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Canadian Privacy Threatened by U.S. Border Searches

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Canadian privacy could be in jeopardy by apparent plans from the United States government to demand cellphones as well as social media passwords from foreign visitors by U.S. border agents.

According to a new CTV report, privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien told a House of Commons committee yesterday that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers can look at mobile devices and even demand passwords under new American law.

Citing statistics that indicate U.S. border searches of mobile phones had increased between 2015 and 2016, Therrien said that “These devices contain a lot of sensitive information. We should be very concerned.”

Earlier this year, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly suggested that American officials have the right to ask people entering the United States about the various websites they visit, as well as passwords to social media accounts to “help assess” their online activities.

This notion, of course, prompted an American coalition of human rights and civil liberties organizations and experts in security, technology, and law to express “deep concern.”

However, the agency’s policy states that personal devices should only be searched when officials have reason to believe a device will contain “evidence of contraventions,” or proof you have violated a law through files or information “known or suspected to exist” on your phone.

“Examinations should only occur where there is a multiplicity of indicators, or further to the discovery of undeclared, prohibited, or falsely reported goods,” said Canadian Border Services Agency Nicholas Dorion.

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  • And this is why you always cross the boarder with either no phone, or a burner phone.
    Boarder agents cannot search what you don’t have.

  • And this is why you always cross the boarder with either no phone, or a burner phone.
    Boarder agents cannot search what you don’t have.

  • That Guy

    Yup real threats will use burner phones so all this law does is annoy innocent people. Accomplishing nothing but wasting time and resources.

  • Parksy

    The thing we have to remember is that as a Canadian, the only country who have the absolute right to be in is Canada. Every time you attempt to enter another country, you are subject to the scrutiny of that nation. Whether we like it or not, if we chose to enter another country you have to accept that they might decide to give you extra scrutiny or search your car or cellphone. We just have to hope that they don’t abuse this power and only subject it to the ones who should really be getting it. Most of us have nothing to fear but it’s unfortunately part of living in the world today.

  • Riddlemethis

    Haha. With strong power there’s always abuse.

    For the guys, especially married, just remember to uninstall your snapchat and other social media accounts or use a burner phone as already mentioned. ????

  • Riddlemethis

    Yes. It’s just another way for the extremely overzealous border agents to harass you as you’re crossing the line just because they may be having a bad day or just being ***** bags.

  • johnnygoodface

    Would they have the right to ask for my 1Password main password? I’ll leave my personal phone at home that’s for sure, but I’m just asking…

  • They have the right to ask you for anything (yes, including your 1Password main password.) You have no rights at the boarder.

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