Feb 212013
 February 21, 2013  Posted by  Court, Non-U.S., Surveillance

Allison Jones reports:

Ontario’s highest court has signalled that the right of police officers to look through someone’s phone depends on whether there’s a password.

The Court of Appeal for Ontario says it’s all right for police to have a cursory look through the phone upon arrest if it’s not password protected, but if it is, investigators should get a search warrant.

Read more on Global Ontario.  The court’s reasoning is a bit of a head-scratcher, as they seem to be saying that if you password protect your cellphone, it’s functioning as a computer, which does have a (higher) expectation of privacy.  So what happens to people who don’t password protect their laptops? Can the police search them on arrest by arguing that the failure to password protect means no expectation of privacy?

In any event, it’s always a good idea to password protect your devices if they contain anything you don’t want law enforcement or others to be able to easily access.

Update: I’m not the only one who finds the court’s ruling puzzling.

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