On The Wire

Fourth Amendment Protects Cell Phone Privacy

In a landmark case reported as Riley v. California, 573 U.S. __ (2014) released on June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously held that a warrantless search and seizure of digital contents of a cell phone during an arrest violated the Fourth Amendment and was unconstitutional ...
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Privacy Matters

The Charter of Rights protects three privacy interests which we encounter in our daily lives. Mr. Justice Ian Binnie of the Supreme Court of Canada identified them as: personal privacy (bodily integrity), territorial privacy (privacy in the home) and informational privacy (information about ourselves and our activities). Informational privacy has ...
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Innocent Third Parties

The police wiretap a landline in a lounge because they suspect that a drug dealer uses it for business. A waitress uses the lounge phone to call an abortion clinic to make an appointment. The police wiretap a pay phone at a local gym because they believe a murder suspect ...
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Supreme Court Rejects Harper Appointee

On September 30, 2013, the Prime Minister announced the nomination of Mr. Justice Marc Nadon, a supernumerary judge of the Federal Court of Appeal, to the Supreme Court of Canada. On October 3, 2013, by Order in Council, Justice Nadon was named a judge of the court, replacing Justice Morris ...
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Trends in Wiretap Law: Part Three

In the second part of this series of posts on trends in wiretap law I concluded by saying there were judicial limitations on the ability of defendants to challenge the admissibility of wiretap evidence in court. I will pick up that discussion here. First, if you are following this series ...
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Trends in Wiretap Law: Part Two

In the first part of this series of posts on trends in wiretap law I said that over the last thirty years there has been an expansion of state intrusion into the personal sphere of the individual that is vivid in the context of electronic surveillance. I will talk about ...
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Trends in Wiretap Law: Part One

Canadians value their privacy both individually and collectively. We may not protect our privacy like my parents did in a social sense and we have surrendered much to the surveillance camera but in 1982 the nation found the political will to patriate its constitution and entrench our rights in it ...
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The Exclusionary Rule

In 1974 Parliament enacted Part IV.1 [now Part VI] of the Criminal Code known as the Protection of Privacy Act. 1 The legislation was a response to wiretapping by the police that was unsupervised by Parliament or the judiciary. 2 The exclusionary rule was contained in s. 178.16(1) of the Act ...
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Police Must Get Wiretap Order to Seize Text Messages

In an important ruling released on March 27, 2013,  the Supreme Court of Canada held that text messages are private communications that are protected by Part VI of the Criminal Code. In a case reported as R. v. Telus Communications Co., 2013 SCC 16 the police wanted to seize text ...
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Supreme Court Clarifies the Law of Police Safety Searches

In an important judgment released on January 17, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada clarified the constitutional requirements of police searches conducted to ensure the safety of the police or the public. In R. v. MacDonald, 2014 SCC 3 two police officers had gone to the appellant's Halifax condo as ...
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