Canadian Mobile Phone Companies to Provide Government Access to Data

mobile-phone-data-privacy-headerIt’s not just the NSA and the United States government that are monitoring your data. Ahead of this week’s wireless airwave license auction, the Canadian government has required all phone companies bidding to agree to allow the government access to data transmitted on their networks, including the monitoring of phone calls.

According to The Globe and Mail, providing the Canadian government the capability to monitor mobile devices was a condition of obtaining a license to use public airwaves for cell phone signals. Now, the government appears to be doubling down on this license condition by reiterating this condition to Canadian cell phone companies after the recent controversy over the NSA’s PRISM program.

A copy of the Solicitor General’s Enforcement Standards for Lawful Interception of Telecommunications (SGES) obtained by The Globe mandates that all communications received or sent by the targeted person must be turned over to law enforcement and in real-time if requested. This effectively is a catch-all for anything that a targeted individual might do with their cell phone.

The SGES requires mobile phone companies to provide law enforcement with the ability to listen to phone calls in real-time (wire tapping), the decryption of any encrypted communication on a provider’s network, as accurate a geographic location of  a target as possible and access to call logs, text messages and keystroke data.

Unlike the NSA which will do its spying whether or not it has a warrant, Canadian law enforcement requires a court approved warrant to access a targeted person’s mobile data.

While the fact that there is a provision in cell phone licensing for the access of data shouldn’t surprise anyone, the fact that the SGES is that extensive and is unknown to anyone outside of law enforcement and those in the industry is a bit surprising. The Canadian government isn’t the first one you think of when you think of governments spying on their citizens but it’s sort of par for the course now.

I’m not going to begrudge law enforcement’s ability to get mobile phone data of suspects if they go through the proper legal channels. I’m worried about the slippery slope in the US that sees the NSA accessing almost all of your data online and on your phone without warrants. For now, I’m not worried. As long as the Harper government keeps aspiring to be America, I’m worried about what will happen in the future.

Source: The Globe and Mail

About Steve Murray

Steve is the founder and editor of The Lowdown Blog and et geekera. On The Lowdown Blog, he often writes about motorsports, hockey, politics and pop culture. Over on et geekera, Steve writes about geek interests and lifestyle. Steve is on Twitter at @TheSteveMurray.

Posted on September 18, 2013, in Tech and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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