Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Rogers Sees Drop in Customer Info Requests from Police, Security Agencies

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Rogers Sees Drop in Customer Info Requests from Police, Security Agencies

Article excerpt

Rogers sees drop in customer info requests

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OTTAWA - Rogers Communications saw a sharp drop in the number of requests for customer information from government and police agencies last year -- a result of swelling public concern and a landmark court ruling on Internet privacy.

Rogers received fewer than 114,000 such requests for subscriber information in 2014, down from almost 175,000 the previous year, the company said in its second annual transparency report released Thursday.

Last summer, Rogers said it would no longer routinely give basic customer information to police and security agencies without a warrant.

The move followed a key Supreme Court of Canada ruling as well as concerns voiced by subscribers, the telecom provider said at the time.

Last June, the Supreme Court ruled police need judicial authorization to get personal information about customers from Internet providers. The high court rejected the notion the federal privacy law governing companies allowed them to hand over subscriber identities voluntarily.

The court judgment came amid growing public concern about authorities quietly gaining access to customer information with little obvious scrutiny or oversight.

Rogers says that prior to the court ruling, it was company policy to confirm basic customer information like name and address, so that police didn't issue a warrant for the wrong person or company.

Rogers also had a special process to help with child sexual exploitation investigations by confirming a customer's name and address when provided with a computer's Internet protocol (IP) address. That allowed police to obtain a search or arrest warrant.

Since June, the company says, it has responded to these two kinds of requests only when presented with a court order or warrant, or in emergency circumstances as defined by the Criminal Code.

"There's always a tradeoff between respecting your customers' privacy and assisting law enforcement as a good corporate citizen," said Ken Engelhart, Rogers' chief privacy officer. …

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