There have been a lot of cases of unauthorized access to the Canadian Police Information Center (CPIC) database. Yesterday I wrote about Lethbridge Police Service Constable Michael Fielding using CPIC for his own ends and his demotion for that violation, and I’ve previously written about RCMP Constable Todd Glasman’s unauthorized use of CPIC to hand information to his Hell’s Angels girlfriend.
The issue of unauthorized access to the CPIC system is hardly new. Fielding and Glasman are just two of the most recent cases that have come to light. Breaches of the CPIC system have gone on routinely, probably from the day after the system was created!
The Canadian Police Information Center (CPIC) is the system that the RCMP maintains to keep track of people and crimes. Like all government databases, it’s got its issues with “data integrity”, or the correctness of the information stored in that database.
The Canadian Police Information Center (CPIC), in its website, bills itself as follows:
The Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) was created in 1966 to provide tools to assist the police community in combatting crime. It was approved by Treasury Board in 1967 as a computerized information system to provide all Canadian law enforcement agencies with information on crimes and criminals. CPIC is operated by the RCMP under the stewardship of National Police Services, on behalf of the Canadian law enforcement community.
Given the recent illegal uses of the CPIC system, and the issues of data integrity within the system itself, it’s probably a good idea for anyone who has ever had any interaction with the police (of any kind) to find out what the RCMP actually has on you, stored in that database.
You have the right to find out what information the government holds on you, and the RCMP’s CPIC system is no different.
If you want to find out what information the RCMP is holding about you, download the Personal Information Request Form from http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/tbsf-fsct/350-58-eng.pdf, fill it out completely and send it to the address below:
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Attn: Yves Marineau
Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator
RCMP MAILSTOP #61 – 73 Leikin Drive
Ottawa , Ontario K1A 0R2
If any of the information you get back is inaccurate, then make sure you get it corrected before it causes you some unwanted trouble.
Police across Canada base their actions on information stored and sent via the CPIC system. If you don’t believe a simple CPIC notice can cause you a LOT of grief, then you’ll want to take a lesson from the experience of a man named Dave Lind.
A simple CPIC notice turned his and his family’s lives upside down and cost them tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend themselves from the resulting RCMP screwup, all because of one CPIC notice. From the ruling in R. v. Lind:
34 In summary, I find that a very serious violation of the accused’s Charter of Rights under section 8 has occurred and that section 24(2) of the Charter must come into play to ensure the good repute of the administration of justice and the evidence must be and is hereby excluded pursuant to section 24(2). I cannot and do not find that the police acted in good faith in this particular case nor that they truly felt a potentially dangerous situation existed. Neither do I find the police acted reasonably in this case by searching for registration documents on the motor vehicle but, instead, used that particular concept to perform an illegal search. The defendant, throughout, had protested the ongoing seizure and search and offered authorization papers for possession of the firearms and the operation of the bus.
Naturally, the RCMP members involved weren’t about to admit they made a mistake.
I’ll have a complete writeup on Dave Lind’s nasty experience with the Swift Current RCMP this coming week. It will shock and horrify you.
Don’t let it happen to you.
Download the Access to Information form, fill it out and send it off. You just might be very thankful you did!