The Tyee: Police won't say if they use cell phone surveillance technology

After last week's push to revive invasive Online Spying Bill C-30, police are now refusing to comment on whether they have accessed Canadians' cell phone data without a warrant.

Call on your MP to speak out against this intrusive expansion of surveillance powers at OpenMedia.ca/Stand.

Article by Andrew MacLeod for The Tyee

Police in three major Canadian departments have declined to confirm whether they have the technology to identify people in a crowd based on the unique identifiers on their cellphones.

"It reflects a massive invasion of privacy," said David Eby, the executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, speaking about the technology which can be used to capture the International Mobile Subscriber Identity or International Mobile Equipment Identity on cellphones and other devices.

Eby said the BCCLA became interested in whether the technology was being used here after reading about it in a British newspaper article.

During a presentation to a B.C. legislature committee last week, on a day when some 3,000 people gathered on the lawn to protest Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, he described the IMSI or IMEI catcher as "a suitcase-sized device that can capture the identifying signature of cellphone devices that acts as basically a portable cellphone tower that allows the identification of people in rallies or at meetings."

Paired with the federal government's lawful access bill as earlier proposed, the technology would allow such access without a warrant, he said.

Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu, by the way, this week announced he strongly supports the controversial bill, saying the police are handcuffed by current laws. Read more »

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Topics: Online Spying