Rogers continues advocacy against ‘Tower Dump’ requests in 2016 transparency report


Rogers has released its fourth transparency report, detailing the number of requests for customer information it received from government and law enforcement over 2016, and how many times it acquiesced to those requests.

“Our Transparency Report is a source of pride for us at Rogers as we strive to protect our customers’ privacy rights, while being a good corporate citizen and contributing to public safety in Canada,” wrote chief privacy officer David Watt in an accompanying letter.

In its latest corporate responsibility report, competitor Bell refrained from citing specific numbers, while Telus’ transparency report for 2016 was included in its sustainability report, revealing a total of 65,183 requests.

In 2015 report, Rogers focused largely on the landmark R. v. Rogers Communications ‘Tower Dump’ case, which entailed a 2014 police request for all data from a single operating tower that would have led to Rogers disclosing information involving over 30,000 customers.

“Our Transparency Report is a source of pride for us at Rogers.”

Rogers fought the request along with Telus, and won in Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice.

This year, Watt stated that ‘Tower Dump’ requests are still something the carrier is patrolling closely.

“In 2016, we continued to be vigilant with these requests and pushed back against 60% of the ‘Tower Dump’ orders we received, narrowing the requests so that information was only disclosed for about 10% of the customers who were part of the original request,” writes Watt.

Watt also notes that the company has broken down the exact number of customers impacted by ‘Tower Dump’ requests, resulting in an increase of about 37,000 requests compared to its previous methodology, which only counted the number of queries required to complete each ‘Tower Dump’ order.

This mainly accounts for the increase from 74,977 total court orders and warrants in 2015 to 115,954 in 2016, though there was also a general increase of about 4,000.

Of the total number of 2016 court orders and warrants, which compel Rogers to provide customer information to authorities or attend court to testify, 113,257 were disclosed, 653 were rejected and in 2,044 cases, no information was available.

Additionally, government requirement letters — which compel Rogers to provide information to the requesting government agency — went up by a small margin from 2,284 to 2,689.

In other parts of the report, however, the requests decreased. Requests from foreign governments (which must be processed through Canada’s Department of Justice) went from 46 in 2015 to zero this year, while emergency requests from law enforcement agencies went from 9,021 to 7,706.

In total, Rogers that it received requests impacting 126,349 customers in 2016.

For the full report, check out the source link below.

Source: Rogers