The Public Safety Minister and various police folks are arguing that telecom operators should have to hand over any and all of the following information without a warrant and without an underlying criminal investigation: name, address, telephone number and electronic mail address, Internet protocol address, mobile identification number, electronic serial number, local service provider identifier, international mobile equipment identity number, international mobile subscriber identity number and subscriber identity module card number that are associated with the subscriber’s service and equipment.
None of them have come up with any shred of a justification for such measures, other than empty platitudes that come down to "think of the children" and broken analogies that liken the above information to what you'd find in a phone book. Since both of these supposed justifications are--on their face--worthless, let's speculate about what the real justification might be and whether they can be properly addressed.
- Police need this information to get bad guys but often can't convince a judge that they should get a search warrant or a production order for this information. - The answer is that if you can't convince a judge that the public interest in the police obtaining this information outweighs the individual right of privacy, then you should not be getting it. By definition, it would be an unconstitutional invasion of privacy.
- Police need this information to get bad guys but it takes too long to get a warrant or a production order. - This is a resources or a procedures issue. Frankly, I want it to take some time and effort on the part of the police to be able to pry into the private lives of Canadians. But if it really takes too long, streamline the processes and appoint more judges and justices of the peace. Don't sacrifice individual privacy on the altar of cost-cutting.
- Police URGENTLY need this information to get bad guys and there are lives hanging in the balance. - That's why we have telewarrants and exigent circumstances. Don't use a non-problem to justify stripping away individual rights from Canadians. Every Canadian telco I've spoken to on the topic tells me they will provide this information if a police officer says that the circumstances are exigent.
Maybe I'm missing something here and there is an adequate justification that I just haven't heard yet. If you've got one, leave it in the comments. I'd like to hear it.