Telecom giant Rogers got 175,000 official requests for customer info last year

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Telecommunications giant Rogers Communications says it received almost 175,000 requests for information about customers from government and police agencies last year.

In a new report, Rogers says about half of the requests in 2013 were to confirm a customer’s name and address.

The company says it responds to such requests so police do not issue a warrant to the wrong person.

Otherwise, Rogers says, it provides customer information only when forced by law, or in emergencies, after the request has been thoroughly vetted.

The firm says if it considers an order to be too broad, it pushes back and, if necessary, goes to court to oppose the request.

However, the report does not say how often that happens.

Rogers is the first major Canadian telecommunications company to issue a so-called transparency report on co-operation with law enforcement.

The release comes amid pressure from civil libertarians and privacy advocates for companies and governments to be more forthcoming.

A report by University of Toronto researchers recently gave low marks to Canada’s Internet service providers about how they handle customer information — including whether they routinely give personal data to spy agencies.

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© The Canadian Press, 2014