A person borrowed a cellphone and made a prank call and the following day the police contact the owner of the phone. The constable said "I can pull your call logs and you would have no say in it". My question is by call logs did he mean the fact that a phone call had been made from the phone to the restaurant or a recording of the call itself? If it's just the fact that the phone had called the restaurant what would that prove?

Can the police pull the "call logs" without the owners permission? Without a warrent? Rogers, the service provider, said they weren't sure if the police could do this and said the owner had to write to their legal department (not phone).

This incident took place in Victoria, B.C., Canada.

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    Consult a lawyer, these things vary from state to state, country to country. – user10211 Aug 4 '12 at 2:40
  • Of course law enforcement can pull the log files no issues and it's easy for them to get a warrant. You dont expect to phone provider contact you because you made a prank call. The POLICE is contacting you to get you before you make another prank call by the another phone. – Andrew Smith Aug 4 '12 at 8:59
  • No expert, but the log probably contains the time, number, and possibly location from where the call was made. The latter could be relevant as one could then have an alibi. – Dennis Jaheruddin Mar 12 '15 at 10:59
  • Try requesting migration to Law.SE? – WBT Feb 8 '16 at 16:23

Storing all phone call conversation recordings would be infeasible. Phone companies keep logs to bill you from (from, to, time, duration, etc) and within jurisdiction they can be court ordered to disclose such information (to an extent).

With that said it may also be perfectly legal for the restaurant (a participant in the the call) to record all calls for training purposes. I know in Australia it is legal if disclosed at the beginning of the call.

Unless the pranks are violent, sexual or repetitive to an extent of harassment, or to an emergency service (police, fire, medical) I really don't think the police or anyone else in that matter will care enough to follow it up- They hopefully have more important things to worry about.

If you are concerned consult legal advice as recommended by Terry Chia.

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    Just a quick note: all cell and landline providers store logs of the called numbers, including blocked numbers. In the UK and US, getting these numbers requires a warrant. In some states / circumstances, a second warrant is required to reveal any blocked numbers. The likelyhood of the CPS (or your-country-equivilent) granting a warrant for such a petty misdemeanour is microscopic. (disclaimer: IANAL) – Polynomial Aug 4 '12 at 8:28
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    @Polynomial, that depends on the kind of prank. If it crosses the border to insults or threats or creates costs, refusal of a warrant is unlikely. Germany is even working on adding "insults" to the "no warrant needed" list (for suspicion of terrorism, child pornography and copyright infringement). – Hendrik Brummermann Aug 4 '12 at 13:16
  • Is it really that infeasible to store all conversations? As far as I recall there was technology to compress the audio down to 64 kb/s. That's 8kB/s per phone call. The fastest LTO tape drives can according to spec write 300MB/s. That means in theory you can store 37500 concurrent conversations using one single tape drive. And since some customers are not speaking on their phone constantly, you probably need even less than one tape drive per 37500 customers to pull it off. That doesn't sound infeasible, but you of course have to persuade the customers to pay the additional cost. – kasperd Apr 9 '16 at 9:32
  • @kasperd Interestingly, you may be right... Judging from a quick Google search, the most well-known operators in Canada have 8-9 million subscriptions. Assume that each subscription during a whole year only makes a single, 60-second call. You would still have to store 9*10^6*60*8 kB=4.32 TB. Apparently, Americans make or answer 6 calls a day. If this information is true also for Canadians, you get 4.32 TB*6*365=9.4 petabytes. You could store all these calls by spending $1M (if we are to believe wired.com/2015/03/google-nearline). I hope I'm wrong. – A. Darwin Apr 9 '16 at 10:28
  • @A.Darwin Sounds quite plausible to me. I don't spot any obvious mistakes in those calculations. – kasperd Apr 9 '16 at 12:16

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