Text messages and how they are treated in the eyes of the law.

Do you want to know how your privacy is looked at under the law in Canada? Know your rights!

The Supreme Court of Canada was asked to decide how this form of communication is looked at in terms of privacy. The Crown sought to get text messages from Telus. In Canada billions of text messages are sent each year. unlike telephone conversations, text messages will sit on the server of the host company, in this case Telus. At the heart of the case, the authorities got a search warrant to get the records of the texts that were sitting on Telus’s servers. Telus argued that text messages are more like phone conversations and should require a wire tap to get access to this information as it is a form of “interception” of “private communication”. The test to allow for a wire tap is much higher than the text to get a search warrant as it violates a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy.

It is good that the Supreme Court is looking at changing communications in new lights. Traditionally the law is very slow to change with technology (in a relatively speaking manner). Here they defined a text message as an “electronic conversation”. the court went on to say that the only difference between a phone conversation and a text conversation is the transmission process.

As is tradition with the supreme court, this text message case was heard by 7 judges. Two dissented (thought that the wire tap approach was not correct) and the other five agreed (although the took different legal rationalization roots to determine how text messages would be treated).

For those interested in reading the full case, here is a link here for your ease of reference. http://scc.lexum.org/decisia-scc-csc/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/12936/index.do

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