RCMP Continues to Ask for Warrantless Access to Subscriber Information

Author: CBC News
Source: CBC Investigates
Article Date: November 1
Despite the repeated calls by police for warrantless access to ISP subscriber data, the topic should really be considered closed.
Our Supreme Court has already considered the issue and found that this type of data goes to the heart of our privacy, and shouldn’t be accessed without a court order. Other than Commissioner Paulson’s statements that it costs them time and they sometimes have to (rightly) abandon investigations that don’t support the seeking of a warrant, the RCMP has never been able to provide any data to illustrate that this is a problem.
His argument that we are “lagging behind” other Five Eyes countries in our legal framework for state snooping is equally unconvincing. We are not engaged in a race with other nations for the most permissive surveillance laws, but should instead be concerned that we are crafting new police powers with an eye to balancing necessary state intrusions of privacy with every Canadians right to privacy.
“Let’s face it, we live half of our lives online these days, so it is not a trivial ask.”
Christopher Parsons, a technology and privacy researcher with the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, says any new law must protect against abuses.
“The solution is not to say, ‘It’s very hard for police, just trust us and let us sign off on our own warrants.’ Turning to other jurisdictions such as the U.S., we know it doesn’t work. We know that police will over-exercise that power.”

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