Telecom Transparency Reports Could Reveal Sensitive Government Details: Canadian Official

Telecom Transparency Reports Could Reveal Sensitive Government Details: Canadian Official

Canadian official warns against telecoms sharing details of their cooperation with law enforcement through transparency reports.

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This article originally appeared at The WHIR

A senior Canadian public safety official has warned against telecoms sharing details of their cooperation with law enforcement through transparency reports, noting that the practice could reveal “sensitive operational details.”

According to a report on Monday by The Canadian Press, senior assistant deputy minister for national and cybersecurity Lynda Clairmont said in a classified memo that telecoms efforts to reveal more about police and intelligence requests to their customers would require “extensive consultations with all relevant stakeholders.”

The memo was released under the Access to Information Act. Clairmont wrote the memo to deputy minister Francois Guimont in April, offering advice ahead of his meeting with representatives from Canadian telecom Telus Corp.

Telus released its first transparency report in September. The report said that Telus received about 103,500 official requests for information in 2013. The majority of requests were in emergency situations, such as to verify the location of 911 callers, and the company received around 4,300 court-ordered requests.

While transparency reports have become quite common in the US as customers demand more information about how their data is being accessed by the government, few Canadian telecoms have followed suit. Rogers and Telus have both released transparency reports, while Bell Communications hasn’t published one yet.

Google began issuing transparency reports in 2009, and since then, there has been an increase in non-FISA or National Security Letter demands of more than 250 percent, while international criminal investigations increased by 15 percent since the first report.

In the memo, Clairmont said that “transparency is key to giving Parliament and Canadians confidence in our ability to meet both these objectives [security and privacy], but most continue to ensure that sensitive operational details remain protected.”

She said that it should be reviewed whether details could be revealed through “mass aggregate reporting of data.”

This article originally appeared at: http://www.thewhir.com/web-hosting-news/telecom-transparency-reports-reveal-sensitive-government-details-canadian-official

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