So far, as one of the “Five Eyes” nations that cooperate with the NSA in gathering signals intelligence, Canada has not joined the global scorn-fest aimed at the United States following the Snowden leaks. But Canada’s Supreme Court has indirectly put American courts in a less than flattering light when it comes to privacy protection. As we previously reported in April, in R. v. TELUS Communications Co., the High Court of the great white north required police to seek special wiretap orders to obtain text messages, regardless of whether they were acquired in transmission or while in storage. Earlier this month, in R. v. Vu, the court held that police cannot search an electronic device found in the course of a lawful search of a person’s premises unless a warrant specifically authorizes search of the electronic device. While the “traditional rule” in Canada is that any receptacles found on premises can be searched pursuant to a warrant authorizing a search of the premises generally, the court held that electronic devices are “markedly different” from other receptacles because of the vast amounts of private information they can hold. U.S. courts have struggled to find a consistent line on similar issues.
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Canadian High Court increases privacy protection for electronic devices
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