#CyberFLASH: RCMP failed to keep records on warrantless access, watchdog says

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OTTAWA—There’s no way to know if the RCMP complied with privacy laws in requesting Canadians’ personal information without a warrant, or even how often the Mounties made such requests, according to Ottawa’s privacy watchdog.

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien said his office was not able to track how often the national police force requested access to Canadians’ personal information without a warrant — because the RCMP don’t track that information themselves.

“We were disappointed to find that limitations in the RCMP’s information management systems meant we were unable to assess whether such controls were in place,” said Therrien, in a statement.

“It was not possible to determine how often the RCMP collected subscriber data without a warrant. Nor could we assess whether such requests were justified.”

Therrien’s office revealed they were formally reviewing the RCMP’s warrantless access practices after the Star and the Halifax Chronicle Herald reported that police forces asked nine telecommunications companies for their customers’ information 1.2 million times in 2011 alone.

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