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TELUS Touts Privacy Commitment, Warns About Verizon Privacy Issues

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TELUS has taken to their company blog to reiterate to Canadians how they value and have fought for the privacy of its customers.

Shelly Blackburn, the company’s Certified Information Privacy Professional, goes on to explain how Verizon or any other US wireless company setting up in Canada could put your information at risk. Below is a snippet:

There has been extensive media coverage about Verizon turning over the telephone records of millions of Americans to the National Security Agency.

It’s different here in Canada… at least for now.

Back in October of 2012, we took the fight for our customer’s privacy all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada and, in March of this year, the decision was announced – we won. It involved a highly unusual court order, which raised concerns with the team at TELUS about customer privacy. It is a complex case, but at its core we had been ordered by a court to turn over the content of text messages between two customers every day, as little as three hours after they were sent.

[…]

The Canadian government needs to take a hard look at this important issue and ensure that Canadians’ privacy expectations continue to be met; especially if a U.S. communications company sets up shop here. Some US laws, such as Patriot Act, can be quite invasive and could have detrimental impacts on the level of privacy experienced by Canadian wireless users.

Ironically, wireless networks in Canada including TELUS’ own shared LTE network with Bell have recently come under scrutiny over national security concerns. Why? These networks were built by Chinese-owned Huawei (founded by a former member of the People’s Liberation Army), which as been accused of espionage, thus already banned by the U.S. and Australia for any telecom projects there.

WIND Mobile’s network is also built on Huawei’s technology. But sources previously noted to The Globe and Mail Verizon has told Ottawa it would replace WIND’s Huawei networks at a potential cost of $100 million with its own faster LTE network, to ease the Federal government’s security concerns.

What do you think? Is having Verizon setup in Canada a potential privacy risk for Canadians? Or should we be worrying about existing networks at home?

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