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Cellphone Privacy In Canada: Encryption Triggers Need For Warrant

timothy posted about a year ago | from the rot13-baby-rot13 dept.

Canada 111

codegen writes "The Ontario Court of Appeal has just ruled that the police can search your cellphone if you are arrested without a warrant if it is not password protected. But the ruling also stated that if it is password protected, then the police need a warrant. Previous to this case there was no decision on if the police could search your phone without a warrant in Canada."

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111 comments

ugh (1)

Inanna-qui-baille (2350110) | about a year ago | (#42966251)

I'm setting a password right now o__O

Re:ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42966591)

A password does not mean its encrypted...

Re:ugh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967597)

If they have a warrant how will the encryption help you?

Re:ugh (2)

J'raxis (248192) | about a year ago | (#42967957)

The actual article says password. The Slashdot summary, incorrectly, says encrypted.

That said, you shouldn't just rely on a password, but also encrypt your data. If you only have a password set, if the police get a warrant, they probably have forensics software that can simply bypass your phone's login program. (Just like how if a thief has a boot CD, that Windows login password of yours isn't going to protect your data.) However, if you encrypt your data, decrypting it without you giving up your encryption key is beyond the means of most police departments---meaning you have a choice as to whether or not you wish to comply. You get to choose whether or not what you're protecting is worth a "contempt of court"or "obstruction" charge or whatever.

Re:ugh (1)

Golddess (1361003) | about a year ago | (#42970019)

You get to choose whether or not what you're protecting is worth a "contempt of court"or "obstruction" charge or whatever.

That assumes that those charges can even be applied. Ignoring the fact that Canada's equivalent to the 5th Amendment should have something to say about being forced to divulge information, how does one prove that the person hasn't forgotten the password? Or maybe it wasn't a password at all, but a passfile, and they've lost that file? Can you be held in contempt of court if the police have a warrant to search a padlocked box, but you are unable to produce the physical key?

Re:ugh (2)

xombo (628858) | about a year ago | (#42968033)

On (Canadian) BlackBerries turning on encryption is synonymous with creating a password to use the phone.

Re:ugh (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year ago | (#42967947)

You should have a password on your phone anyway... if it grows legs and walks off in a coffee shop, then the password will probably protect it (at least to the point that they won't bother taking your data from the phone and would simply factory reset it and be done with it). The fuzz snooping in your phone is far from the only reason to put a password on it, and, I would hope, is probably the least likely to be snooping in your phone by a very wide margin.

Re:ugh (1)

J'raxis (248192) | about a year ago | (#42967989)

Actually, you should be encrypting it, not just password-protecting it. If a thief steals your phone, what with identity theft and so on all the rage nowadays, your private data might be just as valuable to him as the device itself.

Spread em' (5, Insightful)

Jeslijar (1412729) | about a year ago | (#42966263)

This seems directly equivalent to "If your front door is unlocked the police can come in and snoop around without a warrant"

You could say the same thing with several other things like...

"if your car is unlocked they can rummage through it legally without a warrant"

and

"If your fly is down, they can do a cavity search legally without a warrant"

Re:Spread em' (2)

nebular (76369) | about a year ago | (#42966385)

The difference between this situation and your house or car is that the house or car is not being arrested and you don't have them on your person when you are arrested (I'd love to meet someone who can fit a car in their pocket). If you are arrested the police can go through your pockets and search your person. If you have a wallet or datebook, they'll be going through that too. The cell phone is the modern equivalent to those. If you don't put a lock on it and leave it in your pocket it's fair game like anything else.

Re:Spread em' (4, Insightful)

ark1 (873448) | about a year ago | (#42966777)

So if I put locks on my pockets, Police won't be allowed to search them?

Re:Spread em' (1)

nebular (76369) | about a year ago | (#42967389)

Sort of. In an arrest without warrant, the main reason for the search is to find anything that might harm the police officer. The other evidence, though often crucial, is secondary. If all your pockets had locks, they may have just cause to break the locks to see if you had weapons. Only other option I could see is just taking your pants (which is plausible, it's good question for a police foundations course)

Re:Spread em' (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#42968959)

There was just a big case in the US where finding incidental criminal drug evidence while searching for weapons in pockets was ruled Ok, but that police couldn't trump up fraudulent claims after the fact that weapon searching was going on.

Prople were standing around, and there was no evidence police actually fealt a threat, quite a bit to the contrary, so there was no reason to search, so the search was illegal and so the drug evidence was thrown out.

Re:Spread em' (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#42969621)

This is also the #1 reason to have witnesses around when dealing with cops. You'll lose everytime it's your word against there's, but when there's 4-5 of you saying the same thing, the tables turn. I'm not saying a drug dealer walking is a good thing, but the case you mention is one of thousands of illegal search scenarios that occur every year, and most of them are unjustifiable and are never reported because they don't produce anything and the people who's rights were violated just want to move on.

Re:Spread em' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967881)

Law says nothing about pocket locks, so probably they could just cut your pants open.

Re:Spread em' (1)

J'raxis (248192) | about a year ago | (#42968029)

Maybe not that specifically, but if you're carrying a locked case in one of those pockets, yes.

Re:Spread em' (5, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#42966445)

1. Home owner takes trash to curb.
2. SWAT team swoops into unlocked door.
3. Ha! The mattress tags have been removed! Another victory for law enforcement!

Re:Spread em' (4, Insightful)

c (8461) | about a year ago | (#42966599)

3. Ha! The mattress tags have been removed! Another victory for law enforcement!

I was going to point out that it's perfectly legal for the consumer to remove the tags from their own mattresses.

But it occurs to me that the validity of the charge doesn't really matter that much after said consumer has been punched, tasered, kicked, cuffed, slammed into the police car, cavity searched, held in a jail cell with the finest local thugs, and charged with resisting arrest and removing mattress tags.

Re:Spread em' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967715)

I guarantee they won't even bother with charging you for removing mattress tags, just resisting arrest.

Re:Spread em' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42966611)

Not a crime to remove those tags. The seller cannot, the buyer is free to do so.

Re:Spread em' (1)

paiute (550198) | about a year ago | (#42967197)

Not a crime to remove those tags. The seller cannot, the buyer is free to do so.

But any rebroadcast, reproduction or other use of this post without the express written consent of Mr. paiute is still prohibited.

Re:Spread em' (1)

mcneely.mike (927221) | about a year ago | (#42967057)

But if, say, I am hand-cuffed to said mattress and, again for imaginary purposes, am being whipped by my wife, are the police women (in full uniform) allowed to get involved? Say, to help with the whipping? Or to help me do cavity searches in them when they remove their uniforms and....

Wait.... what were we talking about?

Re:Spread em' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967149)

You're getting whipped and doing the cavity searches. But they're the ones in uniform. I hate switches.

Re:Spread em' (1)

SilentStaid (1474575) | about a year ago | (#42967547)

...you must also spank officer Zoot! Wicked, wicked Zoot. After that, you may do with her as you like. And after that, you must spank me.

Re:Spread em' (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about a year ago | (#42967179)

Actually, yes, that exact thing is in Canadian law already.

If your desktop computer is password-protected, the police require a warrant to look through it. If not, it's fair game. The court ruling said that it's like having a lock on your house to show that it's private property. It doesn't necessarily have to be engaged, but it has to be on there. A lock or password shows that you don't want strangers to get in there without your permission.

It's one of the many reasons my laptop is encrypted.

Bear in mind I'm an Engineer and not a lawyer, so I don't have the access, time, or talent to look up the references.

Private property doesn't require a lock (1)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#42969369)

The court ruling said that it's like having a lock on your house to show that it's private property.

Which is nonsensical reasoning because it is private property regardless of whether a lock is engaged or not. My cell phone has the ability to be locked whether I choose to use it or not and it is my property whether I choose to secure it or not.

A lock or password shows that you don't want strangers to get in there without your permission.

It should be the default assumption that permission is not granted. I can always acknowledge after the fact that I'm fine with someone entering my house or snooping on my cell phone but just because I forget to lock my house one day doesn't mean I'm ok with the police coming in and having a look around. I freely acknowledge that not securing your property might be a bad idea for reasons that are obvious but lack of a lock or password is not an invitation or permission for anyone to go looking around just because they can.

Re:Spread em' (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year ago | (#42970621)

If your desktop computer is password-protected, the police require a warrant to look through it. If not, it's fair game. The court ruling said that it's like having a lock on your house to show that it's private property. It doesn't necessarily have to be engaged, but it has to be on there. A lock or password shows that you don't want strangers to get in there without your permission.

Not quite. They can only do it if it falls under the plain view doctrine(if you can see it, and it's dealing with, or in the commission of a criminal offence), if they're there conducting a warrant from say kiddie porn or hacking websites based on a tip or have evidence or that you're distributing for example. But they only have the warrant for say your laptop, and they see your desktop then by law the plain view doctrine states that the 'object was within view, and within the scope of the original warrant.'

In law in Canada, property is already divided into public, semi-public, and private. Your house(or dwelling house) is already considered private. Having a lock on it, regardless or not is moot it's not even required to be on there. Entering a dwelling house, or searching it without a warrant is illegal. I'm up to date on the law fairly well, and I've never heard of this. The entire premise though is a charter violation via unreasonable search.

And being realistic, I expect that this case will end up before the SCC and get struck down as unreasonable. It's unjustifiable before S1 and a fishing expedition.

Car analogy time! (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | about a year ago | (#42967187)

"if your car is unlocked they can rummage through it legally without a warrant"

More like - if you are stopped for speeding, and you have a kilo on the back seat in plain view, they can seize it and arrest you. However, if you stashed the kilo in your trunk, they cannot open it to search without either your permission, or a warrant.

Re:Car analogy time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967787)

However, if you stashed the kilo in your trunk, they cannot open it to search without either your permission, or a warrant.

Actually, they can. There is no part of a motor vehicle operating on a public roadway that the cops can't search without a warrant. It's been that way since my constitutional law class in high school 15 years ago and long before then.

Welcome to the police state.

Re:Spread em' (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#42968001)

"If your fly is down, they can do a cavity search legally without a warrant"

Is that definitely "can" and not "must"? This is important for my, um, research.

Re:Spread em' (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42968293)

"if your car is unlocked they can rummage through it legally without a warrant"

That's already how it works in the US, at least in California. Not locking your vehicle when told to step out has been used to imply consent to search before. Don't forget! Unfortunately my car can only be locked when the doors are closed, and when you step out of the car, cops can be intolerant of you locking them. Try to do it anyway, because that will prove you do not consent to search.

Re:Spread em' (1)

Rary (566291) | about a year ago | (#42968569)

Except that they're talking about arrests. When you're being arrested, you can expect to be searched. However, there are limits on the search that can be done. This is merely a logical interpretation of the existing laws as applicable to phones.

Huh? (1)

chowdahhead (1618447) | about a year ago | (#42966269)

So if you leave your garage door open, the police can also walk up your driveway and search your house because it's not locked...otherwise they need a warrant. That makes sense.

Re:Huh? (1)

Cyberax (705495) | about a year ago | (#42966393)

Not really. They can't legally open any "locked" doors, even if it requires to simply turn the doorknob. Though if you leave your garage door wide open then the police might still search the house because of the "crime in progress" suspicion rules.

Re:Huh? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#42966459)

Based on various news stories, anecdotes and some personal experience with similar situations, the police can search your open garage the same as your property, but they can't enter the house through the garage unless they suspect a crime in progress, etc. However, they can't start opening cabinets and closets in the garage - only what's in plain sight unless they have reasonable suspicion.

It's sort of like many old video games. They can keep going as long as they have a clear path - they can't move that pesky pebble or blade of grass (IE: opening doors or drawers).

Re:Huh? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42966573)

So if you leave your garage door open, the police can also walk up your driveway and search your house because it's not locked...otherwise they need a warrant. That makes sense.

Yup. That is more or less exactly what the US Supreme Court said recently http://www.executivegov.com/2010/08/ninth-circuit-court-secret-gps-tracking-is-legal/ [executivegov.com]

If his car had been behind a locked fence or in a closed garage then the police's actions would have been a "search", but because he had no physical security around his house that fact on its own means it was not a search when the police attached a GPS tracker to his car.

This also known as the Poverty Exception to the Fourth Amendment.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967177)

The US Supreme Court has little jurisdiction in Ontario.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967375)

It looks like someone didn't get the memo.

Interesting (1)

Painted (1343347) | about a year ago | (#42966301)

Refreshing to see the courts stand up for the citizenry, as opposed to the police. Makes me glad that whole "let's move to the states" plan my wife had fizzled....

Works for me (4, Insightful)

nebular (76369) | about a year ago | (#42966333)

Makes sense to me. If I were to be arrested without a warrant, the police can go through all the pockets of my wallet and look at every card and piece of paper I have in there, however if I were to have a lock on my wallet, they would need a warrant to open it. The modern cell phone is very much the same as the wallet and datebook of the past. If it's not locked, they can go through it.

Re:Works for me (3, Interesting)

RobinH (124750) | about a year ago | (#42966383)

Not quite the same. Your wallet doesn't contain a log of all electronic communications you've had with other people. Remember, they're searching through the communication histories of *those* people too. That means even if you lock your own cell phone, the police can get access to communications you've had by searching other people's unlocked phones. I'm not saying that's wrong, exactly, but it's different from a wallet.

Re:Works for me (0)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about a year ago | (#42966489)

The better analogy if your arrested with your house keys should they then be able to search your house without a warrant? Your average smart phone does not have to much info on it but it has the keys to the cloud services that do.

Re:Works for me (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#42966833)

Nope - if you are arrested while carrying your house then they may search it. Unless, of course, it is locked - in which case they have to get a warrant.

See, it still doesn't make sense as an analogy.

Re:Works for me (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#42966497)

Perhaps the analogy works if you narrow it down to something like credit cards or receipts in your wallet. There's a record on other devices that can be traced to your spending, but finding it in your wallet makes things a lot easier (for the police).

I'm curious how secure your cellphone needs to be. For the sake of simplicity, I just use a simple pattern (a straight line) to lock my phone - it's more to keep people out for just a couple minutes if one of my dumbass friends wants to change the language settings while I'm in the bathroom rather than actually protect the contents so it's not much more secure than a zipper on a physical wallet. Does that constitute a lock, as it is intentioned to prevent access?

Re:Works for me (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#42967123)

I'm curious how secure your cellphone needs to be

Well, according to The Fine Article:

But the court ruled Wednesday his rights were not breached. Had the phone been password-protected or otherwise locked to outside users, however, police would have needed a search warrant to examine its contents.

It sounds like any form of lock on the phone and they'd need a warrant for it.

Though, it is a little disappointing that if your phone isn't locked it's fair game -- I've owned phones that didn't seem to have any method of locking them.

Re:Works for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967527)

Do keypad locks to prevent pocket dialing count? You could argue it's not really a password, but still.

Re:Works for me (2)

nebular (76369) | about a year ago | (#42967165)

I"m not a lawyer, but I was trained on the rules for warrants and searches for Canadian police. So my non legal view would be that yes the single line unlock would be sufficient so long as there are other possible options that could be entered and be incorrect. Like making the combination on your luggage 000. If it's locked the police can't ask you for the password, or try and guess the password without a warrant, no matter how simple it is.

Re:Works for me (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42968263)

There's no reason why the government should ever be able to get a warrant just to see what's in your cellphone, only to verify if something they think is in there is in fact in there. They can already get your communications logs by warrant by getting them from your telecoms provider, who already knows who you called when and for how long.

Re:Works for me (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#42969117)

There's no reason why the government should ever be able to get a warrant just to see what's in your cellphone, only to verify if something they think is in there is in fact in there. They can already get your communications logs by warrant by getting them from your telecoms provider, who already knows who you called when and for how long.

You're confusing a cellphone with a cellphone.

Thing is, if your phone is a dumbphone that makes calls and texts, yes, the police can get the information from the carrier becaues that's all the device can do.

However, these days phones can also be data storage devices and carry things that your carrier will NOT have access to. Like say, your calendar. Or your games. Or your notes or other documents you may have stored. In which case the phone part is easy, but the rest of your data is a "container" like a briefcase or suitcase or safe.

If you have only the default lock, that container is like a shopping bag where anyone can clearly see into it. But if it has a lock, it's more like a briefcase or something with a cheap (or good) lock on it which requires a warrant to search.

Which is probably proper. Things like your addressbook or contact list are murkier - they may fall under the container side of things (it's your data) or be obtained from logs.

Basically, it really depends what they're going for. If it's just who you talked to or texted to, fine, it's easy, get it from the carrier. If it's data you may have on the phone unrelated to its telephony capabilities, then it may require a warrant.

Re:Works for me (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42969277)

You're confusing a cellphone with a cellphone.

No, no I'm not.

However, these days phones can also be data storage devices and carry things that your carrier will NOT have access to. Like say, your calendar. Or your games. Or your notes or other documents you may have stored. In which case the phone part is easy, but the rest of your data is a "container" like a briefcase or suitcase or safe.

It may shock you to find this out, but I actually know this. I've at least fiddled with if not owned a phone of literally every generation we've had. Bag phones, brick phones, early feature phones, triplets, razrs, nokias, windows phone, android, you name it I have diddled it. Congratulations, you just wasted an entire paragraph babbling about shit I clearly knew.

If you have only the default lock, that container is like a shopping bag where anyone can clearly see into it.

Physically, yes. But why does that give the cops the right to rifle through it?

Which is probably proper. Things like your addressbook or contact list are murkier - they may fall under the container side of things (it's your data) or be obtained from logs.

No, it's not proper. At least in the USA, we are meant to be protected from unwarranted search and seizure. That means that they should not have the right to search you as a fishing expedition if they stop you. The idea is that searches are meant to be conducted to find a specific thing they think you have. They are never meant, per the constitution, as a means of finding out what you're up to, which in turn is a means of finding something to charge you with. Searches are meant to support specific charges.

There is nothing whatsoever proper about a cop searching your cellphone to find out what's in there, and there never will be, and no amount of you saying so contravenes the constitution.

Re:Works for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42969849)

Problem in the United States is that the Constitution was thrown out a long time ago.

Re:Works for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42966579)

Last time I checked, even without a passcode on my phone it says:
Slide to UNLOCK

Which means the phone is already in a locked status, regardless of whether it requires a passcode or not in addition to the sliding action.

Re:Works for me (1)

nebular (76369) | about a year ago | (#42967287)

The decision was whether or not you made it locked out for other people. That lock screen is there to keep the buttons from accidentally being pushed, or the screen being touched. It is the default state for the phone and it explains right there what to do to get access.

If you go with the door analogy, the slide to unlock is the handle, keeps the door closed so the wind doesn't blow into your house. Turning the latch actually locks it.

Re:Works for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967761)

Lol, wait a minute.

So your saying if I *close* my door and not *lock* it then I am merely preventing the wind and rain from damaging my furniture and anyone who passes by is free to enter my home?

Re:Works for me (1)

nebular (76369) | about a year ago | (#42968259)

No, I'm not. However you are not preventing anyone from entering your home either. What prevents someone entering your home is the trespassing law.

When you are arrested without a warrant, the police have the right to search your person. They can go through your wallet, credit card reciepts, date book, phone book, diary containing a long winded confession. If you could put your house in your pocket, then if the door was unlocked, they could search that too. But, if any of those things were sealed in some way, say an envelope or a cheap lock on the diary, then they could not look inside.

People keep thinking of your pants is the same as your house. In the case of an arrest without warrant the search warrant for your pants is implied, they just don't have the right to jimmy any locks.

Re:Works for me (1)

PetiePooo (606423) | about a year ago | (#42966727)

To me, it's all about your "expectation of privacy." At least in the USA, that's the legal standard they use to determine whether a warrantless search is permissible. If my cellphone is locked, that is a very strong indication that I expect the contents to be private. I'm glad that at least the Canadian courts agree. I just wish the US courts did as well, but they seem to be eroding individual privacy as much as they can get by with.

Re:Works for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42966857)

I'm glad you feel safe! An unlocked door or cellphone does not mean "feel free to snoop around". Pretty soon you'll have to put a lock in all bodily orphases.

Title misleading? (1)

RobinH (124750) | about a year ago | (#42966337)

My understanding based on a news story this morning was that if the device was in any way "locked" then they needed a warrant. Locking, even with a gesture unlock or face recognition unlock doesn't really say anything about encryption.

Re:Title misleading? (1)

dpdjvan (2551774) | about a year ago | (#42966669)

"Had the phone been password-protected or otherwise locked to outside users, however, police would have needed a search warrant to examine its contents. " So I think a gesture unlock, like slide to unlock or similar default would not require a warrent but a pattern that someone set would be.

Re:Title misleading? (1)

RobinH (124750) | about a year ago | (#42969309)

Just to be clear, I don't think the iPhone's "slide to unlock" would qualify as locking the phone, but if you have one of those gesture locks, like on Android, where you have to slide around 3 or 4 different points in the right order, then that would qualify. I also think facial recognition would be the same, though it's iffy. What if the officer just holds it up to your face?

Re:Title misleading? (2)

dimeglio (456244) | about a year ago | (#42966695)

There's a difference between a lock (password) and a door knob (the slide to unlock/face to unlock). Also, aren't most phone's contents encrypted? I believe the iPhone is.

Re:Title misleading? (1)

Spectre (1685) | about a year ago | (#42966843)

Yes, iPhones, at least on any semi-recent version of iOS are encrypted. All the remote-wipe feature (usable from, say, the Find my iPhone app) does is erase the encryption key on the phone. The contents are effectively still there, but it is computationally ridiculous* to retrieve them.

*I should trademark the term "computationally ridiculous". I like the way it encompasses "theoretically possible ... but it would take so long that by the time you achieved the goal, all of your equipment used to get there would have long ago disintegrated".

Room within a room. (3, Interesting)

concealment (2447304) | about a year ago | (#42966421)

A real world analogy: encryption is like a room within a room.

If you were to enter a residence, and find it divided into apartments, you'd probably have to get a warrant for each locked, separately numbered door.

The real question is whether one individual can have multiple rooms within a room. If your phone and computer are encrypted, do they need a warrant for each?

Re:Room within a room. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42966509)

I prefer the dream within a dream analogy.

Re:Room within a room. (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#42966539)

Warrants are usually specific in what they can search. In the warrant says "any electronic device" then yes. If the warrant says "cell phone", then no. If the warrant is overly broad, you can probably make a case later on that anything seized was illegally obtained because the warrant was too broad to be valid.

Re:Room within a room. (1)

redelm (54142) | about a year ago | (#42966883)

OK, with a warrant they can search. Break anything they need to. But compelling passwords is a different matter. Sure, they might break the device trying to get what is inside, but if you don't mind (or losing it at a border), I'm far for certain they can compel passwds (but can for civil discovery).

Compulsion or coercion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967205)

"Wait here in this cell with Bruno. He's been convicted five times for violent anal assault. Oh, and hold this bottle of EZ Glide. We'll be back in 72 hours with a decision. If you need us, don't do anything, because we're too far away to hear the screams."

So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42966513)

They've added one more trivial paperwork hurdle to the police violating your privacy to fish for reasons to arrest you. Yay. Does anyone really believe that a judge will carefully weigh a suspect's rights against "probable cause" before issuing such a warrant?

Canada = police state. Spend tourist $ elsewhere. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42966631)

There's not much more to be said except that the idiots who inhabit Canada
have voted for the swine who made all this police state crap possible.

Canadians brought this on themselves.

It's a shame, but virtually all the "Commonwealth" countries used to
be some of the best places in the world, but they have all been ruined
by nanny state governments' overreaching fascist power grabs.
AND they cannot own guns ( let that be a lesson to you simple-minded
cunts who think it's smart to get rid of all the guns ).

Re:Canada = police state. Spend tourist $ elsewher (1)

slackware 3.6 (2524328) | about a year ago | (#42966827)

Please tell me where there is a better place to live than Canada.

Re:Canada = police state. Spend tourist $ elsewher (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967253)

Malaysia

Good, from the title I thought it was worse (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about a year ago | (#42966889)

From the title "Cellphone Privacy In Canada: Encryption Triggers Need For Warrant" it sounded like if the Police find out you're encrypting your phone that it will trigger a warrant... because "obviously" you're up to no good.

But from the summary, it just sounds like something that makes sense. That if they arrest you and want to access your encrypted phone, then they need a warrant.

I'm not a huge fan of them going through the phone in any case, but at least it's preventing them from coercing you to unlock the phone or face bigger fines "on a whim"

DMCA (2)

RichMan (8097) | about a year ago | (#42966909)

My phone is protected by an electronic protection device. You have to push the "ON" button to enable interaction.
Breaking that top-secret process violates the DMCA and means you are breaking the encryption and security apparatus on the phone.

Thanks DMCA for not definining minimum secutiry levels.

Warrant will be issued presently. (1)

Bonewalker (631203) | about a year ago | (#42967153)

Is it really going to be that hard, or very long, before the warrant is issued anyway? You were arrested, for cripes sake. So, a full search is coming your way, phone lock or no. And, since you are in Canada, I sure hope you have receipts for all those mp3's on your phone.

Re:Warrant will be issued presently. (2)

J'raxis (248192) | about a year ago | (#42968529)

So you encrypt your devices with strong encryption and a good passphrase, not just password-protect them. Now it's still up to you if you wish to either divulge the passphrase or face something like a "contempt of court" charge. Depending on what information one is trying to secure, one might choose the latter.

Re:Warrant will be issued presently. (1)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#42968897)

Is it really going to be that hard, or very long, before the warrant is issued anyway? You were arrested, for cripes sake.

I'd think it depends a lot on what you were arrested for. You got drunk at a bar and punched someone...why do they need access to your phone for anything other than a fishing expedition for something else to charge you with in addition to assault?

Begs the question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967431)

Do they consider a finger-swipe pattern to be a "password"? Or is it something you have to input as text?

YOU FAIL IT (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967579)

Juliet Are togetheqr

Somewhat pointless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967649)

Assuming the fun data isn't on anything removable and unencrypted, what value does this ruling provide that enacting your charter right to remain silent doesn't? I suppose if you have a crap phone that doesn't self-terminate or can be cracked simply by looking at the grease marks on the screen you have a problem. Or worse, a crap phone that doesn't crypto everything...

Of course, since this is in Canada, I assume everyone is using a BlackBerry, so they're immune from this. :P

What will a warrant do for them? (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#42967723)

The issue of a warrant is irrelevant. If my cell phone is encrypted, they can search it all they want, warrant or no warrant, and they won't get anything because it's all encrypted.

Re:What will a warrant do for them? (1)

RobinH (124750) | about a year ago | (#42969339)

As stated above, the title is wrong. It's saying if it's "locked" they need a warrant. Doesn't have to be encrypted.

FIRST pOST (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42967861)

up today! If you would take 4bout 2 bben many, not the

Why would you give up your password? (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about a year ago | (#42968689)

And don't tell me that you have to. There is no case of someone being forced to do so in Canada (as it is basically the contents of your mind and you don't have to self incriminate). The police regularly have to cut open safes because the owner won't give them the combination.

Most smart phones are pretty secure right now so if the police go fishing you are probably safe. But in some big case the phone will probably sit in evidence for a long time resulting in a hack for that (now old) version of the OS becoming available. Then the police will be able to get in.

But for most of us it is just a good idea to password your phone because of thieves. I doubt that too many slashdotters are running a secret drug empire.

UK common law precedence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42969469)

Under English law, a police person commits no crime if they enter your home uninvited through an open window or unlocked door. People in Britain last Summer and the one before were outraged to read to hear new stories telling of police departments actually sending their officers out on missions to enter private homes and cars, and leave 'calling cards' that read "this could have been a burglary" . These action were actually part of police-state '1984' style psychological warfare against the populace, but their legal justification was as stated.

Canada, NZ, Australia (and many smaller English speaking regions previously EXPLICITLY controlled by the British) have exactly the same common law principles. Whereas the USA went a different way, and recognizes (to a very limited and rapidly diminishing degree) concepts of privacy on 'unlocked' private property, other British linked nations do not.

So, if your phone lacks a 'moat' or 'locked front door' it is 'inviting all-comers'. You are, of course, outraged at this idea. After all, the phone company itself is not supposed to 'sniff' the private contents of your phone just because it attaches to their service, so why should the government have this power.

It is interesting to note that due to similar common-law issues, the UK long refused to pass 'anti-voyeurism' laws, for fear they would also restrict the ability of government agents to use hidden cameras. The British 'tradition' is that uniformed police agents of the State largely employ the same 'rights' of ordinary citizens (the USA, on the other hand, legally recognises its police as a 'master race' tribe with vastly enhanced rights over ordinary citizens). In the UK, lying to the police or putting your hands on one non-violently is NOT an offense under most circumstances. In the USA, either will earn you a VERY long prison sentence.

So there you go. Outside the USA, most English-speaking nations allow agents of the state to freely enter 'unlocked' private property including your phone or computer. If the facility is 'locked' (including a password or encryption) the agents of the state must show 'good cause' to a legal agent as to why they should bypass the 'lock' and enter. Without a warrant, you may prevent entry.

For the same reason, 'trespass' was not a criminal offense in the UK, nor was squatting, until very recently. The government wanted the power to both 'trespass' and 'squat' when it suited their agents, and laws against 'civilians' would have also restricted the police. Today, the massive extension of the police-state in the UK means that the government knows only a very tiny minority knows their Rights, or will demand that police action respects these Rights. As a result, incredible numbers of repressive laws are passed each year- laws that like in the USA the police are effectively immune to.

A warrent eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42970235)

We don't use 'warrants' in canada, in canada we have 'court orders'

Encryption != password (1)

phorm (591458) | about a year ago | (#42970363)

In other articles I've read, this says password, not encryption.
Encryption is good to have, but it seems the minimum requirement for a warrant is less than that.

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