Edward Prutschi spoke with Newstalk1010’s Jerry Agar about what options and rights people have when border control requests to look at their cell phone. While regular police officers do not have the right to search phones without a warrant, border security does. Ed Prutschi says the whole thing gets more complicated when you factor in the people who carry other people’s confidential data, not just their own. For individuals like doctors, criminal lawyers, or financial advisors, strict laws prohibit them from releasing that information.
The good news for most people and even those who have to carry confidential information for work is that border patrol officials will only be looking for specific things. They are looking for terrorism or fraud, not your patient’s medical history or your photos. People could theoretically have a separate work phone they leave behind, but until formal laws are put into place saying what information border security can access and who, if anyone, would be exempt there aren’t grounds to say “no”.
When traveling and crossing borders people have to accept there is a lesser degree of privacy. It's just how we sacrifice privacy to go through airport security. Until new regulations get implemented, by saying “no” border control can refuse to let you enter, or refuse to let you enter with your phone.