Canadian border police arrests a man for refusing to give his Apple iPhone pass code

Canadian border police wanted to check a Philippon’s Apple iPhone and wanted pass codes, Philippon refused and got arrested

Your phone personal device and you believe that no one, read no one should access it without your explicit permission. Canadian border agents believe otherwise.

Alain Philippon who is Quebec resident, believes his cell phone is personal. So when Canadian border agents wanted to search it, he says no. What happens next? Well, he gets arrested.

Alain Philippon who is a Canadian national had arrived at Halifax Stanfield International Airport in Canada from Dominican Republic and was stopped by border agents. The border agents wanted to access his smartphone, Philippon refused to give them the passcode and he was promptly arrested.

This has raised a fresh new controversy in Canada because most of the Canadian’s believe that the border agents were wrong, however the border agents  say they are within their right. A spokeswoman for the Canadian Border Services Agency told CNN’s Chris Matyszczyk, that Philippon has been “arrested under section 153.1 of the Customs Act for hindering.”

But what was Philippon hindering, he was merely refusing access of his phone to third party because he believed it to be his personal belonging.

The border agency spokesperson said that “The Customs Act (s99) authorizes officers to examine all goods and conveyances including electronic devices, such as cell phones and laptops.” She explained that the potential punishment for Philippon is a minimum fine of $1000 and a maximum fine of $25,000 and could include possible jail time.

Though the spokesperson refused to explain how Philippon broke any law by refusing to handover the passcodes to the border agents, she added “Officers are trained to look for indicators of deception and use a risk management approach in determining which goods may warrant a closer look.”

So we can surmise that he has been booked under the national security act because as CNN says, everything, many governments believe, should be and is being spied upon.

CBC reports that the issue of giving your passcode to authorities has never been litigated in Canada. (Philippon’s court hearing is scheduled for May 12) It’s one thing to hand over your phone. But could handing over your passcode be deemed self-incrimination?

In the US, the Fifth Amendment exists to protect you from incriminating yourself. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation says, courts have generally accepted that passcodes are “testimony.”

One thing is for certain, Philippon’s can may lay a strong foundation for a Fifth Amendment like ruling for Canadians and would be helpful to them in long run.

Do you feel that the Canadian border agents were right in arresting Alain Philippon?  do drop in your comments


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