#CyberFLASH: Feds consider scheme to circumvent effect of ruling that curbs police access to Internet subscriber data

supreme-courtjpg.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxOTTAWA—A new administrative scheme that would allow police to obtain basic information about Internet subscribers without a warrant is one option being considered by federal officials following a landmark Supreme Court ruling that curbed access to such data, Canadian police chiefs say.

The glimpse into federal deliberations about how to address the highly influential court decision comes in a newly published background document from the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, which is urging the government to fill the legislative gap.

Law-enforcement agencies require “real-time, or near real-time” access to basic subscriber information, usually a telecommunications customer’s name and address, to investigate everything from child sexual exploitation to terrorist threats, the police chiefs say in a resolution passed at their recent annual conference.

In June last year, the Supreme Court ruled police need judicial authorization to obtain subscriber data linked to online activities. 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 swelling public concern about authorities quietly gaining access to customer information with little evident scrutiny or oversight.

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