People love their phones. Phones now accompany us pretty much wherever we go, whatever we do. People use their phones in church, in restaurants, at the theatre, and, apparently, while committing crimes. And our phones are leaving a trail behind us.
Police know this. They also know that records are created every time our phones connect to cell towers to send and receive calls, SMS messages, or data. Every one of those records indicates that a phone (and, implicitly, the person carrying it) was in range of a particular cell tower, at a particular time.
This could be useful information if, say, one wanted to identify the person (or people) responsible for a string of jewelry store robberies.
The method will be familiar to many from movies and T.V. shows: all you need to do is to gather a list of every single person who was near each of the locations of interest at the time of interest and analyze the patterns. And, hey, that cell tower data can provide that list….
But is it legal?
Lawyers are not required to collect client financial information, prepare reports on that information and submit to warrantless searches from the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act...
Earlier this month, the Federal Court of Appeal was asked to consider whether the Minister of National Revenue had erred in confirming the decision of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to deny the Humanics Institute’s application for charitable status. CRA denied the application on the basis that: 1) The Humanics Institute’s purposes were too broad; 2) the activities stated in support of its purposes were not charitable; and 3) it did not demonstrate that it would have direction and control over certain of its resources, as its proposed funding of a foreign scholarship could not be considered to be the organization’s “own activities” or the funding of a qualified donee.