Handbook explaining your electronic privacy rights at the Canadian border from the BCCLA

Greg from the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association sez, "The BCCLA is releasing its 'Electronic Devices Privacy Handbook' (PDF) on Monday. It's a know-your-rights guide and a how-to manual designed to help you keep your data and devices secure when you cross the border into Canada. If you're in Vancouver, BC, handbook author Greg McMullen is giving a talk to officially launch the handbook on Monday, March 5 at 12:30 at UBC Law." This is a very interesting document -- did you know that you don't have to unlock/decrypt your password for Canadian border officials without a court order (though they'll happily ghost your hard disk and try to brute force it, and Greg adds, "you might also get arrested (or refused entry, if not Canadian) for failing to provide your password if they are feeling especially mean")?
Discuss

13 Responses to “Handbook explaining your electronic privacy rights at the Canadian border from the BCCLA”

  1. Canada is added to the list of nations I won’t be travelling too then, the only other entry is the US.

  2. theophrastvs says:

    how-to manual designed to help you keep your data and devices secure when you cross the border into Canada.

    ..as someone that crosses the border there fairly frequently i never had any problem with the heading “into Canada” direction… it’s the “coming back home” transition that provides the need for caution and concern  (“yessir, nosir, thank you sir” [keep eyes passively downwards])

    • gmcmullen says:

      Careful! A “break in eye contact” can be an indicator that gets you hauled in for extra screening.

  3. gmcmullen says:

    Cory – should add that you might also get arrested (or refused entry, if not Canadian) for failing to provide your password if they are feeling especially mean. We don’t think you can be forced to hand over the password, but it’s all new in Canada.

  4. tylerkaraszewski says:

    Now I’m thinking of clever ways around this sort of thing. They can’t force you to hand over a password, but they can refuse you entry if you don’t? How about creating two accounts (and setting your machine up so that you have to type a username rather than click an icon with one) and if you get asked, give them the username and password to the dummy account. There are lots of things you could do to try and keep your data safe without having to defiantly and (what they’d call) suspiciously refuse to let them see your stuff.

    • pKp says:

      Simple, low-tech and efficient. I like it.
      Might wanna copy a few files on the account so that the border cops don’t get too suspicious when they open it and all they find is a copy of the Bill of Rights…

      • elix says:

        I suppose that setting your desktop wallpaper to be the complete text of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms would be just taunting Canada Customs.

    • elix says:

      My netbook has a dead SSD, so I removed it. I boot it, in the interim, off a USB stick. If I were to be crossing the border in either direction, the two would be packed in separate bags.

      Go ahead and inspect my machine all you want.

  5. Rindan says:

    Don’t cross borders with anything you don’t want a government to steal.  It is as simple as that.  Governments have gotten nasty and don’t give two shits about your civil liberties.  If you want to defend them, the only thing you can do is cross borders with empty devices, and then use the magic of encryption and the intertubes to restore your device once you are past the border.

    I have a trip coming up over seas soon and I am pretty tempted to just save an image of my Android phone (the phone is rooted and running CyanogenMod), wipe the thing, and then restore it once I am past the border.  There is nothing bad on my  phone, none-the-less, I would prefer not to have all of my life and contacts in someone’s government file on me.

    • elix says:

      This. If it’s feasible, do this. (If, on the other hand, your daily business requires 60GB of stuff on the hard drive, not so much.)

  6. Paul Renault says:

    So, if your laptop has hardware-based HDD locking/encryption, you should activate it.  So then the border guards won’t even be able to ghost it.

    Check your user’s manual.

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