On The Wire

Border Searches Ruled Unconstitutional

Canadian constitutional law recognizes that international travellers have a reduced expectation of privacy when crossing the border. Border officers have extraordinary powers to question, detain, search and seize that are grounded in the right of Canada to protect its national sovereignty. Until recently, border officers could demand passcodes and rifle ...
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The Sandworm Conspiracy

On October 15, 2020, a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, indicted six military officers in Unit 74455 of the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) for worldwide hacking campaigns designed to advance Russia's strategic interests. The hacker team, known as Sandworm and operating out of a building simply called "the ...
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Facial Recognition: The People Push Back

Fully-automated identification technology can undermine personal privacy and public anonymity in an instant. Combined with other tools of mass surveillance, it bridges the gap between the physical and digital worlds. Despite serious privacy and human rights concerns, the use of facial recognition software has spread across the globe with breathtaking ...
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Privacy and Wi-Fi Location Data

The Internet and the smartphone are essential to meaningful participation in modern life. But accessing the Internet often requires using Wi-Fi networks, particularly by students, travellers, businesses and low-income people. The use of Wi-Fi generates precise location data that reveals core biographical information about its users and identifies where they ...
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Automated Licence Plate Readers

An automated licence plate reader combines a high-speed camera with image-processing technology to capture licence plate numbers and enable surveillance by the collection and retention of bulk data. The data collected includes date, time and location, and may also include images of the vehicle, the driver and any passengers. They ...
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What Is a Geofence Warrant?

The use of a new investigative technique by law enforcement, called a geofence warrant, has been gradually emerging over the past year. Google is at the forefront of the early media attention and the nascent legal developments in the United States. Two federal magistrate judges in three separate opinions in ...
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Privacy Shield and a Date With Justice

On July 16, 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union released the much anticipated judgment in Data Protection Commissioner v Facebook Ireland and Maximillian Schrems, Case C-311/18, striking down the trans-Atlantic data transfer agreement called Privacy Shield. The ruling is the latest development in the campaign by European privacy ...
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Fair, Just and Decent Policing: Does ‘Reasonable Suspicion’ Deliver?

Despite recent claims to the contrary, racial profiling and the over-policing of racalized and low income communities are long-standing features of the Canadian justice system. In law, the "reasonable suspicion" standard governs many initial contacts with the police. In R v Ahmad, the Supreme Court of Canada claimed that this ...
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China’s National Security Law: A Lawyer’s Plea for Hong Kong

On December 19, 1984, the United Kingdom and China signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong. The treaty provides for the administrative region of the semi-autonomous city after the lease of the New Territories expired. On April 4, 1990, the National People's Congress adopted the Basic Law of the ...
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Cold Call Drug Buys and the Law of Entrapment

Random virtue testing and police-manufactured crime sow deep seeds of distrust between the citizen and the state. The doctrine of entrapment defines the constitutional boundaries of lawful police conduct in providing opportunities for unwitting targets to commit crimes. In modern drug investigations, officers commonly place cold calls to alleged drug ...
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