Author Topic: Here’s What To Do If A Border Guard Wants To Search Your Phone  (Read 7719 times)

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Offline Cloud Cover

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Re: Here’s What To Do If A Border Guard Wants To Search Your Phone
« Reply #25 on: August 06, 2018, 17:10:40 »
The only non-trivial security is quantum safe encryption. That doesn’t mean quantum computers need to be employed to defeat it.  The biggest security loophole is end users themselves, no matter how security conscious they may be. In many cases a user of a service is forced to commit unwittingly to something that executes black code or is otherwise revealing. Two factor authentication is a 1980’s technique that is exactly what it means: it is authentication>>  not confidentiality, integrity and non-repudiation. 

Edit: https://cryptologic.ca/articles

The author makes the case....
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 18:03:02 by whiskey601 »
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Offline Haggis

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Re: Here’s What To Do If A Border Guard Wants To Search Your Phone
« Reply #26 on: August 06, 2018, 19:57:29 »
https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/alert-avis/piu-uip-eng.html

It's almost like driving past a car accident....

And for the BSO is the Postal Mode, for example, who have to view and make a determination on this stuff, it's like parking next to that accident and watching the body parts being slowly and messily pulled out of the wreckage.  It wears on you.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 20:01:15 by Haggis »
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Offline Infanteer

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Re: Here’s What To Do If A Border Guard Wants To Search Your Phone
« Reply #27 on: August 06, 2018, 22:03:48 »
And for the BSO is the Postal Mode, for example, who have to view and make a determination on this stuff, it's like parking next to that accident and watching the body parts being slowly and messily pulled out of the wreckage.  It wears on you.

I say next to a BSO on a flight once, and her job was to screen that stuff.  She said nothing in the world shocked her anymore.
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Offline Xylric

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Re: Here’s What To Do If A Border Guard Wants To Search Your Phone
« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2018, 21:51:16 »
An interesting thought experiment comes to mind.

Suppose I were a well-known Canadian criminologist and academic, invited to give a presentation in the United States about some new method of disguising child porn, and in the process of travelling across the border, Customs Officials find the subject matter of my presentation (with actual examples - which I suspect would not happen in reality), and as a result detain me for it. What would be the process of resolving the situation? I imagine the law enforcement agency that invited me into the US would be one of the first contacted.

Offline JesseWZ

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Re: Here’s What To Do If A Border Guard Wants To Search Your Phone
« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2018, 22:19:20 »
Academics are not allowed to possess child porn - even for "educational purposes".

Even as police officers, we have to be very stringent with how we find, catalogue and handle found collections of child pornography. There is a lot of layers of security and oversight with that material when its recovered.

« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 22:24:03 by JesseWZ »
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Offline PuckChaser

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Re: Here’s What To Do If A Border Guard Wants To Search Your Phone
« Reply #30 on: August 08, 2018, 22:26:30 »
I have no idea why someone would need actual child pornography to teach a seminar on the ways people try to hide it. You could demonstrate the processes with cat videos and it would accomplish the same thing.

Offline JesseWZ

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Re: Here’s What To Do If A Border Guard Wants To Search Your Phone
« Reply #31 on: August 08, 2018, 22:48:49 »
The only time I've seen child pornography in an "academic environment" is on Integrated Child Exploitation (ICE) courses or similar. Each time, it was closely secured and provided by a police officer who worked in an ICE unit.

Typically they would form part of the instruction on cataloguing and classifying the material. It's an unpleasant process, but each image has to be evaluated to determine whether it is or isn't child porn. There are other investigative techniques conducted as well, but I won't be explaining them on an open forum.
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Offline Xylric

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Re: Here’s What To Do If A Border Guard Wants To Search Your Phone
« Reply #32 on: August 09, 2018, 02:53:01 »
As I said, there's absolutely no reason to think anything like the thought experiment would happen in reality. What worries me is the possibility that it *could* because someone was careless - or worse yet, unaware. An IT nightmare scenario my network administrator and I have been trying to develop a defense against involves hackers planting such material on hard-drives at point of manufacture and wiping it so that only mere traces remain. I won't touch Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency because of the way they work - the block-chain is more than likely replete with things best not touched by human hands.

I brought it up because the instructor of the forensics course I took in college (Jan 2010 semester) was simultaneously an academic and an RCMP officer (who had spent a significant portion of time in some of the more major sex crimes Canada had to deal with, as he worked the Bernardo case). He mentioned that due to the extreme nature of the material that those working the case had to examine, a few of the people involved later went on to help train US police units to enhance their ability to deal with similar cases.

It was a poor attempt at a "worst case" example and thought experiment that stuck my mind as I came across one of the papers I wrote on child pornography and cyber security for that course. I do apologize for not articulating the question and scenario better. Basically what I wanted to know was what's likely to happen if one is *mistakenly* thought to be carrying such material. I don't know why I used the parentheses.


« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 03:01:48 by Xylric »

Offline JesseWZ

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Re: Here’s What To Do If A Border Guard Wants To Search Your Phone
« Reply #33 on: August 09, 2018, 11:18:48 »
As I said, there's absolutely no reason to think anything like the thought experiment would happen in reality. What worries me is the possibility that it *could* because someone was careless - or worse yet, unaware. An IT nightmare scenario my network administrator and I have been trying to develop a defense against involves hackers planting such material on hard-drives at point of manufacture and wiping it so that only mere traces remain. I won't touch Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency because of the way they work - the block-chain is more than likely replete with things best not touched by human hands.

I brought it up because the instructor of the forensics course I took in college (Jan 2010 semester) was simultaneously an academic and an RCMP officer (who had spent a significant portion of time in some of the more major sex crimes Canada had to deal with, as he worked the Bernardo case). He mentioned that due to the extreme nature of the material that those working the case had to examine, a few of the people involved later went on to help train US police units to enhance their ability to deal with similar cases.

It was a poor attempt at a "worst case" example and thought experiment that stuck my mind as I came across one of the papers I wrote on child pornography and cyber security for that course. I do apologize for not articulating the question and scenario better. Basically what I wanted to know was what's likely to happen if one is *mistakenly* thought to be carrying such material. I don't know why I used the parentheses.

Okay, I'll take the thought experiment at it's face. While I'm not CBSA, I've worked a few files with them, so I'll have a crack at it.

First - anytime I've ever handled CP administratively (ie to bring to the Crown or Court), it was on a stand-alone non re-writable finalized disc or drive (depending on the size of the collection) clearly labeled as containing child pornography. Attached to said disc is a chain of custody which lists everyone who had it in their possession and why.

There shouldn't be a need for anyone engaging in academic exercise to have the material on their phone or computer for so many reasons. Now, let's say our academic exercised extremely poor judgement and had the material on a digital device like a laptop or phone. If they say nothing about it, and it is found - you can bet that won't be solved at the local border level. An investigation will start, the devices will be seized, the "professor" will likely be arrested and off will his devices go for forensic analysis (with the appropriate warrant once obtained).

If the professor was up front, had clearly labeled what he had, he still may not be allowed into the country and may be arrested. The law is pretty clear that ordinary folks (even academics) are not to possess, access, distribute or create child pornography. When you throw a border into the mix, you can run into import/export offences as well. What the American law is - I don't know, but you can bet it will be a legal mess. As an investigator, I certainly wouldn't be satisfied with a phone call to the constabulary this guy was supposed to lecture at.

Thought experiments of this type are hard to muddle through due to the enormous amount of detail needed in order to properly contextualize what is going on. You would be better served by accessing a case law resource (such as canlii.org) and just start reading decisions.
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Offline Xylric

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Re: Here’s What To Do If A Border Guard Wants To Search Your Phone
« Reply #34 on: August 09, 2018, 11:27:40 »
Much as I thought - when I posed the thought experiment to the instructor of that course last night, his simple response was: Anyone who did that deserves what will happen.

Offline Pieman

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Re: Here’s What To Do If A Border Guard Wants To Search Your Phone
« Reply #35 on: August 09, 2018, 14:12:58 »
If one doesn't want to have their info looked at when crossing then most phones/devices will backup onto the cloud. The user restores the device to factory settings and wipes everything from phone/device. You simply update your phone with your cloud data when done. This is one method high tech companies use to keep their sensitive tech data secure. For social media you can simply turn off the visibility to facebook/instagram etc. in the security settings if you don't want people digging around in there.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 14:19:41 by Pieman »
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Re: Here’s What To Do If A Border Guard Wants To Search Your Phone
« Reply #36 on: August 09, 2018, 22:09:50 »
So if CBSA find evidence on your that suggests you committed a crime in Canada before leaving and returning, is that evidence admissible? I ask because the search is done under the Customs Act, but the alleged offense would be done in Canada, prior to leaving and would not in anyway trigger the Customs Act.

Border Service Officers are peace officers and have the power to arrest for Criminal Code offences.  For example, if you drive up to a land border while impaired expect to be arrested. If you arrive by any mode (air, marine, rail or highway) while the subject of an active criminal warrant in Canada, expect to be arrested. For more detail, Brihards reply to your post lays out what the process will be once your cell phone with incriminating photos of your barn-sized unlicensed grow op in Medicine Hat is searched and seized by the CBSA.
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Offline Cloud Cover

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Re: Here’s What To Do If A Border Guard Wants To Search Your Phone
« Reply #37 on: December 13, 2018, 21:24:11 »
CBSA searching phones; More at link:
No surprises here except the casual reference to the search of the phone. It was a just a minor  oopsie that the IRB judge characterized him as follows:

"At the detention hearing, the CBSA strongly recommended Farah be detained a few more days until it received his full criminal record from the U.S. But Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) member Trent Cook clearly placed more weight on Farah's admission about his background than on the agency's suspicion about the degree of his criminality.

"One of the biggest factors that play in your particular situation is your character," Cook said.

"In my estimation, you are probably one of the most honest detainees that I have ever come across," he said, noting Farah had acted "contrary" to his own interests by offering up his criminal history and gang ties.

"What this indicates to me is that you are, based on your character and behaviour, very likely to pursue all of your immigration matters in Canada with the same diligence and honesty as you have demonstrated in your interview."
  :waiting:

..................


https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/gangster-refugee-canada-immigration-screening-1.4943292
Botched handling of gangster refugee claimant exposes Canada's screening weaknesses
...
Evidence of criminal activity on cellphone

During a two-month investigation of Farah's case, CBC reviewed hundreds of pages of police, court, parole, and immigration records, and conducted interviews with U.S. police and immigration officials. The investigation revealed that:

Just six days after Farah was first released, he breached his conditions and was subsequently rearrested.
That same day, Nov. 8, 2017, the CBSA gained access to Farah's cellphone. It contained recent photos and videos of Farah playing with a loaded handgun, doing cocaine, concealing cocaine and flashing wads of cash. There were also front-and-back photos of a credit card that wasn't his.

Farah was on parole when the photos were taken, and was prohibited from possessing a firearm.


The phone also contained Tinder chats, photos of Farah having sex with women, and photos of women in various stages of nudity.

There was no evidence of homosexual activity. Farah's asylum claim was based on his contention that as a gay Muslim, he would be killed if he was deported to Somalia.

The IRB again released Farah on March 14, 2018. The hearing transcript doesn't mention the damning phone report.

The CBSA declined an interview request, so it is not known why the phone report was not immediately entered into the IRB hearing process. In an emailed statement, the CBSA said only that all relevant documentation and evidence had been entered into Farah's admissibility hearing.

American court, police, and FBI records show Farah's criminal record, and his gang membership, was far more extensive and serious than he had disclosed.
 
Farah had wilfully refused to abide by release conditions for years. CBC found at least 30 instances in which Farah breached immigration release and parole conditions in the U.S. He failed to abide by his release conditions in Canada several more times.

Farah was to have been a key witness against his own gang in a major sex-trafficking case in Nashville, Tenn., that involved girls as young as 12. But he reneged and was imprisoned for contempt of court and obstruction of justice.

Farah told CBSA and IRB officials he refused to testify because he had been assaulted and his family had been threatened. The judge in his contempt case found no evidence to support those claims and court records show Farah lied repeatedly.
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Offline Haggis

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Re: Here’s What To Do If A Border Guard Wants To Search Your Phone
« Reply #38 on: December 22, 2018, 09:55:22 »
Just because evidence is entered at an IRB hearing doesn't mean that it has to be considered.
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Offline Colin P

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Re: Here’s What To Do If A Border Guard Wants To Search Your Phone
« Reply #39 on: January 16, 2019, 21:04:17 »
A California court has just ruled that biometric devices are the equivalent of passwords and you cannot bee coerced into using them by a law enforcement agency. 

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Re: Here’s What To Do If A Border Guard Wants To Search Your Phone
« Reply #40 on: February 20, 2019, 10:38:06 »
FYI, in case anyone was wondering about it, the case law establishing the authority for BSO's to examine without warrant, is R. v SIMMONS.  https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/377/index.do

The MTP's to take away from this are as follows:

1. No reasonable expectation of privacy when voluntarily crossing an international border
2. All goods including electronic device are subject to examination, including locked folders. (A locked folder is viewed the same way as a locked suitcase. BSO's must be able to determine that there is not prohibited material contained within)
3. Failing to abide by this can result in the device being held, or seized for determination. Possibly charges for hindering.
4. These exams are not done as a matter of routine.
5. Warrants are not required until such a time as prohibited material is found.

Lastly, to expand on previous comments, about stupid criminals.....  Abso-fricking-lutely they do keep this stuff on their phones/laptops/flash drives/etc....     

Privacy commissioner of Canada link re: Crossing borders and Airports.
https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/privacy-topics/public-safety-and-law-enforcement/your-privacy-at-airports-and-borders/
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Offline Haggis

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Here's the tale of another lawyer who didn't do his homework.  He spent four months living in a drug source country and has no idea why he was referred for a secondary examination.  Not a lawyer I would hire to defend me.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2019, 10:18:37 by Haggis »
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Offline Cloud Cover

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Nothing in the Rules of Professional Conduct allow a lawyer to take the privileged communications of a client across a border and expose that information to risk of search and seizure. The rules of Lavalee (which are onerous) apply to CBSA and the search, but do not prevent the search itself.
Every lawyer knows (or should know) that as a person the CBSA can perform a cursory examination of their electronic devices.  The only immunity from that is diplomatic immunity.
A forensic search can only be obtained if the CBSA agent suspects on reasonable grounds that the Customs Act (or any regulations of the Customs Act) or any other Act of Parliament administered by the CBSA have been or might have been contravened by the person who is entering or leaving the country.

The border is not the jungle of a university campus where hysterical thesis papers seems to be accepted as the new rules of law.
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Here's the tale of another lawyer who didn't do his homework.  He spent four months living in a drug source country and has no idea why he was referred for a secondary examination.  Not a lawyer I would hire to defend me.

I know CBSA doesn't have to follow the Charter of Rights WRT unlawful search and seizure, but whats the probable cause (or expected outcome) of searching a guy's cell phone and laptop after all his personal effects have come up clean for drug residue after secondary search? Presumably this guy is a Canadian citizen (albeit with an unknown travel history), re-entering his home country without any indicators he's a drug/money mule. Are his emails hiding physical cocaine in them somehow? I'm all for searching people as they re-enter, but if he's passed secondary and clearly not a drug/money mule, then why is CBSA allowed to search his phone? The rules are archaic and don't jive with a modern, connected society.

Offline Jarnhamar

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Sorry if this has been asked before.

Can CBSA demand a password for my email accounts or folders inside my phone past the initial locked screen?
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Offline Brihard

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I know CBSA doesn't have to follow the Charter of Rights WRT unlawful search and seizure, but whats the probable cause (or expected outcome) of searching a guy's cell phone and laptop after all his personal effects have come up clean for drug residue after secondary search? Presumably this guy is a Canadian citizen (albeit with an unknown travel history), re-entering his home country without any indicators he's a drug/money mule. Are his emails hiding physical cocaine in them somehow? I'm all for searching people as they re-enter, but if he's passed secondary and clearly not a drug/money mule, then why is CBSA allowed to search his phone? The rules are archaic and don't jive with a modern, connected society.

1. They do ‘follow the Charter’ (or more properly are constrained by it). Any discussion of Charter applications must bear in mind S.1, the ‘reasonable limitations’ Claude.

2. The Customs Act allows for examination of all goods coming into Canada and requires that anyone bringing goods into the country submit them to inspection. This includes digital devices.

3. Prohibited goods include certain obscene materials that are not admissible to the country. This includes things like child porn and hate propaganda. This is part of what customs officers examine for. Anecdotally I’ve been given to understand that some travel patterns (eg lone male professional traveler to some less developed countries known for sex tourism) fit behavioural profiles that are indicators for secondary screening referrals.

Long story short, anyone leaving the country should know that they are subject to examination coming back in and that this will include phones, laptops, etc. There is a greatly reduced expectation of privacy at the border, and this is congruent with the ability of a sovereign state to control entry into its borders. Case law is well established on that at this point.
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Offline Haggis

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Are his emails hiding physical cocaine in them somehow? I'm all for searching people as they re-enter, but if he's passed secondary and clearly not a drug/money mule, then why is CBSA allowed to search his phone?

A travellers e-mails could contain evidence of drug smuggling or trafficking, money laundering, child porn, hate propaganda, terrorist activity, war crimes or simply the intent to work illegally in Canada or gain access to social services benefits to which they are not entitled..

He was not "past secondary".  The Customs process was not completed.  The examination of his phone was part of that process.

A Canadian citizen has the right to reenter Canada.  However, like visitors to Canada, they and all their goods and conveyances (cars, boats, planes, etc.) are subject to examination to ensure they have made a truthful declaration and they are not importing items which are prohibited, controlled or subject to duties and taxes.  You are not more trusted as a Canadian.

Sorry if this has been asked before.

Can CBSA demand a password for my email accounts or folders inside my phone past the initial locked screen?

Content locally stored on the device(s) can be searched.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2019, 13:18:39 by Haggis »
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Offline Jarnhamar

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Content locally stored on the device(s) can be searched.

Would someone be obligated to reveal if there was hidden from view folders or programs?

I remember there was an app that on the surface was a working music app but if you pressed the icon for 8 seconds it would prompt you for a password and inside you could store pictures and files and even contacts and messenger accounts.
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Offline Haggis

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Would someone be obligated to reveal if there was hidden from view folders or programs?

If ti's stored on the device it can be examined.

I remember there was an app that on the surface was a working music app but if you pressed the icon for 8 seconds it would prompt you for a password and inside you could store pictures and files and even contacts and messenger accounts.

The younger BSOs are quite tech savvy.  Intel is routinely shared nationally and internationally on concealment methods, both physical and technological and laws are evolving to keep up.
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Offline JesseWZ

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There are more than a few apps like that, we get some training on spotting them, no doubt CBSA does as well. Fortunately, if we're at a stage where we're "ripping" the phone, the files are still discoverable.

I would argue that you are obligated to truthfully declare what you are carrying - including revealing if there are hidden files on your phone when asked. Why are they hidden? Who knows - perhaps the content is illegal, immoral, or you simply like your privacy... in any event, if an examination of the phone turns up information you chose to willfully withhold from CBSA, your day is going to get worse in a hurry.


A Canadian citizen has the right to reenter Canada.  However, like visitors to Canada, they an all their goods, and conveyances (cars, boats, planes, etc.) are subject to examination to ensure they have made a truthful declaration and they are not importing items which are prohibited, controlled or subject to duties and taxes. 

Content locally stored on the device(s) can be searched.

What he said.
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