No warrant needed to trace Internet use
TORONTO, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- A judge in Canada has ruled that Internet users have no expectation of privacy and police can use track people through Internet protocols without warrants.
The ruling by Ontario Superior Court Judge Lynne Leitch is binding on lower courts, and gives law enforcement a new tool to use in investigating such matters as child pornography, the National Post reported Friday.
Ruling in a child pornography possession case, Leitch found that the Canadian Charter does not provide a "reasonable expectation of privacy" regarding subscriber information retained by Internet service providers.
Police asked Bell Canada in 2007 for subscriber information on an IP address used by someone who had allegedly accessed child pornography. Bell provided the requested information without inquiring whether police had a search warrant.
The defense argued that police should have been required to obtain a search warrant before seeking such information.
Privacy rights advocates cautioned the ruling could have consequences for law-abiding Internet users, the Post said.
"There is no confidentiality left on the Internet if this ruling stands," James Stribopoulos, a law professor at York University's Osgoode Hall Law School, said.