Talk to cops about data request: Harper

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on...

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Daniel Proussalidis, National Bureau

, Last Updated: 11:59 PM ET

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper has shed little light on how or why government agencies ask for customer data from telecom companies and Internet service provides an average of 1.2 million times per year.

"Various Canadian investigative, law enforcement and other agencies will from time to time request information from telecom companies," Harper said Wednesday. "They always do this, Mr. Speaker, in accordance with the law. They always seek a warrant when they are required to do so."

His comments come a day after interim Privacy Commissioner Chantal Bernier released information about how often federal, provincial and municipal agencies ask private companies to divulge client data that is normally private.

A document released by Bernier's office indicates about 785,000 customer accounts were subject to disclosure through "valid requests" in 2011 — the latest year for which information was available.


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