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Tech and Privacy: Protecting Against Unreasonable Search and Seizure

In 2017, I spoke at a conference put on by SERENE-RISC, an organization that works on issues of cybersecurity and aims to protect people from cyber threats. There, I cleverly tricked all of the participants to learning about the Charter by giving an overview of the law around search and seizure as it relates to cell phones. The talk was broadly structured to address three main questions: Can the police search my phone? Can the police search my buddy’s phone? And can the police search everyone’s phone?

The first question was answered with a discussion of the case of R v. Fearon and the police’s powers to search a phone incident to arrest. (A fuller discussion of this case is in this blog post.) Next, I spoke about the case of R v. Marakah, which looked at whether the recipient of a text message had standing to challenge its admissibility and whether they had a reasonable expectation in the privacy of that message. (At the time, the case was still at the Ontario Court of Appeal; you can see December 2017’s round-up for an update on the Supreme Court of Canada decision.) Finally, I spoke about the impending issue of stingrays and their ability to obtain data without a warrant.

The video of the talk was recently made available, so you can have a look for yourself here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCJIRiRA0yQ

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