On Thursday 18 April, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that sexually explicit electronic communications are private except where the recipient of such sexually explicit content is a minor. In that instance, electronic communications can be used in a police investigation without a warrant. The facts concerned police officers who posed as a child and received explicit messages. A policeman from Newfoundland created fake Facebook and Hotmail accounts, using teen girls as their personas. A meeting was arranged in a local park between the police officer and the defendant. The defendant then stated that the police officer should have obtained prior judicial authorisation to intercept the electronic communications before using them in a prosecution against child predators.
In a unanimous 7-0 decision, the Supreme Court stated that the defendant should not have expected for his privacy to be protected as he was under the apprehension that he was conversing with a child, who was, in fact, a stranger. In such an instance, the defendant cannot expect their constitutional right to privacy to be upheld. The court also set a precedent regarding screenshots by stating that screenshots are merely copies of an existing record of communications and not new records created by the state for prosecution.
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