Police need warrant for internet information: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of Canada is seen in this August 11, 2011, file photo. (JOHN MAJOR/QMI AGENCY...

The Supreme Court of Canada is seen in this August 11, 2011, file photo. (JOHN MAJOR/QMI AGENCY FILES)

Jessica Hume, National Bureau

, Last Updated: 4:49 PM ET

OTTAWA - Police need a warrant to access basic personal information from telecom providers, the Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The unanimous decision is at odds with the government's anti-cyberbullying Bill C-13, currently before the Senate.

The bill — widely panned by civil libertarians and privacy experts — would allow private telecoms to pass personal information of Canadians to law enforcement even in the absence of a warrant.

The court ruled that was unconstitutional. Police may ask for information and telecoms can, to some degree, oblige. But if that information is to be used in court, a warrant must be obtained prior to obtaining the information, the court ruled.

Open-web advocacy group OpenMedia.ca hailed the court's decision and said "the widespread practice of government authorities acquiring Canadians' private information from telecoms without a warrant must now come to an end."

 

Videos

Photos