Update: cell phones at the border

OpenMedia r1

Hi Paov, would you know what to do if a Canadian border agent asked to look through your phone or laptop?

Most people in Canada... don’t know much about their rights at the border, much less what the rules for device searches are or how to file a complaint if the rules aren't followed.

So, we decided to launch a site to let you know what rights you have in a border area, what you’re legally required to do, and links to file a complaint.


Our campaign made headlines last week when Vancouver Airport (YVR) came under fire for refusing to allow advertisements for our website in an adjacent public transit station. [1][2]

It’s incredibly concerning that airport officials don’t appear to want travellers to be informed of their rights at the border.

It only takes a moment to realize just how much private information is on our devices. Emails, photos, texts, banking and health apps — not to mention confidential files that business travellers may carry.

But border agents interpret our current laws as giving them the right to search devices without a warrant or even any suspicion. In fact, digital devices are classified as ‘mere goods’ — the same classification as the clothes in your suitcase.

All this is because these laws haven’t kept up to date with modern technology. They come from the filing cabinet era, where no one was travelling with the equivalent of years of personal messages stored on a tiny device that fits in your pocket.

And politicians simply haven’t been feeling enough pressure to update them. That has to change. With this wave of publicity, we have a big chance right now to make them hear our message — and act on it.

Add your signature to a message to decision makers, and help spread the word about our rights at the border!


Thanks for everything you do, Victoria at OpenMedia

P.S. We’re not letting YVR’s refusal to run our ads stop our campaign. With the support of our donors who have recently stepped up in light of this news, we’ve been able to increase our budget and book even more ads on other parts of the transit line than before. If you want to be a part of the fight back against censorship, you can chip in here.

[1] YVR under fire after blocking ads with information on travellers’ privacy rights:
Global News
[2] Vancouver airport rejects ads offering information on digital privacy:


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