Network providers are quizzed about which pieces of information they give to public officials

by Andrew Roach on January 27, 2014

The past year has seen both the tech and telecom worlds enveloped in a huge debate over just how private and confidential data is used by government agencies in the wake of huge intelligence scandals that have involved agencies across the world.

After Canadian intelligent bodies came under intense scrutiny over the past few months, an independent body has started to reach out to some of the biggest telecom companies in the country in a bid to learn what information is usually passed over.

The survey is expected to feature responses from many of the biggest companies in Canada including Rogers, Bell and Telus who dominate the domestic telecom market.

The survey, led by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, are looking to get an overall indication of just what the situation is regarding data access in the country.

In order to get an accurate representation, the survey will look to create a detailed picture of the requests that telcos have received and reveal just how much networks have passed on to the government each time.

Aside from knowing basic information such as how many requests have been received, the survey will want to know whether more specific information such as locations, text message contents and full call logs were needed by the authorities.

It’s a move that the body will hope give a much better indication of how providers have acted with confidential data and whether the authorities have acted lawfully with their requests. This was revealed by survey creator Chris Parsons who explained the reasons for his actions in a blog post stating: “Canadians have had only vague understandings of how, why, and how often Canadian telecommunications providers have disclosed information to government agencies.”

“Given the importance of such systems to Canadians’ lives, and the government’s repeated allegations that more access is needed to ensure the safety of Canadians, more data is needed for scholars, civil rights organizations, and the public,” he added.

It’s a survey that could drum up some interesting results especially when most government agencies require a court warrant to access private data and information from providers.

With that in mind, the research could paint a picture and show to residents nationwide whether their network provider is keeping their personal data as safe as they should be.

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

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