Data issue took 3 years to surface

Data issue took 3 years to surface:

Documents made public for the first time this week show that government agencies requested customer data 1.2 million times per year from just nine Internet and telephone companies. But those documents are from December 2011. For three years they were not made public by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

“It would have been helpful, it would have advanced the debate several years ago had it come out,” said Christopher Parsons, a PhD candidate at University of Victoria’s political science department.

On his privacy issues blog, Parsons has developed a form to allow Canadians to find out how much of their personal information is stored and shared.

Canada’s privacy laws allow for Canadians to request this information from telecoms, which must respond. The form can be found at

Though they got my affiliation wrong (I’m currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto) I still do wish that these numbers had emerged earlier.