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Border Guards wanting to Search your Mobile Device

Searching mobile Phones and Devices   Lake Superior News

 THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO  - August 4, 2018   (LSN)  Border guard has a lot of power when it comes to seizing and searching your phone, laptop, tablet and other electronic devices.

The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) can search any "incoming goods to the country" — an umbrella term that definitely includes your personal devices. That permission extends to the files stored on your devices, too.

Your Privacy Rights at the Border

Even if a border officer has no reason to suspect that your device contains contraband — i.e. prohibited material like child pornography or hate literature — he or she is free to inspect the files without a warrant

If the initial search yields something "suspicious," a specialist may be called for further inspection. At this time your device will be taken out of your possession, according to the BCCLA.

Officers now have the ability to copy the entire contents of your device. They can later use password-cracking software to access anything you did not provide a password for.

On Jan. 4, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a new directive titled, “Border Search of Electronic Devices.” It actually set new limits on agents, establishing criteria for when they can conduct extensive searches — like downloading documents stored in the cloud, or uploading files into a storage drive for analysis.

–Your passcode: Agents can demand a passcode to open your phone without probable cause, Nielsen confirmed during the hearing.

–The cloud: Here, there are new limits. Agents can’t just start downloading old files from the cloud: “They can search the data that is apparent on the phone,” Nielsen said. “They can’t use the phone to access anything that might be stored remotely.”

Border guards can easily refuse someone entry: “There’s ways they can mess with you. They can just declare you an immigration risk… detain you, turn you away until you co-operate… That’s enough to scare people into co-operating.




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