Canadian police services refuse to pay fees to Rogers for help in tracking customers

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Canadian law enforcement agencies are reportedly refusing to pay Rogers for help in tracking customers via their phones.

According to the Canadian Press, the RCMP and other police forces claim that footing the bill for court-ordered service is part of Rogers’ duty to society and the telecommunications company is legally obligated to pay for expenses incurred when law enforcement requests help finding or tracking a customer.

The Canadian Press has obtained an RCMP note from last summer that suggest members of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police be asked to stand together and refuse to pay the requested fees. A few weeks later, chiefs apparently recommended that police services not sign the acknowledgement of fees notices issued by Rogers and it would seem most of them have decided against signing.

Rogers first informed law enforcement agencies about the new fees in May. These were set to come into effect on August 1st. CP cites Rogers as saying it pays for most judicially approved requests but sometimes charges a minimal fee.

As part of its 2013 Transparency Report, released in June of last year, Rogers revealed that the majority of requests for information from government and law enforcement agencies were for customer name and address checks. Of the 174,917 requests made to Rogers, 87,856 were for confirmation of name, address and listed phone number. Rogers says it complies with these requests without a court order to ensure a warrant is not issued to the wrong person. It’s not clear if law enforcement agencies are required to pay for this service.

Close behind requests for name and address are court orders or warrants. These requests numbered 74,415 in 2013. In addition, Rogers also received more than 2,500 government requirement letters, to which it is also legally obliged to respond. Presumably these would fall under the judicially approved requests for which Rogers foots the bill.

It’s not clear how much Rogers is charging (or attempting to charge) police for its services, nor do we know the criteria under which law enforcement agencies do or don’t have to pay. However, the Canadian Press cites a Canadian Association of Chiefs spokesman as saying police services continue to enjoy a positive relationship with Rogers despite the current tensions over fees.

[source]CBC News[/source]

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