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The Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Essay by   •  February 26, 2018  •  Essay  •  1,075 Words (5 Pages)  •  782 Views

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According to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, under section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, everyone has “the right to be secure against unreasonable search of seizure.” However, this wasn’t the case for a man of Ste-Anne-des-Plaines, Quebec. It appears that the thirty-eight-year-old man was discriminated against his rights. I will begin discussing the general information about the case, the impact his refusal has made on our country’s laws, basic facts that were expressed throughout this particular case, etc.

Alain Philippon, a Quebec man, charged under the Customs Act, for refusing to provide his smartphone password in Halifax airport. Since this issue has occurred, it has raised an ongoing important question in our country, “Should we increase police powers with a respect to accessing encrypted devices?”, because of this concern, it has been a large debate to our country and its law decision makers. Under the Customs Act, border agents have the authorization to examine “all goods and conveyances including electronic devices, such as cellphones and laptops.” (Gallom, 2015)

When we make the initial decision to travel out of the country, we should accept before we make our final decision to travel abroad, that Customs have the right to breach privacy. It is the border agent’s duty to protect our country from criminals that are using encryption to hide illicit activities. Border agents are well trained in examination & investigation techniques. I would say that border agents are critical thinkers,” requiring a deep beyond the surface and involves a great deal of investigation, analysis, and skepticism (Trask, 2018) We should be prepared, and have the common knowledge to know that at any given point of time, you may be searched. We make the decision whether or not we want to travel and take that risk of illegal action. However, police officers do not have the right to investigate goods the same way border agents do.

As mentioned in the CBC news article, “this illustrates the differences in search-and-seizure powers of border agents and police” I think this represents the idea that police officers don’t have as much power in specific areas as we think. There are some forces that are more highly qualified in such areas. Police officers do not have the license to conduct a warrantless search, however border agents do. Basically, border agents have the right to do so, because we willingly choose to travel across the border, so us as people are unconsciously preparing to be investigated through customs. However, supreme court has rules that, “a police officer does have the right to conduct a warrantless search, if an individual has been arrested” (Gallon, 2015) Also, if they want to conduct a warrant from a judge, it will need to be a specific warrant from a judge to search an individual’s personal cellphone or computer; It cannot be a universal warrant. As a general rule, a search of premises must be based on reasonable grounds. If a search is conducted merely on a suspicion, the search will likely constitute a violation of section 8 of the Charter. (Kokesch, 1990)

In addition to this information, it’s hard to decide whether I agree, that Customs should have the privilege and right to look through an individual’s phone, or not. In Alan Philippon’s situation, he was actually guilty of committing a crime, he was smuggling drugs and a lump sum of five thousand dollars across the border. The outcome of Alain Philippon’s case was him saying he would fight the charge of hindering or obstructing border officials. But at the same time continued into pleading guilty of the case. According to CBC News, “Philippon was arrested and charged under the federal Customs Act, accused of hindering or obstructing border officials.”

Charter issues and considerations that would be important to bear in mind with regard to any discussion about increasing police powers with respect to compelling people to provide mobile phone passcodes, would be under section 8 of The Charter. Police must ensure “ First, the arrest must be lawful. Second, the search must be truly incidental to the arrest. This requirement should be strictly applied to

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