Do You Need to Give The Police Your Phone Password?

How would you feel if you were legally required to hand over your smartphone or another electronic device, and the police searched through your photos, videos, text messages, and contacts? Individuals in Canada have a right under section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to be free from unreasonable searches and unreasonable seizures of their property and their personal information.

The exception to the rule is if you’re travelling to the United States. Be aware that American Customs and Border Protection agents have the power to search your electronic devices at the border. If you don’t unlock your phone or another device when asked, they can seize it for further review.

What to Do If The Police Ask For Your Phone Password?

If you’re ever stopped by a police officer and they ask you for your phone password or threaten to seize your phone, ask yourself: Is what I’m doing legal? If it is, tell them so. Say: Officer, I’m not doing anything illegal. Here is my identification. However. If you are breaking the law, the police may be able to access your phone, even if you do not provide a password or unlock it for them. Modern technology can still allow law enforcement to access your data, even if it is encrypted.

Each person is protected by their rights under Section 8 of the Charter. Searching your phone can make you feel violated, but there are ways to keep your information private while still cooperating with investigations.

 If you believe your privacy has been violated in any way, consult Calvin Barry right away. 

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