ARCHIVED - Public Notice CRTC 2000-97

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Public Notice CRTC 2000-97

Ottawa, 13 July 2000

Seeking comments on provision of subscribers' telecommunications service provider identification information to law enforcement agencies

Reference: 8665-C12-10/00 and Bell Canada Tariff Notice 6479
This public notice seeks comments on a proposal that law enforcement agencies and other government agencies, be provided the name of a subscriber's telecommunications service provider upon the agency's request.

Consensus report proposal


On 9 April 1999, the Network Security Sub-Working Group of the CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee, now CRTC Industry Steering Committee (CISC) submitted a consensus report to CISC. The consensus report was developed by telecommunications carriers and public law enforcement agencies. If adopted, the recommendation in this consensus report would allow law enforcement agencies and government agencies that have the authority to issue warrants and/or subpoenas, access to the name of the firm providing telecommunications services to a subscriber.


The consensus report states as follows:
Introduction - This report addresses the requirement for LECs' customers' Local Service Provider Identification ("LSPID") information to be declared non-confidential for the purpose of revealing such information to public law enforcement agencies. Public law enforcement agencies are defined in Item 2175 of Bell Canada's General Tariff titled Customer Name and Address, section 1(a) which states: "Customer Name and Address is a service provided by the Company, upon request, to public law enforcement agencies only. For the purpose of this tariff, public law enforcement agencies also include any government organization (e. g. Fisheries) which has the legislated authority to issue warrants and/or subpoenas".
Principle - Public law enforcement agencies frequently require the names and addresses or other specific information associated with telephone numbers uncovered during the course of ongoing investigations. The traditional relationship between telephone numbers and holders of central office (NXX) codes and suffix numbers, no longer exists with number portability. To facilitate this process, the identification of the Local Service Provider ID: (LSPID) becomes the first step. Therefore, the Network Security sub-working group has reached a consensus on the appropriateness of making LSPID available to public law enforcement agencies requesting such information.
Conclusion - The Network Security SWG is soliciting concurrence from the CRTC for disclosure of LSPID (Local Service Provider Identification) information to be authorized to public law enforcement agencies. Once this Consensus document is approved by the Commission, the ILECs will amend their tariffs (Bell Canada General tariff Item 2175, s.1(a) or equivalent) as applicable. Other LECs will file notice with the Commission to specify to whom the LSPID information is to be provided, and under what conditions and confidentiality requirements.

Bell Canada Tariff Notice 6479


In addition to the consensus report, Bell Canada has filed Tariff Notice (TN) 6479, dated 15 May 2000, which proposes a service similar to that discussed in the consensus report. Accordingly, TN 6479 will be considered as part of this proceeding. Comments received regarding TN 6479 will be made part of the record of this proceeding.



The Commission is requesting comments on TN 6479 and the consensus report proposal generally, as well as with respect to the following issues.

Is the information confidential?


First, should the identity of a subscriber's telecommunications service provider, in a multi-carrier environment, continue to be considered confidential under the Terms of Service applicable to incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) and the comparable confidentiality provisions applicable to competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs)?


In Telecom Decision CRTC 91-2, Criminal intelligence service of Ontario - Release of information by Bell Canada, dated 12 February 1991, the Commission denied an application relating to the release of technical information regarding telecommunications facilities to law enforcement agencies in the absence of prior legal authorization. The Commission concluded that the information in question was "information kept by Bell Canada regarding the customer" within the meaning of Article 11.1 of Bell Canada's Terms of Service. The Commission also stated the following:
In the Commission's view, provisions concerning the release of customer information for the purposes of law enforcement must, among other things, strike an appropriate balance between the subscriber's interest in privacy and the public's interest in law enforcement. The Commission considers that the current Article 11.1 strikes the appropriate balance between those interests.
As noted by Bell and by interveners in this proceeding, subject to the Charter, Parliament has set out, in the Criminal Code criteria relating to legal powers, such as authorizations, that may be exercised in order to obtain information for law enforcement purposes. These criteria provide for the control of law enforcement procedures through the judicial process. The Commission considers Parliament and the courts to be the appropriate arenas for determining what are, or should be, the proper procedures for authorizing the release of the information described in CISO's applications.


The Commission also notes that it has established a Carrier Services Group regime in order to ensure, among other things, that incumbent carriers treat information relating to their competitors' customers, including service provider identification, in a confidential manner.

Section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms


The consensus report proposes that the identity of a subscriber's telecommunications service provider would be communicated to law enforcement agencies without any form of prior legal authorization, for example, a warrant.


Section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides that "everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure". The Supreme Court of Canada, in Hunter v. Southam, [1984] 2 S. C. R. 145, has indicated, in the context of section 8, that "an assessment must be made as to whether in a particular situation the public's interest in intruding on the individual's privacy in order to advance its goals, notably those of law enforcement". Where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, the courts have established that s. 8 of the Charter generally requires prior authorization by a judicial officer as a precondition to a criminal-law search, on a standard of reasonable and probable grounds both as to the commission of an offence and as to the evidence to be afforded by the search. In R. v. Plant, [1993] 3 S. C. R. 281, the Supreme Court of Canada discussed factors to be used when considering informational privacy in the context of section 8, including the nature of the information itself and the nature of the relationship between the party releasing the information and a party claiming confidentiality. The court stated that "it is fitting that s. 8 of the Charter should seek to protect a biographical core of personal information which individuals in a free and democratic society would wish to maintain and control from dissemination to the state. This would include information which tends to reveal intimate details of the lifestyle and personal choices of the individual".


Accordingly, the Commission seeks comment on whether, in a multi-carrier environment, there is a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to the identity of a subscriber's telecommunications service provider. Would approval of the proposal amount to authorization of a warrantless search or seizure contrary to section 8 of the Charter?

Defining telecommunications service


The Commission notes, further, that if the information in question should only be provided pursuant to a legal authorization such as a search warrant, an issue may arise as to whether the service in question can be properly characterized as a "telecommunications service" within the meaning of the Telecommunications Act. This issue has been raised in the context of the proceeding initiated by Telecom Public Notice CRTC 99-10, dated 16 March 1999 (and see also Telecom Public Notice CRTC 99-17, dated 4 August 1999). The Commission expects to release a decision in this regard shortly.

Notice, consent, scope of use, and safeguards


The Commission seeks comment on whether, if TN 6479 and the consensus report were approved, subscribers should be informed that service provider identification information can be provided to law enforcement agencies and other government agencies. If so, how should they be informed? Should subscribers be given an opportunity to consent to the release of the information?


To what extent, if any, should release of the information be limited in terms of the purposes for which it would be used? What safeguards, if any, should be imposed regarding the subsequent use and disclosure of the information?

Who would have access to the information?


Finally, the Commission also seeks co**mment regarding the number and type of agencies that would have access to service provider identification information pursuant to TN 6479 and the proposed consensus report.



Parties wishing to participate in this proceeding must notify the Commission of their intention to do so by writing to the Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N2, fax: (819) 953-0795, by 3 August 2000. Parties are to indicate in the notice their email address, where available. If parties do not have access to the Internet, they are to indicate in their notice whether they wish to receive disk versions of hard copy filings. The Commission will issue as soon as possible after the registration date, a complete list of interested parties and their mailing address (including email address, if available), identifying those parties who wish to receive disk versions.


Interested parties to this proceeding may file comments with the Commission, serving a copy on other interested parties by 24 August 2000. Submissions longer than five pages should include a summary.


Interested parties may file reply comments with the Commission, serving a copy on other interested parties, by 7 September 2000.


Where a document is to be filed or served by a specific date, the document must be actually received, not merely sent, by that date.


Parties wishing to file electronic versions of their comments can do so by email or on diskette. The Commission email address is


Electronic submissions should be in the HTML format. As an alternative, those making submissions may use "Microsoft Word" for text and "Microsoft Excel" for spreadsheets.


Please number each paragraph of your submission. In addition, please enter the line ***End of document*** following the last paragraph. This will help the Commission verify that the document has not been damaged during transmission.


The Commission will make submissions filed in electronic form available on its web site at in the official language and format in which they are submitted. This will make it easier for members of the public to consult the documents.


The Commission also encourages interested parties to monitor the public examination file (and/or the Commission's web site) for additional information that they may find useful when preparing their submissions.


Submissions may be examined or will be made available promptly upon request at the following Commission offices during normal business hours:
Central Building
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
1 Promenade du Portage, Room G-5
Hull, Quebec K1A 0N2
Tel: (819) 997-2429 - TDD: 994-0423
Fax: (819) 994-0218
Bank of Commerce Building
1809 Barrington Street
Suite 1007
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3K8
Tel: (902) 426-7997 - TDD: 426-6997
Fax: (902) 426-2721
405 de Maisonneuve Blvd. East
2nd Floor, Suite B2300
Montréal, Quebec H2L 4J5
Tel: (514) 283-6607 - TDD: 283-8316
Fax: (514) 283-3689
55 St. Clair Avenue East
Suite 624
Toronto, Ontario M4T 1M2
Tel: (416) 952-9096
Fax: (416) 954-6343
Kensington Building
275 Portage Avenue
Suite 1810
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2B3
Tel: (204) 983-6306 - TDD: 983-8274
Fax: (204) 983-6317
Cornwall Professional Building
2125 - 11th Avenue
Room 103
Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 3X3
Tel: (306) 780-3422
Fax: (306) 780-3319
Suite 520 - 10405 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3N4
Tel: (780) 495-3224
Fax: (780) 495-3214
530-580 Hornby Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 3B6
Tel: (604) 666-2111 - TDD: 666-0778
Fax: (604) 666-8322
Secretary General
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