Rogers Received 175,000 Data Requests Last Year, First Transparency Report Reveals

by Istvan Fekete on June 6, 2014

The first transparency report detailing subscriber information released to the police has been signed by Canada’s biggest wireless carrier, Rogers. The reports comes hot on the heels of a debate on how telecom companies share customer data with the government and the police.

As the published report points out, Rogers fully complies with Canadian privacy law and also takes steps to protect its customers’ data. This, however, means that the carrier must comply by law with requests initiated by federal, provincial, and municipal government and law enforcement agencies when they submit a search warrant or court order.

The carrier also receives requests from government departments authorized to request information to enforce laws such as the Income Tax Act, and assist police in life-threatening situations.

So what type of data did Rogers reveal last year at the request of government agencies? About 50% of all requests were information checks such as customer names and addresses, which Rogers automatically reveals to the police to avoid warrants being issued to the wrong person. Otherwise, the carrier provides customer information when forced to by law or in emergency cases after the request has been thoroughly vetted. If they consider the request to be too broad, it’ll push it back and even go to court to oppose the request. It is worth noting that there is no data identifying such cases.

As the first transparency report reveals, Rogers received 175,000 requests in 2013, which consisted of the following:

– Customer name/address checks 87,856
– Court order / warrant 74,415
– Government requirement letter (compelled to provide under a federal/provincial law) 2,556
– Emergency requests from police in life threatening situations 9,339
– Child sexual exploitation emergency assistance requests 711
– Court order to comply with an international Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty request 40
Total 174,917

The carrier is required by law to keep customer bills for seven years, but as the report highlights, it doesn’t keep its customers’ communications such as text messages or emails.

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

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