#CyberFLASH: Privacy watchdog investigating RCMP data collection

1297236821813_ORIGINAL

OTTAWA–Canada’s privacy watchdog is investigating the RCMP’s warrantless collection of Canadians’ personal data.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner confirmed last week it is formally reviewing the police force’s collection of Canadians’ personal data from telecommunications companies. The findings are expected to be made public in the near future.

The RCMP has never met with the privacy commissioner to ensure that its requests comply with privacy laws, according to a recent disclosure to Liberal MP Irwin Cotler.

The investigation was launched after the former privacy commissioner, Chantal Bernier, revealed to the Star and the Halifax Chronicle Herald that nine telecoms were asked to turn over user data 1.2 million times in 2011.

Authorities in Canada, including the RCMP, routinely sought “basic subscriber information” — names, telephone numbers, address and Internet protocol addresses — without having to obtain a warrant.

Public Safety revealed last week that it has met with the privacy office numerous times to attempt to draft a new system of accountability for Canada’s police and spy agencies.

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