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June 2014 Archives

R v Spencer: Internet Anonymity Protected by Supreme Court

Last week the Supreme Court of Canada ("SCC") released a decision in a case called R v Spencer with the court upholding internet user's anonymity. The law now requires police officers to get a search warrant before being able to get a user's information from their ISP ("Internet Service Provider"). Prior to this judgment, ISPs would provide police forces with user information tied to an IP address upon a request without a warrant or court order. The SCC ruled that Canadians have a reasonable expectation of privacy associated with their internet use. The SCC also confirmed that the Charter-protected right against unreasonable searches is engaged when police attempt to obtain user information matching an IP address.

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