If you get arrested in Canada and you have a cell phone or smart phone, the Supreme Court Of Canada says that the cops can search your phone without a warrant as long as the search relates to what you’re being arrested for. Here’s some more details from the CBC:
The Supreme Court of Canada says law enforcement officials can go through the cellphone of someone under arrest as long as the search relates directly to the arrest and police keep detailed notes.
The Supreme Court of Canada split 4-3, with the minority arguing cellphones and personal computers are “an intensely personal and uniquely pervasive sphere” that needs clear protection.
The majority also found that passwords protecting phones don’t carry much weight in assessing that person’s expectation of privacy.
“An individual’s decision not to password protect his or her cellphone does not indicate any sort of abandonment of the significant privacy interests one generally will have in the contents of the phone,” Justice Thomas Cromwell wrote.
I can see two reactions to this:
- There will be those who say “I have nothing to hide so this is a non-issue for me.”
- There will be those who say “cops shouldn’t have access to my phone without a warrant.” Then they’re going to figure out ways to encrypt their phone to make it difficult for cops to search them or set up their phone to erase after “x” number of failed attempts to enter the passcode.
Honestly, I am not sure which side of the fence that I am on when it comes to this. Though Glenn Greenwald’s TED Talk on why privacy matters does sort of swing me towards the latter camp. What are your thoughts on this? Please leave a comment below and share them with us.