Today a judge in Ontario, Canada ruled against the Peel police for violating Charters of Rights when they requesting nearly 40,000 cell phone records from Telus and Rogers. In this particular case, the Peel police (with a legal warrant from another judge) requested tens of thousands of customers’ information from 21 Telus addresses as well as Rogers 16 cell towers. Some of these cell towers range from 10 to 25 kilometre from the device connecting to it. The customers’ information includes names, addresses and billing information. Moreover, if the recipients of calls made by the customers in question are themselves customers of Telus and Rogers, their information would also have been surrendered to the police. This particular case involved the investigation of a series of jewellery store heists.
While the Peel police eventually withdrew their order, Telus and Rogers decide to bring forth the case to Judge John Sprout of Ontario Superior Court. Agreeing with Telus and Rogers that 99.9% of the evidence gathered would not be relevant to the case, Judge Sprout wrote “The disclosure of personal information of the production orders required went far beyond what was reasonably necessary to gather evidence concerning the commission of the crimes under investigation”.
The judge also noted that this has become the routine police work. In their affidavit, Telus reported that it had received 2,500 such requests and Rogers said it produced 13,800 files alone in 2013. For more details of the case, please visit thestar.com .
These are legal warrants signed by the judges. What responsibility do judges have when giving a blanket warrant to the police collecting information on the basis of investigation? Shouldn’t our judicial system have more narrowly defined perimeters on warrants? How do you strike the balance between aiding law enforcement versus protection of citizens’s privacy? Please opine in the Comments section below!