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.

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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.