Federal Officials consider a new administrative scheme allowing police to obtain basic information about Internet subscribers without a warrant

"In June last year, the Supreme Court ruled police need judicial authorization to obtain subscriber data linked to online activities. The high court rejected the notion the federal privacy law governing companies allowed them to hand over subscriber identities voluntarily.

"The court judgment came amid swelling public concern about authorities quietly gaining access to customer information with little evident scrutiny or oversight.

"Telecommunications companies and other service providers — such as banks and rental companies — now demand court approval for nearly all types of requests from authorities for basic identifying information, the police chiefs say.

"...a discussion paper spearheaded by the Department of Justice was recently presented to the federal, provincial and territorial cybercrime working group of senior officials. It outlined three legislative options for allowing access to basic subscriber information:

— An administrative scheme that would not involve court approval; 

— A new judicial order process or a tweak to the existing regime;

— A judicial order process for subscriber information with a greater expectation of privacy, and an administrative, non-judicial one for less sensitive subscriber data. 

The chiefs say they will keep abreast of the efforts of the working group, which plans to meet next in November. At the same time, two of the chiefs' own committees will develop legislative proposals."