Privacy and Text Messages

In December, the Supreme Court of Canada issued two important decisions on the reasonable expectation of privacy in text messages.

The decisions relate to two issues. First, does the sender of a text message continue to have a privacy interest in the content of the text message after the message has been sent? The court said that the sender could have a continuing privacy interest depending on the circumstances. Second, what are the obligations of law enforcement obligations to obtain judicial authorization to obtain copies of  past text messages through production orders to telecommunications service providers. The court concluded that there was a difference between seeking past message and future messages. This meant that law enforcement could obtain past messages from the telecommunications service provider under a lower standard of care.

You can find my analysis of these cases in an article Defining privacy in text messages – a step forward and maybe a step back for the International Association of Privacy Professionals.