How to protect your privacy at the Canada/ US border


Recently for security reasons border agents in Canada have begun to seize and search smartphones as well as tablets, and any other electronic device that might carry information. Probably the first thing in your head after this type of invasion of privacy to you and your personal information is “Is there anything I can do to protect myself?”.

But what can you do to protect yourself against this type of situation? Of course, first and foremost is to always comply with the request of the border agent to avoid any further conflict that may have more severe consequences. Failing to cooperate with the border agents can cause loss of entry to Canada and even to the extreme of being arrested for failing to provide password or access to the electronic devices.

Asides from that there are guidelines that also help protect you and it’s always recommended to know them, or at least in some cases the most basic, so that if a situation likes this was to arise you would know what your rights are as a tourist, as well what to do in this type of situations. This will be an abbreviated version of this guideline that can be obtained through: Your text to link here...

1.Usually, the police cannot search randomly without suspicion, but this isn’t the case at the border. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies at the border, but the courts have found that the government’s interest in keeping dangerous goods and undesirable people out of the country gives the CBSA more power to search people and their possessions.

2.Non-citizens seeking to enter Canada, including asylum seekers, may be subject to searches as well. CBSA officer may search the luggage and personal effects of a person seeking to come to Canada at a port of entry, including electronic devices and media. However, the officer must have:

• reasonable grounds to believe that the person has not revealed their identity or has hidden on their person documents that are relevant to their admissibility, or • reason to believe that the person is involved with people smuggling, human trafficking, or document fraud. Searches of devices must be limited to identifying the person, finding documents relevant to admissibility, or evidence of the offences outlined above.

3.There is no publicly available list of things that the Agency uses, but you are more likely to be chosen for searches if you:

• Are a single man traveling alone • Exhibit nervousness or agitation • Have multiple electronic devices (including hard drives) • Purchase a ticket to travel at the last minute • Have unusual travel routes

4.When you are crossing the border, if the border agents decide to search your electronic devices, there is little that you can do about it. The most secure way to protect your privacy and the information of your electronic devices should be done before crossing.

5.It is highly advised that if your electronic devices are searched, that you make a thorough clean of your device as it you may be infected with monitoring software, for which you should not connect it to any of your other devices until making sure it is clean. Software of this type may copy itself to other devices. To be on the safe side erase the hard drive entirely or reset the device to the factory settings Once you are back up and running, install and run an antivirus or anti-spyware program on your electronic device. While these programs may not detect the most recent monitoring software, running an antivirus is still an important step to take in reassuring yourself that your electronic device is not passing your data along to third parties.

Of course, this does not mark every single possibility as those could be endless, we can only advice you to follow the laws as any other person, and to always comply with the agent’s demands always knowing what your rights are and being informed of what to do in these situations, to always be protected. Be sure to check out the full guide.


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