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Archive For Entries On Privacy

R v Belcourt : Privacy and Punishment When the Safety Is Off

The British Columbia Court of Appeal (“BCCA”) decision in R v Belcourt, 2015 BCCA 126 [Belcourt], weighed the constitutional underpinnings of two different issues—privacy, and instructions on mens rea requirements—in a second-degree murder charge. The BCCA concluded that the privacy rights of Belcourt, the accused, were not infringed by the production of text messages under […]

Does Government Spying Make Us Safer? Liberty v Secretary of State

A Decision of the United Kingdom’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal (“the Tribunal”) in Liberty v Secretary of State, [2015] UKIPTrib 13 77-H [Liberty], endorsed the importance of transparency in the surveillance practices of British security agencies such as the Security Service (“MI5”), the Secret Intelligence Service (“MI6”), and the Government Communications Headquarters (“GCHQ”). The decision emphasized […]

X(Re): A Check on CSIS Powers or a Roadmap for Expanding Them?

On July 31, 2014, the Federal Court of Appeal (“FCA”) released its judgment in X(Re), 2014 FCA 249, largely upholding a Federal Court finding that limited the scope of powers that may be exercised by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (“CSIS”) while carrying out surveillance of Canadians abroad. The matter arose after the Federal Court became aware that CSIS […]

Safeguarding Online Anonymity: R v Spencer Revisited

Last month, senior contributing editor Jordan Casey analyzed R v Spencer, 2014 SCC 43, a case that clarifies the Supreme Court of Canada’s (“SCC”) position on what constitutes a reasonable expectation of privacy in the digital age. This post further explores one of the themes touched on by Jordan – the nature and significance of […]

The Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in the Information Age: R v Spencer

On June 13, 2014, Cromwell J., in R v Spencer, 2014 SCC 43, gave a ruling on whether or not Matthew David Spencer had a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to his subscriber information. Contrary to the decision of the trial judge, Cromwell J. concluded that since “[t]he disclosure of the subscriber information will […]

SCC Continues to Navigate the Tension Between Labour Relations and Privacy: Bernard v Canada

Last November, the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) decided that Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act, SA 2003 c P-6.5, which, inter alia, had the effect of preventing unions from filming individuals crossing a picket line, was an unjustifiable violation of the constitutional right to freedom of expression (for more, see the commentary by Avnish Nanda and […]

Metadata and the Fourth Amendment

The American National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk metadata collection program has been the subject of considerable scrutiny ever since The Guardian revealed the program’s existence last summer as part of its reporting on leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Perhaps the most salient legal issue regarding the metadata program is whether it violates the […]

BULLETIN: SCC Declares Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act Unconstitutional, Affirms Freedom of Expression in Labour Context

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Canada in Alberta v United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401 2013 SCC 62 declares Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) to be unconstitutional, as it breaches a union’s freedom of expression, protected under s. 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedom, and cannot be justified under s. 1. Despite […]

If it’s about pregnancy, it’s about women: Ivana Levkovic v Her Majesty the Queen

On October 10th, 2012 the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) heard arguments in the case of Ivana Levkovic v Her Majesty the Queen. The next day, the SCC heard arguments in the case of Her Majesty the Queen v ADH. Both cases involved women who had left their foetuses after giving birth. In Levkovic, the […]

Law Enforcement Wins at the Expense of Internet Privacy in R v Ward

Yesterday, after weeks of incessant prodding by Apple, I finally decided to upgrade to the latest version of iTunes. Before doing so, however, a window emerged before me with a dizzying and seemingly endless block of text. Like most people faced with an ominous set of “Terms and Conditions,” I scrolled directly to the bottom […]