Canada Dashboard Digest

Opinion: At the Border: No Warrant Needed

ONLINE PRIVACY

September 17, 2010

When it comes to crossing the border, there is no distinction between "business" and "personal" data for portable devices like laptop computers, Michael Power writes in Borderline Privacy. Power cites a legal case where it was determined that a search of laptops at national borders does not conflict with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He suggests that when it comes to privacy, the focus should be on the content itself rather than on the device where data is stored. "Unless there is a change in how we think about laptops and other portable devices and their role in our lives," he writes, "we're going to have to accept that one takes a device across a border at one's own peril." Meanwhile, a spokeswoman from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association said earlier this month challenging laptop searches at U.S. borders may prompt constitutional challenges in Canada.
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