Canadian ISPs Won’t Tell You Much About Your Own Data:
Ever wondered how long your telecom provider retains your user data? Or if law enforcement has requested your records?
This “Access My Info” tool was launched in June, and now, responses have started to trickle back in.
“We’re starting to be able to compare and contrast some of the larger company’s responses,” Parsons said.
Using either Parsons’ form letter, or the AMI tool, subscribers can request that their telecom providers clarify the types of data they collect, tell them how long they retain such data, provide copies of relevant records, and whether their information has been disclosed to law enforcement or government agencies. But perhaps unsurprisingly, policies and practices tend to differ from one provider to the next.
“I think that the letters from TekSavvy are comprehensive. They’re not trying to play games,” Parsons said, referring to the responses sent out by one of Canada’s smaller internet service providers. “They’re actually taking seriously the questions that individuals are making and not trying to blow them off. That stands in variance with, I would say, almost every other member of the industry.”
Parsons said that in other responses, “the detail that is present, or is more often the case, absent, is really quite breathtaking. The only thing I have from Bell is a one page sheet that’s almost worse than useless. It almost doesn’t respond to the customer’s question.”
Parsons told me that discerning how long certain types of data are retained has proven particularly hard, for example.
“Retention schedules matter. How long you store data should not be a top secret corporate secret, because it’s about citizens,” said Parsons. ”Here we’re talking about basic, basic, basic privacy information. How long do you store information about me? None of these companies aside from TekSavvy have tried to comprehensively respond to that question.“
This is a detailed piece by Matt Braga, and one that I’d highly recommend if you’re interested what the Telecom Transparency Project has (and hasn’t) learned about Canadian telecommunications companies’ data retention schedules.