#CyberFLASH: Warrantless access to internet subscriber data OK sometimes, privacy czar says

daniel-therrien-privacy-commissioner-20140603The federal privacy czar says there are instances when police may not need a warrant to obtain “very limited sets” of internet customer information.

There could be a way to meet at least some law-enforcement demands for warrantless access to information while respecting a key Supreme Court of Canada ruling, privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien said in an interview.

In June last year, the Supreme Court ruled police must have a judge’s authorization to obtain customer 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.

Police say telecommunications companies and other service providers — such as banks and rental companies — now demand court approval for nearly all types of requests from authorities for basic identifying information.

The Supreme Court judgment came amid mounting public concern about authorities quietly gaining access to customer data with little independent scrutiny.

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