Digital Culture
1 min

Border agency tight-lipped on laptop search policy

The BC Civil Liberties Association is hitting roadblocks with its attempts to learn more about laptop searches by the Canada Border Services Agency.

"We’ve come across a lot of stories (see here, or here, or here for just a few examples) detailing the experiences of travellers who have had their devices searched or detained,” blogs the BCCLA. “What we haven’t come across are official policy statements from the
CBSA describing how they deal with electronic devices. The CBSA has no
public policy on the search and detention of electronic devices or the
copying and retention of data from these devices.”

Photo: Aaron Gustafson

In 2008, Xtra wrote about a gay couple who had their laptop seized at the Canadian border.

The BCCLA filed an Access to Information request on Oct 21, 2009, hoping to clarify CBSA’s policy on searching electronic devices. CBSA received the request on Nov 4, and they had 30 days from that date to reply. On Nov 30, CBSA asked for a 60-day extension. The Feb 1, 2010 deadline came and went — still no reply from CBSA.

The BCCLA will continue to push the Information Commissioner to address CBSA’s failure to meet its obligations under the Access to Information Act. 

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