RCMP boss wants warrantless access to online subscriber information

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson says the police force needs warrantless access to Internet subscriber information to keep pace with child predators and other online criminals.

OTTAWA — RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson says the police force needs warrantless access to Internet subscriber information to keep pace with child predators and other online criminals.

In June last year, the Supreme Court of Canada 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.

Paulson says he advocates an administrative scheme that would give police ready access to a customer’s name and address while respecting the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Supreme Court judgment came amid mounting public concern about authorities quietly gaining access to customer information with little oversight.