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Cell Tower “Dump Records” – Fishing in the Digital Age

Earlier this month, Superior Court Justice Michael Quigley sharply criticized a decision by Peel Regional police to go on a massive informational fishing trip.  In reading the (cranky, reactionary) Maclean’s article on the decision, I came across the following description of the cops’ harebrained scheme (emphasis added):

Desperate for leads, detectives turned to the only source they could think of: the cellphone towers nearby. Hoping that the thieves called each other in the 90 minutes before the robbery, the cops convinced a justice of the peace to order Rogers, Telus and Bell to hand over the details of every single cellular call (time, number dialed, etc.) that passed through the two towers closest to the crime scene. The results were overwhelming. Between 10:20 and 11:50 on the morning of Nov. 17, 2006, more than 7,000 potential suspects used their phones in the general vicinity of the store. (via Macleans.ca – Without a trace.)

Hey, let’s go one better – let’s give the police access to everyone’s phone records any time for any reason!  Then they could have 35,000,000 potential suspects!  Lord knows they’re all probably guilty of something

Oh, and in case you were wondering – Justice Quigley let the tainted evidence in.


December 5, 2008 - Posted by | Surveillance | , , , ,


  1. […] Um, excuse me, did Mr. Pearson just say that when I post a letter, I should have a reasonable expectation that my letter will be turned over to the police?  Because I don’t not currently have that expectation.  But then again, neither did the 3,700 “potential suspects” from the Tower Dump case… […]

    Pingback by “Putting out the trash” - MAG agitprop on Patrick « rightsnow canada | December 8, 2008 | Reply

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