Mr. Rice has practiced wiretap law for thirty years. A wiretap is a search and seizure governed by Part VI of the Criminal Code and s. 8 of the Charter of Rights. An authorization to intercept private communications may only be granted by a superior court judge on application by the Attorney General of a province or the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness based upon an affidavit of a peace officer that establishes probable cause and, with some exceptions, investigative necessity. The use of wiretap authorizations in the digital age has targeted drug trafficking, homicide and economic crime. This highly intrusive investigative tool continues to generate tension between the state interest in law enforcement and the privacy interests of the citizen where the constitutional protection from unreasonable search and seizure is the battleground.
Mr. Rice has defended major cases involving the search and seizure of electronic communication devices. The police frequently apply to the courts for warrants to seize smartphones and personal computers for private information such as call history, text messages, emails, commercial transactions and Internet history. The seizure of personal data can arise in any criminal case but is most prevalent in drug cases, economic crime and investigations involving an Internet component. The law in this area is rapidly developing in order to keep pace with the invasive nature of emerging technologies and their impact upon constitutionally protected privacy rights. You may read a selection of Mr. Rice’s cases in the section titled Cases and articles about recent developments in the law on his Blog: On The Wire.