SCC’s Recognition of privacy in text Message Conversations

Subject: Law
Type: Synthesis Essay
Pages: 2
Word count: 547
Topics: Communication, Injustice, Justice, Social Media

The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) established a significant ruling that in certain circumstance a senders text messages are entitled to the Charter privacy protection. This implies that the persons who send text message have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the text they send. This applies to before or after the recipients have received the texts. The ruling considered every single detail and generally an impact on the investigation and individual’s privacy. The R. v. Marakah, 2017 SCC 59 case involved the accused person who sent a text message to another (accomplice). The police used the content of the texts, which was based on firearms, to convict the accused of multiple offenses regarding firearms.

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The Supreme Court made two significant decisions that protect against privacy the individual’s text messages. The first decision was with regard to an individual having a “reasonable expectation of privacy” in communication or electronic devices. The second decision was with regard to the “relevant circumstances” that determine whether or not the accused persons will enjoy the Charter privacy protection. The first decision is significant because allows individuals to enjoy the privacy of their text messages even if they are located in other people’s electronic, telecommunication devices or the server.  The totality of the circumstances is what determined the verdict of this case and a couple of references cases.

The SCC concluded in the R. V. Marakah, 2017 SCC 59 case, under the circumstances, the accused enjoys the provisions of the Charter Privacy protection in the messages sent to the accomplice. This implies that the accused was in a better position to challenge the seizures and search by police that presented the text messages as evidence.  The search was termed as unreasonable and charges were dropped. Looking at factors such as the place of the search, private nature of the subject and control over the subject, the court discovered that the recipient of the texts had the obligation of keeping the conversation private.

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The case led to the development of crucial consequences that would shape the society and potentially represent the Supreme Court of Canada. The most significant impact is on the provision of the “reasonable expectation of privacy”. The SCC communicates strongly that this provision should be approached with caution since the court can easily deny individual such fundamental rights. This further indicates that not all text messages are protected from polices search, however, the search must be conducted with regard to the legal requirements. For instance, the police should obtain a warrant to intercepts the messages or search an electronic or telecommunication device.

The current world revolves around technologies which enhances communication. The community needs to understand their rights while using these devices so that they may not suffer from unfair judgments. The legal experts can also borrow from the ruling, better ways of approaching a similar case. The ruling was okay, looking at the place of search. Text messages are sent and received via the electronic devices and there is no physical location. So on the personal ruling, the case would be dropped because the way the police obtained evidence does not meet the threshold required for obtaining warrants.  Secondly and finally accused should has the right to have the text private.

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