Police Forces Refuse to Pay Rogers Fees for Tracking Suspects’ Smartphones

Rogers’ duty to society is to provide help to the RCMP and other police forces to help track suspects through their mobile phones, claim RCMP officials as they refuse to pay new fees imposed by the incumbent.

Rogers logo

This may sound like a no-brainer to some of us, but Rogers believes it is entitled to charge a small fee for such actions, “in some cases”, reports the Alaska Highway News.

You may recall that Rogers, just like other carriers across the globe, helps the police when needed by providing information about its customers. In the first Transparency report, unveiled last year, there were more than 9,000 emergency requests from the police in life-threatening situations, for example.

The dispute began last May when Rogers informed the RCMP division and other police services across Canada, that it would charge new fees to law enforcement agencies, starting August 1, 2014. The carrier started charging the RCMP and other police forces for tracking customers’ movements through cellphone data and for the production of affidavits certifying records in cases where testimony was required to explain the records in court, the newspaper informs.

However, RCMP officials told their superiors that Rogers has no legal basis for charging them. Instead, RCMP should charge Rogers for failing to comply with a court order if it refuses to provide the demanded services.

While the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police recommends police services not sign “acknowledgment of fees” notices distributed by Rogers, it is up to individual police services to decide whether they pay the fee or not. The majority decided not to pay those fees.

“It is the (association’s) view that police services throughout Canada should not be required to bear the costs associated with court-ordered activities,” the recommendation said. “The demand for these services will only increase as electronic crimes committed over mobile services continues to grow.”

Both RCMP and Rogers are silent on how much the carrier charges for such services.

One noteworthy piece of information, though: The Mounties paid more than $2 million to telecom firms in 2012–13 in connection with customer information. Rogers had 175,000 data requests during that timeframe. But this is just the tip of the iceberg: Government agencies seek private data from telecom companies well over 1 million times annually, according to Canada’s Interim Privacy Commissioner Chantal Bernier.

Technology enthusiast, rocker, biker and writer of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter or contact me via email: istvan@iphoneincanada.ca

  • Al

    This makes me really angry. Do cops think that people work for free?! There is absolutely no justification for any entity to demand that a company do something for free. Especially hundreds of thousands of times a year!

  • FragilityG4

    So when the government can’t afford to spend cash on tracking persons of interest, you’re okay with criminals that could be caught to walk free? I know this topic is right on the border but I’m with the RCMP with this one.

  • in the USA carriers charge high fees for information as a deterrent, so forces only use for important cases

  • Al

    “…when the government can’t afford to spend cash on tracking persons of interest…”

    Seriously?! You’re actually claiming that statement has legitimacy?

  • FragilityG4

    You’re claiming that there’s never been funding cuts in the government? You’re also claiming the RCMP does not work on a budget?

  • Chrome262

    If there is a court order, then compliance is expected, and courts usually understand a fee is implied. there are also court costs, the cops pay that, don’t see them arguing to have that waved. Not I am all for Rogers getting screwed, but if this keeps such requests down, the ones without a court order, then yeah, charge fees. The number of requests without an order is huge, and kind of scary.

  • Chrome262

    I think he means there are lots of ways of tracking and finding criminals, thats what their job is. and before there was smart phone data, they did it just fine. and seriously if protecting my privacy, makes the cops have to spend more time proving a case, then I am fine with that.

  • FragilityG4

    But this isn’t a privacy matter. And yes they were able to track before smartphones but if the tracking can be enhanced so that criminals are apprehended sooner, why would anyone be opposed?

  • Al

    Budgets can be adjusted and they were given time to do so. But funding of this relatively minimal amount is inconsequential, especially if it saves time and money in the long run – which is the point of the process to begin with.

    Do you want to spend money on 2 detectives for 2 weeks at $80/hr ($6000) (or whatever) trying other means to get the info they need, or do you spend $5 (or whatever) for the service from a phone company to accomplish the same thing?

    C’mon man, use a little logic here.

  • Al

    Why?

    For one reason, it means that ANY company must bow to the will of the cops in terms of doing additional work. Imagine a small company that is trying their hardest to be profitable and keep people employed… and then they are told they have to perform some task for the cops, which ties up one of their employees for extended periods of time. How is the work for the company going to get done? Does the company then hire another employee? Where is the money going to come from for that?

    Immensely big or very small… A government does not have the right to take over your work force and demand regular services for free.

  • Sheck

    It is every citizens duty to cooperate with the police, corporations included, period.

    Rogers can only ask for payment if the RCMP is putting undue workload on Rogers which would have to be proven. And the fees must only cover what Rogers is paying to comply with the requests.

    End of discussion.

  • Tim

    I don’t care if Rogers makes money off of this (a rare case). The police need to be held in check. With any investigation there are costs and government agencies should not be able to force businesses to expend their own resources to assist in police investigations. This is why we pay taxes.

  • Tim

    Wrong. It is our duty to cooperate with police until their privileges, granted under the law, intersect with our rights as citizens. If they lack lawful means to attain information from us, then compliance is at our discretion. It’s not about duty. It’s not the “end of discussion”.

  • youreallyhavenoclue
  • FragilityG4

    Id be inclined to agree with you if we knew Rogers was only charging for the cost amount and not making profit. But with their track record I would think they’re making a little extra.

  • FragilityG4

    I find it hard to side with a company that for so many years charged a phantom fee in the SAF and called it a government charge. They are the last ones that should call something unfair. In this case they should remain silent and help out society instead of taking advantage of it.

  • Chrome262

    I don’t disagree with your assessment of Rogers, you are right, they are the first to take advantage of a system. But its the precedent that is being set, or would be set that is the issue. I am all for screwing Rogers, but other companies charge fees for the information world wide, even interpol pays fees for telecom use during and investigation. also if in Canada its decided that these services are part of doing business in Canada, what other governmental services will no be come free of charge?

  • FragilityG4

    A very true and valid point. Like I said before this topic is right on the line. I just personally rather side more to public safety in this case. But it’s right on the line.

  • Al

    There is no reason they shouldn’t make a little extra. In a company the size of Rogers, they don’t need to, but that’s irrelevant. This is more a discussion on principle and practicality. Forget that it’s Rogers that’s wanting this fee and imagine it’s Wind or some other underdog company.

    With over a million requests a year across all carriers, the cops & government are clearly abusing the service.

  • FragilityG4

    I find it hard to believe that police acting in the interest of public safety is considered abusing the service.

  • Al

    You keep missing the point. Here’s an example to better illustrate…
    – First… Forget this story involves Rogers… Totally NOT the point of this topic.
    – You own a small business.
    – The photocopier broke at the local cop station and they desperately need photocopies to fight crime.
    – They are insisting on, not only using your photocopier, but forcing you to have an employee take all the photocopies for them, and forcing you to pay all associated costs.
    – They do this to the tune of $30,000 in toner, $20,000 in paper, $3000 in maintenance fees, $20,000 in staff salary, $3000 in added hydro and other related costs.
    – Now, as a small business owner, do you feel the cops have every right to do this and not pay you?

  • FragilityG4

    There’s a sexual predator lurking in your neighborhood. Smartphone tracking can find him/her within minutes but the Police budget has run dry and tracking is the first thing cut.

  • Al

    Are you seriously saying it’s a business that should foot the cost for fighting crime? Did my example not clear anything up for you?

    They need flyers printed, but you’re on the verge of bankruptcy BECAUSE GIVING STUFF AWAY FOR FREE, ESPECIALLY TO EXCESS, IS AN INCREDIBLY STUPID WAY TO RUN A BUSINESS.

  • FragilityG4

    Like I’ve said, this topic is a fine line but I’m on the side of public safety. However having done a little research on what would happen the other way around I have amended my thoughts. I was curious if Rogers wanted to have police presence at their store if it is a no charge service or not. There is a fee for duty officers that the police collects. Having read this I believe Rogers is right in wanting payment however, I would only want them to collect payments that would cover the cost and take no profit as a civic duty — you shouldn’t profit off of someone else’s crime.

  • Tell us how you really feel 🙂

  • Al

    Countless number of companies profit off of crime. Every single piece of equipment that the cops use to fight crime is acquired at a profit… from paper clips to helicopters. This is no different.

  • Al

    sledgehammer approach

  • Dave Feland

    Rogers can charge a small fee for this – after all, there is some cost to them. But it should be small – and it doesn’t explain their statement “in some cases”. Really? Why some and not others? Can they justify this?

  • Al

    This is the type of reply I expect from people who have zero intelligence and can find no valid way to support their own opinion.

  • Fireball

    I personally don’t think that Cellphone providers should maintain or even be able to access this data in the first place. The only time that it should be available is when either the subscriber calls 911 and activates E-911. Or there is an immediate need for Emergency services to reach/locate that person at that moment because of an immediate threat to Life. The fact that Police agencies are trying to use Cellphone data as Lo-Jack and do their jobs for them is ridiculous.

    Cellphone providers should not be maintaining this data or have it accessible after the fact, and should have a technological barrier in place to prevent
    Cellphone Metadata from being actively used to track someone.

  • Fireball

    Of course a troll like you would try to use the sexual predator thing. Vic Toews tried that once and it didn’t do him any good. Cellphone data should not be stored or available to anyone. This is a fundamental violation of our privacy.

  • FragilityG4

    Troll? Hahaha okay. If you’re not concerned with sexual predators or murders or terrorist than all the power to you. I for one happen to think of mine and my families safety.