is a legal requirement.

It’s a move which is aimed to help build up trust between the authorities and the telecom industry to try and help catch criminals much more easily and reduce the threat to national security across the country.

There has seemingly been decreasing levels of trust between telecom carriers and the government over the summer as the PRISM scandal in the US forced many people to investigate about any happenings over here.

Alongside that, the government repeated courtship of foreign networks such as Verizon into entering the Canadian market is something that further undermined the relationship between the two sides.

But with the deadline for spectrum falling within the next 24 hours, both sides are going to want to patch things up
before switching to the 700MHz frequency in January.

With the spectrum auction being a vital asset for networks, it’s almost certain that all the national carriers will comply with the new privacy conditions as the government looks for ways to eliminate threats to national security while being mindful of not ending up in a situation similar to that of the NSA in America.

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Written by: Andrew Roach www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube

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AT&T Says There's — TheTelecomBlog.com
September 18, 2013 at 7:12 am
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