Telecom giant Rogers got 175,000 official requests for customer info last year

Telecommunications giant Rogers Communications says it received almost 175,000 requests for information about customers from government and police agencies last year.

OTTAWA — Telecommunications giant Rogers Communications says it received almost 175,000 requests for information about customers from government and police agencies last year.

About half of the requests in 2013 were to confirm a customer’s name and address, Rogers says in a new report that comes amid public pressure on Internet and phone companies to divulge the extent of information sharing with government agencies.

Rogers says it responds to such requests — which totalled 87,856 last year — so police do not issue a warrant to the wrong person.

“When provided with a name and address we will confirm whether or not the person is a Rogers customer and when provided with a listed phone number we’ll provide the name and address of a customer.”

Otherwise, Rogers says, it provides customer information only when forced by law, or in emergencies, after the request has been thoroughly vetted.

The Criminal Code, the federal privacy law for companies, and rules set out by the federal broadcast regulator govern how the communications firm shares customer data with government and law enforcement agencies.

It receives requests from agencies including the RCMP, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Canada Border Services Agency, the Canada Revenue Agency, and provincial and municipal agencies like police forces and coroners.

Rogers received 74,415 requests in 2013 under a warrant or court order, including production orders, summons, subpoenas and search warrants issued by a judge or other judicial officer.

Such requests compel the company to provide customer information to police or other authorities or to attend court to provide testimony about customer information. Examples of information provided in these cases include account information like name and address, payment history, billing records or call records, the report says.

If it considers an order to be too broad, Rogers pushes back and, if necessary, goes to court to oppose the request, the report says.

However, it does not reveal how often that happens.

Rogers received 9,339 requests from police last year about life-threatening situations — such as missing-persons cases. In addition, there were 711 emergency requests for assistance to police in child sexual exploitation cases.

Rogers is the first major Canadian telecommunications company to issue a so-called transparency report on co-operation with law enforcement.

“Our customers’ privacy is important to us and that is why we are issuing this report,” Ken Engelhart, the company’s chief privacy officer, says in the report.

“We believe more transparency is helpful and encourage the government of Canada to issue its own report on these requests.

The release comes as civil libertarians and privacy advocates urge companies and governments to be more forthcoming about when and how customer data is shared.

A study by University of Toronto researchers recently gave low marks to Canada’s Internet service providers about how they handle customer information — including whether they routinely give personal data to spy agencies.

Rogers says it does not allow agencies direct access to its customer databases, nor does it hand over metadata — the routing codes and other data about emails and calls — without a warrant.

“We only provide the information we are required to provide and this information is retrieved by our staff.”

Just Posted

NDP won’t stop until Trans Mountain is built, says minister

Deron Bilous speaks at Red Deer chamber luncheon

Red Deer officials will allow Calgary to trial alcohol in parks

The result could determine if local rules are relaxed

Red Deer city council could provide more clarity around closed-door meetings, says review

Confidential matters were found to be handled appropriately by city

Special lift improves Lacombe patients’ therapy

A new mobility lift is helping physical therapy patients at Lacombe Hospital… Continue reading

Red Deer group is pushing to create a local ‘international village’ to promote unity

A city made up of immigrants has no place for intolerance, say group members

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Fashion Fridays: Inspirational gym outfits

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Company issues lifetime ban after man jumps from cruise ship

Nick Naydev posted the video last week showing him standing on the balcony of the Symphony of the Seas

Unruly passenger forces B.C.-bound flight to divert to Calgary

Police say charges are pending against a woman in her 40s

Inflation rises as higher airfares, veggie prices offset cheaper gas

Statistics Canada says inflation accelerated to two per cent in December

Canadian tattoo artist inks Toronto skyline on Blue Jays pitcher Stroman

Marcus Stroman found a way to show his appreciation for Toronto when… Continue reading

Team World sweeps opening day against Team North America at Continental Cup

LAS VEGAS — Team North America has some serious ground to make… Continue reading

SXSW to screen ‘Run This Town,’ which includes Rob Ford character

TORONTO — A drama that features a portrayal of the late Toronto… Continue reading

Most Read