Halifax Police on Refusals to Provide Subscriber Data: None

Among the government’s primary justifications for its lawful access/online surveillance bill (Bill C-30) is that since Internet providers have not been required to disclose subscriber information during an investigation, their assistance is inconsistent. For example, the Public Safety backgrounder on the bill states:

Basic subscriber information is often required at the early stages of investigations or to fulfill general policing duties. This information can already be provided without a warrant under existing legislation, but only on a voluntary basis, which results in inconsistent access and delay.

RCMP data indicates that ISPs complied with nearly 95 percent of requests in 2010, suggesting that non-compliance involves a very small number of cases. I recently filed a series of access to information requests with local police forces to better identify whether they were running into problems. The answer so far is no. The request asked for “a list of all incidents since January 1, 2009 where a request to an Internet service provider for customer name, address, email address, internet protocol address, or IMEI number was refused.” The Montreal Police responded that there were no records on point. The Halifax Police was very cooperative and undertook a detailed search. This is notable since Bell Aliant is sometimes identified as an ISP that seeks court orders for disclosure of subscriber information. The Halifax Police report:

A search was conducted using key words such as Bell (2022), ISP (1703), computer (540), Rogers (530), Eastlink (119), Facebook (107), Telus (96), internet (90), Aliant (66), Bell/Aliant (8), Internet Protocol (1) and Kodoo (no results). A review was undertaken and we could not find a refusal.

I’ll report on other results as they come in.


  1. Anarchist Philanthropist says:

    It’s begining to be asked.
    Who are the greater threat, groups like anonymous or your local RCMP detachment? My personal thoughts are the RCMP as no one is willing to say no to them.

  2. Greater Threat
    The RCMP because there is never been a “Government” Police force in my knowledge that needs a “Contract” to work for the “Government” do you see the FBI,CIA,TSA,ATF and other around the world asking to have their contract renewed ?? NO because it doesn’t happen. They are federally funded and built so there is no need, But the RCMP does that right there I am sorry it not a Federal Police its a contract security police force sitting pretty in a BS Uniform.

    Watch in who you let have your information PPLZ these police forces have nothing but dishonor behind them so far.

    EXPECT US !!

  3. thecaptain says:

    Why is C-30 required?
    If 95% of requests are responded to then why the need for Bill C-30? Do the police really need to be able to spy on anyone at any time when only 5% of ISPs do not cooperate with police when asked? Why can’t the police in the 5% of cases simply obtain a legal search warrant? C-30 will lead to fishing expeditions and ALL Canadians being guilty until proven innocent. Not to mention that C-30 goes hand-in-hand with C-11.

  4. Google?
    You mentioned Google in your tweet, but I don’t see it here? A mistake on your part?

    I’m against C30, and I find this troubling, but it would be interesting to know what type of information they were so freely given. As for the refusal, couldn’t this be a case of the police being unable to search their own database or that they simply never took notes when it was refused?

  5. If you dont resist this obvious attempt to remove civil liberties from you, then you can expect more intrusions written into law later on. This is all about taking away your liberties and putting it in the hands of the few, and powerful.

    Even if you were neutral you should resist any attempts to limit your freedoms, because it sends a strong message that changes that benefit only a few and potentially burden 99% us will not be tolerated.

  6. Why are you ok with voluntary disclosure?
    Why do you say “non compliance,” like it’s a bad thing when ISPs don’t hand over information voluntarily? If we’re not ok with mandatory disclosure, why should we be ok with “voluntary disclosure” in almost 100 percent of cases? Shouldn’t we demand a law that says NO DISCLOSURE WITHOUT A WARRANT?

  7. Devil's Advocate says:

    “Shouldn’t we demand a law that says NO DISCLOSURE WITHOUT A WARRANT?”
    ++++, Anonymous!

    This is THE line of thought that *should* be prevelant, but seems to be curiously missing from everyone’s minds in all of these arguments!

  8. Anarchist Philanthropist says:

    Why should i worry I got nothing to hide.
    Wrong you have everything to hide. It’s your right to have a private life and secrets of your own.

    Benjamin Franklin once said “Those who give up freedom for security deserve neither.

    I think this is truer today than it was back then.

  9. C-30 and C-11
    C-11 is not even remotely enforceable without C-30. In framing it as an anti-child-pronagraphy law and all-out accusing non-supporters as being supporters of child pronagraphers, Toews, and the CONS, have done us a favor and put themselves in a difficult situation. The extremist claims made by Toews put pretty much everyone in Canada on the defensive and has revealed the facts clearly do not support their claims, when most ISPs already cooperate with law enforcement most of the time. In fact, they’re having problems finding credible accounts of where ISPs have NOT cooperated.

    So where does this leave us? It leaves us assuming their intentions aren’t as pure as they might want us to believe. At the same time it makes them look truly scummy in trying to exploit those most vulnerable in out society. It gets one thinking…if C-30 “really isn’t” intended to catch child pronographers, what is it for? Well we have this nice copyright legislation with digital lock rules so out there than they need an equally extreme privacy invasion bill to give it any teeth. Now, pair C-11 with C-30 and we have a totalitarian control regime around copyright that would make Benito Mussolini proud and better than even the wettest dreams of the staunchest copyright proponents.

    I love this description of totalitarianism, summarized in to 9 words:

    “Do what we say, or we will shoot you!”

    This day and age, you can replace the word shoot with sue. In this case…whether the use is legal or not, if we break the locks, they will sue us.

  10. I’m fairly certain even with ‘snooping’ tech installed that they could still not break a encrypted VPN tunnel connection without dedicating a huge amount of computing horsepower. Even the FBI had to ask Google for the encrypt key to a pimps android phone because they couldn’t crack it’s encryption.

    So … will they also make VPNs illegal, they are needed for secure business connections of all kinds. All this boils down to a technological war that can not be won with so many side effects and caveats to make it foolish to begin with.

    I have a far more elegant solution in three words: Innovation, Quality, Value. Then infringement will shrink to obscurity and we will all be far better off … but for the media lobbyist or IP lawyer.

  11. @ Crockett
    RE: “Innovation, Quality, Value”
    I was just reading this months Discover magazine that talks about that. Rather than even bother playing catchup, the west is happily just pounding the old ways through with punative legislation as the eastern europeans and Asians head off into the 21st century.
    Time for the lot of us to take a class in Cantonese or Mandarin in preparation for the next world power 😉

  12. @Gregg”
    “Time for the lot of us to take a class in Cantonese or Mandarin in preparation for the next world power ;-)”

    There’s a lot of truth in that statement!!! I, for one, will be more than happy to the Americans lose their grip on the title of “dominant world power”. Sure, for a while, it might cause a great deal of financial woes for much of the world, but I think when things settled, Canada, as a country, would be a lot better off for it. I have a deep loathing for the United States (Not it’s people in general) and what it’s doing to the world.

    Here’s an entertaining clip about US spending. S

    Apparently this is banned in the US…wonder why? 😛