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Supreme Court of Canada Rules That Text Messages Are Private

Unknown Lamer posted 1 year,27 days | from the haven-for-terrorist-scum dept.

Canada 143

An anonymous reader writes "The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that text messages are private communication (Official Ruling) and therefore police are required to get a warrant to gain access to the text messages of private citizens. The CBC reports: '[Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Silberman] Abella said the only practical difference between text messaging and traditional voice communications is the transmission process. "This distinction should not take text messages outside the protection to which private communications are entitled," she wrote.'" Quite different from the attitude in the U.S.

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143 comments

Good news, but mostly moot. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43293919)

Text messages are not generally stored on the telco's equipment. They log times and source/destination, but not the message contents. The contents are stored withing telco equipment until they are delivered and then they are deleted. If the recipient's phone always on.

It would cost telcos money to store these things, and if they don't legally have to store them, they're not going to spend money to do so. It's akin to recording phone conversations - it's generally not done because there's no reason to pay for something which doesn't add value.

(edit, captcha: "greedy")

Re:Good news, but mostly moot. (4, Informative)

Punko (784684) | 1 year,27 days | (#43293981)

My understanding is that this particular telco was storing the texts. It wasn't that the police were interested in intercepting the messages live, but rather they wanted their general warrant to let them have access to the copies of the messages.

The Court ruled that a wiretap warrant is required for the police to have access to the copies of the messages.

As as I am aware, this telco is the only major player storing texts.

Re:Good news, but mostly moot. (4, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294225)

My understanding is that this particular telco was storing the texts.

According to the ruling, they stored the texts 'breifly'. It sounded like the police needed a daily capture of the data in order to get everything.

Its not like these were long term logs.

I would guess it was an implementation of the SMS queue where when you send a text that's undeliverable because the destination phone is unreachable it hold its it for a while to attempt to deliver it later. It probably just put all messages into the queue, marked delivered messages when they were delivered, and then purged them daily.

At least that's what it sounded like to me.

Re:Good news, but mostly moot. (4, Insightful)

Synerg1y (2169962) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294517)

Simply put: why should the police have access to anything without a reason? are they better than us? do they know better? are they magical?

Nope they're just people like you and me.

Short or long term neither they, or you and I should have access to anybody else's non-public information without a compelling reason.

Re:Good news, but mostly moot. (1)

vux984 (928602) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294607)

I never suggested they should. I was just clarifying what the telco was doing, as some of the commentary made it sound like the telco was logging everyone's text messages, when that really isn't quite accurate.

Re:Good news, but mostly moot. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43294721)

Nope they're just people like you and me.

Incorrect. Most laws don't apply to them, much like the 1%. The phrase 'blue wall of silence' doesn't exist for nothing.

Stop thinking that life is 'fair'. We live in a caste society. We're in the lower caste, where the people here are simply a commodity to be used up and thrown away, and the upper caste gets all the money from it.

The sooner you realize this, the better, since you'll stop believing in fairy tales like free speech, innocent until proven guilty, fair trials, equality, and all those other make-believe things.

Re:Good news, but mostly moot. (4, Informative)

nblender (741424) | 1 year,27 days | (#43295287)

Telus has admitted that it stores text messages for '30 days' for diagnostic purposes... That's not "briefly", in my opinion.

Re:Good news, but mostly moot. (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | 1 year,27 days | (#43295317)

"briefly" in this case means, I believe, several months. We looked into retrieving them as customers for use (long story, not getting into it), and I think we had 6 months or more to make the request for the text messages.

Re:Good news, but mostly moot. (1)

vux984 (928602) | 1 year,27 days | (#43295497)

Interesting. Thanks. That's not the impression I had gotten from the original article or even the court ruling.

Re:Good news, but mostly moot. (1)

AdamWill (604569) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294887)

As I read the CBC story, the effect of the judgement is that the police will need a specific warrant to gain access to SMSes regardless of whether that means live intercept or requesting them from some kind of storage. Some of the justices argued that the warrant should be required for live intercept but not for accessing a copy of the messages that the provider had made for its own lawful purposes (so this particular case should be allowed, but the court should rule that direct intercepts would require the warrant), but that argument was rejected.

Re:Good news, but mostly moot. (1)

Kleen13 (1006327) | 1 year,27 days | (#43296367)

That's what I understand. Previously they were able to gain access to the stored messages under a General Warrant which is much easier to obtain. Now an Intercept Warrant would be required and is covered under Canada's privacy laws and is much more difficult to obtain. There was also some discussion that Telus would be discriminated against as not all other telecom's "store" sms messages which is the reason they were able to use the general warrants to begin with before this ruling. Cops are cops. They're trying to do their jobs and are using the tools in the toolbox. I'm glad the courts are seeing things for what they are. Kinda refreshing, actually.

Re:Good news, but mostly moot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43294949)

SMS is a store and forward service. Mostly messages are delivered quickly, however if the recipient happens to be out of coverage the message remains in storage. The system won't necessarily try to deliver immediately when the mobile comes back into coverage, there is a timer that sets when it retries. So it could be an hour before it retries even if you were only out of coverage for a few minutes.
The system I was involved with would not let ordinary help desk staff read messages, although they could see sender and receiver and length along with the delivery time. Naturally there were folks who could see the whole message, and they were kept in storage after delivery so a subpoena or warrant could have obtained the message.
So as with all security situations, assume that anyone whose hands it passes through could read it if they so wished.

Re:Good news, but mostly moot. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43296153)

They are not the only major player storing texts. I know for a fact that at another Canadian telecom that they are stored for 30 days regardless if they were sent. This backup copy is a closely gaurded database with only a select few having access. They are stored for this extended period of time for troubleshooting purposes. If a customer calls in and complains that they aren't receiving texts, it is a lot easier to (A) troubleshoot if you have a copy of the messages or (B)prove that the telecom never received any messages.

Good for them (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | 1 year,27 days | (#43293923)

however it's not going to stop the US telco's from bending over backwards to give up all the info they can at the slightest provocation...

Re:Good for them (1)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294005)

Yep, I've been increasingly considering taking what money and skills I have and trying to immigrate to a more sane country. Then I think it's an extreme solution, then the next bit of U.S. insanity takes hold, and I'm considering it again.

Re:Good for them (3)

tnk1 (899206) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294761)

I wouldn't bother. I don't think there is a completely sane government left. You flee one set of crap, but the new country has another of it's very own issues. Some of the Scandinavian countries sound okay, but they have some questionable issues too.

Of course if you have money, most of those issues evaporate no matter where you are.

Re:Good for them (5, Insightful)

BenoitRen (998927) | 1 year,27 days | (#43295047)

He wasn't talking about a sane government, but a more sane country. Sure, every country (and government) has its issues, but the USA is so far gone that it's its own kind of insanity. You'd be forgiven for occasionally mistaking it for a third world country.

Re:Good for them (1)

hawguy (1600213) | 1 year,27 days | (#43295757)

Yep, I've been increasingly considering taking what money and skills I have and trying to immigrate to a more sane country. Then I think it's an extreme solution, then the next bit of U.S. insanity takes hold, and I'm considering it again.

Maybe it would be easier to just encrypt your communications - modern smartphones are more than capable of encrypting txts, emails and voice communications.

Re:Good for them (3, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294279)

Actually, I think they bend over the other way when holding up their end... of the deal. [rimshot] Thank you. I'll be here all week.
Seriously, you are quite right. The U.S. telco's are totally complicit in the buggering of our civil rights. All save the late QWest, that is.

Re:Good for them (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294561)

They're businesses they look at it like this:

a. Fight the system > possible legal consequences > huge legal fees > lose anyways.
b. Give the system what it wants > move on with your day.

Notice how there's no laws governing either way: THAT is the real problem. Can't blame a business for being a business and being loyal to its stock holders, but then again teleco has never been known for doing the bare minimum in all aspects of business.

Re:Good for them (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43295361)

There's a strong case to be made, which hasn't yet been pushed to the US Supreme Court, that texts are most certainly the equivalent to "papers" part of the 4th ammendment, and that the telecos voluntarily giving them over is no different than the postal service handing over letters without a search warrant. Issuing a national security letter for the destination is very different than the contents; in the 17th century, you put the address on the envelope and handed it to the federal government (postal service). Pen traces and email headers are somewehre equivalent to that (you didn't hand those to the federal government) but the contents most certainly should require a properly executed search warrant.

The Conservatives will be angry! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43293975)

The only question now is how long before we can get the same protection for ALL forms of communication, regardless of the technology used.

Re:The Conservatives will be angry! (3, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294089)

You mean how long before the US reinstates the 4th Amendment? Good question.

Re:The Conservatives will be angry! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43294181)

Nice troll. As a conservative I'm a staunch supporter of the 4th amendment. I believe all law enforcement should be required to get a search warrant every time, without exception. This includes peace time and war time.

Re:The Conservatives will be angry! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43294277)

I suspect the OP was referring to the Constitutive Party of Canada who is currently in power and is trying to push for the same kinda of citizen spying shenanigans that are being pushed for by the US government.

Re:The Conservatives will be angry! (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43294391)

Conservative Party of Canada... way to not pay attention with the spell checker. :(

Re:The Conservatives will be angry! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43294647)

Canada doesn't have a "4th amendment". And when I say "Conservatives" I am referring to the Conservative Party, the one that has been pushing this shit in Canada. Nice job making yourself and your ideology look stupid, though.

Once again Canada leads the way. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43294031)

I think I want to move to Canada when I retire. They seem to have a lot more common sense than the idiots that run the US.

Re:Once again Canada leads the way. (0)

J Story (30227) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294337)

I think I want to move to Canada when I retire. They seem to have a lot more common sense than the idiots that run the US.

Canada is a fine place, but Americans should be warned that it lacks many wonderful products of "Murican" excess (like bacon-flavoured bacon bits, wrapped in bacon -- if that's a thing). And although most Canadians are proud of Canada and happy to be Canadian, flags do not wave on every building and in every front yard.

Re:Once again Canada leads the way. (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294507)

bacon-flavoured bacon bits, wrapped in bacon -- if that's a thing

Canada is a wonderful place, but one thing that Canadians do not know about is bacon. Hint: it's not ham. OTOH the British have great bacon (more meat than the American stuff). Go figure.

Re:Once again Canada leads the way. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43294571)

sure it has more meat, horse is less fatty than pig, i would imagine :)

Re:Once again Canada leads the way. (5, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294729)

Canada is a wonderful place, but one thing that Canadians do not know about is bacon. Hint: it's not ham.

Canadian bacon isn't ham, it's the same pork belly and loin as American bacon. Ham is the leg, it's an entirely different part of the animal.

We have multiple kinds of bacon in Canada -- back bacon (which is the same as the British bacon you mention http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back_bacon [wikipedia.org] ), Peameal bacon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peameal_Bacon which is brined and rolled in pea meal), and plain old bacon.

Well, I guess we also have that mysterious bacon which doesn't need to be refrigerated, which I assume is an invention of the US food industry.

We know bacon, we just know more kinds than you do.

Re:Once again Canada leads the way. (1)

anethema (99553) | 1 year,27 days | (#43296573)

Actually "canadian bacon" does not come from the belly. It comes from the loin on the back of the pig. Plain ole bacon is pork belly bacon, which is the same here in Canada or in the USA (Though if you go elsewhere in the world, just asking for bacon often gets you back bacon).

Re:Once again Canada leads the way. (1)

Gravitron 5000 (1621683) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294749)

bacon-flavoured bacon bits, wrapped in bacon -- if that's a thing

Canada is a wonderful place, but one thing that Canadians do not know about is bacon. Hint: it's not ham. OTOH the British have great bacon (more meat than the American stuff). Go figure.

Sorry, but as a Canadian, if I ordered bacon and got ham, I would be quite perturbed, flabbergasted even. What you call Canadian Bacon, is known as back bacon up here. What we call bacon is the same as what you 'Merican's call bacon. Also, I was in a subway chain in the the US and ordered a BLT. They were using deep fried bacon. What an abomination. Fried all the flavour out of that poor excuse for bacon. What sort of deviant deep fries bacon, Eh?

Re:Once again Canada leads the way. (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | 1 year,27 days | (#43296025)

Bacon in Canada is the same as bacon in the US. Perhaps you are thinking of back bacon, which Americans sometimes (erroneously) call Canadian bacon.

Re:Once again Canada leads the way. (2)

wjwlsn (94460) | 1 year,27 days | (#43295959)

False. In Toronto, I've had bacon & bacon (with cheese!) on a kaiser. Yes, that's right... Canadian bacon topped with regular bacon (and cheese!). Even better, the same place had ham & bacon & bacon sandwiches too.

Canadians (except the Jewish or Muslim varieties) love them some pork.

Re:Once again Canada leads the way. (1)

mark-t (151149) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294377)

Except for our idiotic (no matter from what side of the table you look at it) digital lock protections on copyrighted works, I agree, it's pretty good up here.

This comes just after... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43294041)

This comes just after some fat-ass cock sucker border crossing guy in Canada went through my phone and read all my text messages. He even laughed at some of them. He took up a lot of my time and then let me proceed into Canada. Hmm maybe this ruling wouldn't have helped... I'm not a Canadian citizen.

Re:This comes just after... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43294179)

At least you go a free blow job out of it.

Re:This comes just after... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43294189)

uh, he only went through your phone after he asked and you let him. you didn't have to waive your rights.

Re:This comes just after... (4, Insightful)

J Story (30227) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294441)

uh, he only went through your phone after he asked and you let him. you didn't have to waive your rights.

That's as may be, but it seems to me that the border, on both sides, is a kind of "no man's land", where the usual civil liberties don't apply. When US border agents have the authority to arbitrarily deny you admission to the US for years, it seems to me that refusing a "request" can be a high-risk game for the uninformed.

Re:This comes just after... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43295767)

for not letting them check your phone? they won't detain you for that. not without probable cause.

Re:This comes just after... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43297033)

they don't have to detain you, just deny you entry and tell you to fuck off.

Re:This comes just after... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43295073)

He was getting his cock sucked, how could he say no?

I don't get why this is hard to understand (4, Insightful)

UPZ (947916) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294047)

It's understandable that government has a job to do in keeping the country safe. But if you don't have a legitimate warrant, you are overreaching the authority that you have been given by the people. That's the point in opposing warrantless spying. How can anyone be in favor of both warrantless spying and democratic form of government?

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (3, Insightful)

Githaron (2462596) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294139)

How can anyone be in favor of both warrantless spying and democratic form of government?

Those that are in favor are those in power or those that "think of the children" without actually pausing to consider what it means when those children become adults.

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (3, Insightful)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294163)

It seems many people would rather the government give the appearance of trying to stop the terrorist bogeyman than respect people's freedom and privacy.

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (4, Interesting)

realityimpaired (1668397) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294239)

There are extreme circumstances where obtaining a warrant will take more time than you have, and in such cases, I don't oppose implementing a wire tap or intercepting communications to get the information needed, on two very important conditions: there is disclosure after the fact, and a warrant is subsequently obtained. The first speaks for itself, and for the second: If the warrant is not obtained for any reason, then any information gathered by this means can't be used in criminal proceedings. Given how much information can be gotten through such a tap, you'd better be absolutely certain that there is an urgent and immediate need to implement a tap, and that your evidence to justify it is adequate, otherwise you can throw your own case out by doing it.

It is still possible to have that form of warrantless information gathering while still having an open and democratic government, but you need to be open about the information gathering too, when it happens. What passes for democracy in the states is a far cry from how I actually envision it.

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (3, Insightful)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294531)

There are extreme circumstances where obtaining a warrant will take more time than you have

Too bad. Get a warrant.

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43295227)

Too bad. Get a warrant.

There was a case in my country some years ago when a teenage girl disappeared. If I remember correctly the police took about a day to get a warrant to use her mobile phone to locate her. She was later found dead (I don't remember if her phone did play a role in finding her and guy who killed her). There was a small media controversy if that was the right approach, or if they should have the right to do it without a warrant in such cases. In the end it turned out that she was already dead at that time, so it would not have mattered, and the controversy turned down.

I think this is a valid example for a case where the police should have the right to just do it and get the warrant retrospectively. Such a policy has a good chance of saving some lives over the years; it doesn't even need to be a crime, there was a case recently where a car crashed on a forest road and ended up at the lower end of a slope, out of sight of the road, and was not found for several days. Of course there should be checks and balances, e.g. the cases where they are allowed to do so should be exclusively enumerated to prevent misuse of that privilege, and if the warrant is not granted they should have to end surveillance immediately and delete all data.

Post-warrant (1)

phorm (591458) | 1 year,27 days | (#43295311)

I was under under the impression that there was the ability to have immediate action based on critical need (lives endangered etc), after which the warrant could be requested. The caveat being that frivolous use of this would be dealt with harshly.

E.G. if it's used in a non-critical event, any evidence obtained would be considered tainted/inadmissible.

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (4, Insightful)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | 1 year,27 days | (#43295663)

Such a policy has a good chance of saving some lives over the years

I'd much prefer that a few lives be lost than allowing for random exceptions. As I keep saying, I'd be against the TSA even if it was actually effective.

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43295721)

There was a case in my country some years ago when a teenage girl disappeared. If I remember correctly the police took about a day to get a warrant to use her mobile phone to locate her.

They could have just as easily asked the parents/guardians of said teenage girl (read: minor) if they couldl tap her cell phone to locate her.

Police don't need a warrant to search your home if they simply ask and you invite them in; the warrant merely allows them to not take no for an answer.

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (3, Insightful)

Darinbob (1142669) | 1 year,27 days | (#43297151)

I think the correct response in this situation is that the police break the law, save the girls life, then go to jail with a clear conscience. If it is important enough to not require a warrant then it should also be important enough to accept the consequences of not having a warrant.

But once you give special exemptions that don't require warrants, law enforcement agencies will continue to expand that loop hole until it encompasses anything they want.

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43297621)

Taking the opposite extreme only makes the other side dig in deeper. A middle ground is best.

Re: I don't get why this is hard to understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43295029)

There are extreme circumstances where obtaining a warrant will take more time than you have

BS. In this province, police can get a warrant via video conferencing combined with fax/e-mail, and IIRC that's 24 x 7.

The only way that could take too long is either if the judge delays in issuing the warrant (which would because the police haven't presented adequate grounds for a warrant), or if there is a life threatening emergency (in which case there is sufficient evidence in plain sight to arrest the perpetrators; i.e. no warrant would be immediately needed).

Re: I don't get why this is hard to understand (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | 1 year,27 days | (#43295381)

or if there is a life threatening emergency (in which case there is sufficient evidence in plain sight to arrest the perpetrators; i.e. no warrant would be immediately needed).

Unless, say, the whereabouts of the suspect was unknown, in which case you'd need a warrant to subpoena their cell phone data to get a location....

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | 1 year,27 days | (#43295153)

So it's okay to get a warrant to obtain information using information obtained without a warrant? Or if you suspect you need a warrant but can't get one and you're afraid it might be too late? How about we just start preemptively start pulling people over for speeding because they are going downhill. I guess the whole concept of innocent until proven guilty is kind of lost here isn't it.

The authorities should not have a right to go on a fishing expedition and hope they find something incriminating. If they need evidence they need to obtain it legally, that is what they are supposed to do because that is the law. If they need to break the law to enforce the law, doesn't that just tell you how silly it is to begin with?

When it comes to the point that the authorities cannot follow their own rules to enforce them then where does the line between good guy and bad guy lay? I mean if we as a society condone using bad guys to catch bad guys then why bother with the whole charade to begin with?

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | 1 year,27 days | (#43295483)

So it's okay to get a warrant to obtain information using information obtained without a warrant? Or if you suspect you need a warrant but can't get one and you're afraid it might be too late? How about we just start preemptively start pulling people over for speeding because they are going downhill. I guess the whole concept of innocent until proven guilty is kind of lost here isn't it.

That's a slippery slope, and you know it. Any lawyer worth their salt would have a field day in court against police using a warrant in such a manner. In fact, I do believe that's how Gotti managed to get off a few times....

The exemption I'm talking about is in the case where there's a life threatening emergency, and you simply don't have the time to get a warrant, in which case as long as the need was immediate, you disclose that it's been done, and the warrant is issued after the fact (on basis of the information you already had), then I don't see any wrong having been done. When I went to the point of saying that anything you got would be inadmissible if the warrant wasn't subsequently issued, I have no idea how you're stretching that to mean what you claim it would...

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (3, Interesting)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | 1 year,27 days | (#43296635)

No shit it's a slippery slope. The whole thing is a slippery slope which is why you have to objectively say "no" right out of the gate. There are already a special set of rules for life threatening situations. The police don't need a warrant to enter your house if you're holding a gun to someone's head. The don't need a warrant to arrest you if you're waving a gun around in public. Those are separate issues than spying on someone and if a threat is really imminent enough that you need to illegally tap a phone to save a life, you're kind of already too late. Make the police do the job they were hired to do like everyone else. No cutting corners. Period.

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43296799)

What passes for democracy in the states is a far cry from how I actually envision it.

Democracy is process for allowing governed people a voice in the laws that govern. It is only a process, a means, it is not the object or ends. The majority cannot have unlimited power, if the government is to have limited power. The purpose of a constitution is to limit the power of government, or of the majority, over the individual citizen. Without a constitution (hard limits on power) that is accepted by the all, and protected by all, the government will constantly encroach on peoples liberties and freedoms. I would say the constitutional government of the states is a far cry from what one might expect.

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | 1 year,27 days | (#43297067)

I still think the warrant must be obtained in advance. Otherwise the ability to do this will be abused. It's better to let a few guilty people go in this case. For special circumstances we already have special police-friendly courts that rubber stamp warrants. This is a fundamental principle that we shouldn't relax.

The government and law enforcement agencies around the world have proved through long experience that they will not voluntarily restrict their powers but will instead stretch it as far as they can.

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (0)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294535)

98% of the voters (in the US) voted for warrantless spying in the last election and the two previous ones before that. What could possibly be more 'democratic'?

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43294791)

98% of the voters (in the US) voted for warrantless spying in the last election and the two previous ones before that. What could possibly be more 'democratic'?

There was nothing on my ballot about that. If you're saying that voting for Candidate A is an automatic endorsement of all the policies claimed by that Candidate, then Go Fuck Yourself. Half the time they are lying, the other half the time they're contradicting themselves.

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (0)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,27 days | (#43296315)

...Go Fuck Yourself...

I suppose I could do that, but it wouldn't change the fact that a vote for a candidate is an endorsement of his actions. You shouldn't pay attention to what they say, especially when it conflicts with what they do. This seems to be a point that flies high over peoples' heads.

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (1)

Xeno man (1614779) | 1 year,27 days | (#43297371)

If everyone only voted for someone they agree with 100% on all issues and policies, than 99.999% of all people wouldn't vote. The only people that you will agree with 100% is yourself. What it boils down to is that someone is going to be in charge and of the options presented you are going to support either the guy you mostly agree with or the guy that doesn't support that thing you really hate.

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43294901)

98% of the voters (in the US) voted for warrantless spying in the last election and the two previous ones before that. What could possibly be more 'democratic'?

Really? I find that interesting because I voted and there was nothing about warrentless spying on my ballot. Also there is no single issue that 98% of Americans agree on. We are a rather polarized country right now.

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,27 days | (#43296369)

...there was nothing about warrentless spying on my ballot...

Reelecting a politician that authorized it is a vote for warrantless wiretapping. Maintaining the status quo is a single issue that over 98% of the voters agree on.

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43296857)

...there was nothing about warrentless spying on my ballot...

Reelecting a politician that authorized it is a vote for warrantless wiretapping. Maintaining the status quo is a single issue that over 98% of the voters agree on.

Making up statistics doesn't make them real. If it were an actual statistic you would cite the source.

Voting for someone who I agree with on the majority of issues but disagree with on a minority of issues is not condoning warrantless wiretapping, even if that individual once authorized it. If we followed your logic, we become morally bankrupt when we cast a vote for any politician that we even slightly disagree with. It is nonsensical to expect that every person that votes for someone agrees with 100% of the candidate's issues.

Who exactly is it that I voted for that condones warrantless wiretapping? Oh yeah, you don't even know who I voted for.

Who do you think you are to be so morally high that you can be didactic to me about who I vote for? I am entitled to my freedom to vote for whomever, and no one ever needs to justify who they voted for.

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (0)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,27 days | (#43297045)

You're making shit up. I never told you who to vote for. However, if you vote for a politician that voted for warrantless wiretapping, then you did too. It's that simple, regardless of the other issues. On that 98%, 51.1% voted democrat. 47.2% voted republican. You do the math.

Think about what you asked there. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43294557)

Think it through real hard.

If you don't get the cognitive dissonance you are not smart enough to ask those sorts of questions.

hint: If you so disdain the opinions of people who are going to be a (major) part of the democracy, why in the world would you want a democratic form of government?

ironic captcha: wretch

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (1)

Zeromous (668365) | 1 year,27 days | (#43296039)

It's called Fascism, and most people have forgotten what it looks like.

Re:I don't get why this is hard to understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43296937)

It's called Fascism, and most people have forgotten what it looks like.

Maybe if you were completely ignorant of what Fascism means, then perhaps you have a case. As long as the US is a democracy with free elections and a capitalistic economy, there is no way you can remotely call us Fascist. Why? The US employs checks and balances. Term limits for presidents, for one, completely unravels your argument.

Canada and the US (2)

ThorGod (456163) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294067)

The thing to remember is that the US is a much larger country. This is in terms of population. For that reason, there are likely to be more extremes in the US, just as a numerical property of a larger population.

(Not really a complete thought, just thinking on /.)

Re:Canada and the US (1)

MachDelta (704883) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294329)

That should make China and India some pretty extreme countries, no?

Occam's razor might instead pin the weirdness on America [slashdot.org] , though. And I don't mean that to be insulting in any way, just to point out that that cultural perspectives are a hell of a thing.

Re:Canada and the US (1)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294559)

That should make China and India some pretty extreme countries, no?

And you'd be right. Both countries have extreme poverty, and extreme wealth.

And certainly I doubt that the majority of Indians will accept that a woman out after dark deserves to be gang-raped, yet some of their politicians made the suggestion that 'nice women' wouldn't be out alone in the first place.

Re:Canada and the US (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294913)

Both countries have extreme poverty, and extreme wealth

And what does it have to do with country size? The same extremes do exist in tiny countries.

Let me translatarate... (1)

denzacar (181829) | 1 year,27 days | (#43295329)

The thing to remember is that the US is a much larger country. This is in terms of population. For that reason, there are likely to be more extremes in the US, just as a numerical property of a larger population.

The grandparent poster meant "extremes" as in "people who lean towards extreme positions on some scale".
The actual word he was looking for is "extremists".

And yes, a larger population would have a greater number of extremists - all other things being equal.
Which they are kinda not.

Total number of extremists in a given population is a function of the percentage of their prevalence in said population and the size of that very same population.
2 million gingers in a country of 200 million here they represent 1% of population, is not the same situation as 2 million gingers in a country of 4 million where they are 50% of population.

Summary incorrect (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43294253)

As always, TFS is incorrect. Reading THE FIRST PARAGRAPH of the linked decision will tell you that.

The police in this case obtained a general warrant and related assistance order under ss. 487.01 and 487.02 of the Criminal Code requiring Telus to provide the police with copies of any stored text messages sent or received by two Telus subscribers. The relevant part of the warrant required Telus to produce any messages sent or received during a twoweek period on a daily basis. Telus applied to quash the general warrant arguing that the prospective, daily acquisition of text messages from their computer database constitutes an interception of private communications and therefore requires authorization under the wiretap authorization provisions in Part VI of the Code.

The police HAD a warrant. The court determined that a general warrant was not sufficient and that they required a specific WIRETAP warrant.

How about facebook/google+/etc? (1)

StripedCow (776465) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294397)

The next question: How is sending a written message to a selected number of friends on a social network different from doing the same with text messages on a phone?

Re:How about facebook/google+/etc? (1)

Schmorgluck (1293264) | 1 year,27 days | (#43296125)

Because unless you use the private message feature (if there's one), it's not actually private. And even then it's just as private as the terms of service state it is.

Why wasn't this the law in the first place? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43294493)

If Canada has such an awesome legislative body, why did a court have to make this ruling? Wouldn't have this been on the books all along? /Am I not being anti-American enough for Slashdot?

summary is incorrect (4, Informative)

sdavid (556770) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294581)

The Supreme Court decision requires a wiretap authorization, which is harder to get than a warrant. A warrant was always required and no one was arguing that it wasn't. Telus, for whatever reason, stores its text messages for some time. In this case the cops wanted to access these stored text messages as they were coming in. To work around the more difficult requirements of a wiretap authorization, they used a general warrant on the grounds that this was saved correspondence, not live communication. The majority of the Court didn't buy that argument, saying that this went against the purpose of the wiretap provisions, which is to protect interactive communication. What's interesting is that the majority didn't get tied up in the specifics of how the messages were handled and went with this purposive analysis.

I wouldn't bet on it (1)

stenvar (2789879) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294641)

This can be changed with a simple new law, and Canadian conservatives have been pushing for that. Like many other nations, there are also numerous exceptions. Furthermore, AFAIK illegally obtained evidence is still admissible in Canadian courts, which is a huge loophole.

Re:I wouldn't bet on it (4, Informative)

m.ducharme (1082683) | 1 year,27 days | (#43295557)

Illegally obtained evidence can be ruled still admissible in Canadian courts. It's not automatic, the trial judge would have to rule on the admissibility on a case by case basis, depending on
1) the seriousness of the Charter-infringing conduct of the State
2) Impact of the Charter-Protected Interests of the Accused
3) Society's Interest in an Adjudication on the Merits

Basically, if the charge is serious and the cop can come up with a good reason for the breach, the evidence will probably go in. If the officer in charge basically just didn't care about your rights and dumped all over them, well then the Crown would have some trouble.

Oh, Canada (rolls eyes). (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43294653)

I don't believe in Canada.

Re:Oh, Canada (rolls eyes). (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43295111)

There's nothing there except a few hockey rinks and igloos anyway.

Re:Oh, Canada (rolls eyes). (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43295763)

Canada is a ridiculous right wing myth. There is no Canada.

Re:Oh, Canada (rolls eyes). (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,27 days | (#43296109)

It's a Potemkin country. I went up "there" once, and somebody obviously went through a lot of trouble to create a fake country. But for all the effort, they didn't do a very good job. They didn't even change the accents.

Yes!!! (3, Insightful)

houbou (1097327) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294657)

As it should be. However, telephone companies should not be archiving them, without permission from the client.

Re:Yes!!! (1)

hawguy (1600213) | 1 year,27 days | (#43295807)

Has any telco stated (or even implied) that txt messages are deleted from their system upon delivery? Since they have to store messages for some period of time to queue them for delivery and pass them around their network, I wouldn't be surprised if they end up on backup tapes and stored for quite some time.

Hurray, but... (2)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | 1 year,27 days | (#43294959)

How many warrant requests - even in Canada - are not automatically rubberstamped by Judge Judy when handsome Constable John Law comes calling? Especially when there is no one arguing against the request or even know it's occuring.

It's the right ruling, but the effect will be depressingly miniscule.

Good thing it's not a warrant they need then... (2)

denzacar (181829) | 1 year,27 days | (#43295867)

It's "wiretap authorization". And more...

From the ruling:

The technique sought to be authorized here is not the substantive equivalent of a wiretap authorization. On the facts of this case, a wiretap authorization alone would not allow the police to obtain the information that Telus was required to provide under the general warrant. Three separate authorizations would be required in order to provide the police with the means to access the information provided to them under the general warrant. Therefore, even if one were to accept reading into s. 487.01(1)(c) a âoesubstantive equivalencyâ test, neither the facts nor the law would support its application in this case.

I.e. What they were asking for was not covered by a single type of warrant. They would need three different authorizations for all that.

The conditions for issuing a production order are similar to those for a search warrant. The issuing justice or judge must be satisfied by information on oath that an offence has been or is suspected to have been committed, the documents or data will afford evidence respecting the commission of the offence and that the person to whom the order is directed has possession or control of the documents or data (s. 487.012(3)). In addition, the person to whom the order is directed cannot be a person under investigation (s. 487.012(1)).

unlike search warrants and production orders that may be issued by judges or justices of the peace, general warrants may only be issued by judges (s. 487.01(1)). Second, âoethe judge [must be] satisfied that it is in the best interests of the administration of justice to issue the warrantâ (s. 487.01(1)(b)). Third, a general warrant must âoecontain such terms and conditions as the judge considers advisable to ensure that the search or seizure authorized by the warrant is reasonable in the circumstancesâ (s. 487.01(3)). Fourth, a general warrant may be issued only if âoethere is no other provision . . . that would provide for a warrant, authorization or order permitting the technique, procedure or device to be used or the thing to be doneâ (s. 487.01(1)(c)). In other words, a general warrant may not be used to authorize a âoetechnique, procedure or device to be used or . . . thing to be doneâ if there are other provisions in the Code (or elsewhere) that could authorize it.

An authorization to intercept private communications under Part VI of the Code allows police to receive messages as they are being sent or received by subscribers. These sorts of authorizations are subject to even more strict conditions than those which apply to general warrants. They may only be issued by a judge of a superior court of criminal jurisdiction. The Attorney General, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness or a specially designated agent must bring the application (s. 185(1)). There are specific and detailed provisions relating to what must be placed before the judge. The issuing judge must be satisfied not only that it would be in the best interests of the administration of justice to issue the authorization but also that the so-called âoeinvestigative necessityâ test has been met (s. 186(1)). This means that the judge must be satisfied that âoeother investigative procedures have been tried and have failed, other investigative procedures are unlikely to succeed or the urgency of the matter is such that it would be impractical to carry out the investigation of the offence using only other investigative proceduresâ (s. 186(1)). The authorization may generally not be valid for more that 60 days (s. 186(4)(e)) and there are notice and reporting requirements (s. 196).

In short, they'd need to "rubberstamp" the Attorney General or the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Lock your phones with a password anyway! (2)

wjwlsn (94460) | 1 year,27 days | (#43295863)

Just last month, the Ontario Appeals Court ruled that a cellphone that's not digitally locked (such as with a password) can be searched without a warrant... but if locked, a warrant is required.

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/13/02/21/1343231/cellphone-privacy-in-canada-encryption-triggers-need-for-warrant [slashdot.org]

Now the Canadian Supreme Court says that access to text messages requires a warrant. This is interesting because the Ontario case from last month involved text messages that were searched without a warrant.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/02/cops-can-search-mobile-phoneonly-if-its-not-password-protected/ [arstechnica.com]

I would assume that the Canadian Supreme Court ruling takes precedence over the Ontario Appeals Court ruling... for text messages. However, photos, video, chat logs, etc apparently don't get the same protection.

So... lock your phone with a password, no matter what... even if it's just a minimal one that's easy to type.

Re:Lock your phones with a password anyway! (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#43297053)

this is about warrants to the service provider, not physically searching someone's phone.

Some judges actual have common sense (1)

kualla (2872067) | 1 year,27 days | (#43296697)

"The CBC reports: '[Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Silberman] Abella said the only practical difference between text messaging and traditional voice communications is the transmission process." I wish judges in USA all were this intelligent... So many laws have been passed to benefit big business that I think judges get confused and forget about the basic fundamental laws.
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