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Wells: The federal government gives border guards a free pass to your digital life

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You are home after a long journey. Due to the border control lineup, you are exhausted, lagging behind and perhaps frustrated. For overseas flights, I probably slept in my seat.

If the federal government gives way, your malaise can raise "reasonable general concerns" to border guards. , Browsing and search history, banking, legal or health records, and anything else stored or accessible on mobile phones, tablets, or laptops.

Or you may be traveling with only carry-on baggage, or you may have three checked baggage. These can also raise "reasonable general concerns".

Bill S-7is a government bill introduced by the Senate to amend the Customs ActClarify border conditions Officers who are supposed to be able to search for documents and files stored on digital devices.

Instead, give border guards the freedom to search for their most personal personal information, such as documents that may be attached to online, cloud, or remote email servers. Invented the search standard.

Legalize routine, arbitrary and indiscriminate violations of the rights of our Charter to protect against unjustified search and seizure, and challenge long courts. It is virtually guaranteed to be subject to. The federal government is ready to accept the amendmentsthat I and my colleagues have made to this bill at theNational Security and Defense Senate Committee.

We have replaced the term "reasonable general concern" with the term "reasonable reason to doubt". This is a legally established standard.

This established standard prevents proceedings from cluttering the court. However, I wanted to go a step further by adding a language that would allow the search fordigital devices only if the network connection was disabled. The Commission and the Senate have agreed, and the term is now included in the amended bill being considered by the House of Commons.

We recognize that there is a reason border guards can inspect a traveler's device. The event that led to Bill S-7 was the discovery of child pornography on mobile phones and laptops that two creeps were trying to bring to Canada.

A committee of judges from the Alberta Court of Appeals heard the case and refused to throw evidence. The judge upheld the conviction of the two criminals. However, they found that theCustoms Actsection used to justify the search is unconstitutional unless it imposes restrictions on the search for such devices at theborder."

The court has remanded to Congress to clarify the basis of the investigation. After a lot of dragging, Bill S-7 had a clumsy and unfortunate result.

The court message was clear: Excessively broad search authority violates the Charter of Liberties and Freedom. Remember that the Charter is not meant to protect the majority or minority. It's there to protect theindividual-it means you.

Government response. Legally enshrines the overly extensive search power of border guards. I've seen it before, so I know how this story ends.

When the court forced the federal government to work on dying medical aid, it proposed a bill that warned Senators that it was unconstitutional. The government broke through it anyway and was forced to submit a new bill when the Quebec Court of Appeals found the Senate to be right.

I urge the government to avoid the burden of protecting Canadians for another lost cause, and most importantly, to protect Canadians from obvious infringement of their rights. increase.

As the Alberta court wrote, the negative impact on personal and digital privacy is "convincing to reduce the unlimited search capabilities of electrical devices at borders. I will provide you with some reason. "

Senate colleagues and I listened to the court's message and made the necessary changes to the government bill. If history is a lesson, the government will probably revoke it when the bill is discussed in the House of Representatives.

The Senate has done what it takes to protect the rights of the Canadian Charter. I hope these efforts will not be ignored.

PrestigiousDavid Wells,Bill S's Official Opposition Criticism House -7,stands for Senate Newfoundland and Labrador.

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