Should Canadians have the right to know if police agencies are sweeping up private cell phone data?
David Christopher with the Open Media Foundation says it’s asking the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to investigate, after Canada’s two largest police forces, the RCMP and the Ontario Provincial Police, refuse to say whether or not they are using a device known as “StingRay.”
“These devices are incredibly invasive. By design they suck up the private cell phone of everybody in a given area regardless of if you are under suspicious. So really, this is something that can affect just law-abiding residents no matter where you are in Canada.”
Christopher says he wants a probe of the matter, because use of the technology gets to the very core of Canadians’ civil rights.
“They certainly need to be held accountable on a serious issue like this, because we all have a basic right under the charter of rights and freedoms to live our lives and to be able to communicate using our cell phones without the fear of being spied on by the police or by the government.”
The Vancouver Police Department has said it never reveals covert techniques because providing such information could be detrimental to police investigations into serious and violent crime.