The Canadian government are reviewing a new Bill S-7 (first reading was March, 2022) permitting Canada Border Services agents to read or view “emails, documents, texts, instant messages, photos or videos” on the cellphones, laptops, tablets, smart watches and any other devices of anyone entering the country – citizen, refugee or visitor – without a warrant.
We used to warn travellers to take clean devices with them when traveling to certain countries.
If this bill passes and becomes law is it a step back on personal privacy?
Also, what about business or national/international security privacy?
What if you represent a business and have confidential data, whether it be a new product design, PII, or personal health info?
Or if you work at an organization and have classified documents?
It will be interesting to follow.
In the past we've had to advise exec travelling internationally to buy a laptop on expenses in the destination country and take no devices through border control points, if they were working on things that were market sensitive.
Canada is overall, very safe. It's actually known for its peacekeeping diplomacy, respect and tolerance for everyone, so you can rest assured that you will probably encounter no problems when traveling there. Still, do not let your guard down and be vigilant at all times.
That's not the way I heard it from Jordan Peterson. Further, recent actions from the PM regarding "public safety" lead me to conclude Canada is rapidly running down a dangerous road to authoritarianism and dictatorial bent. I think Diana's warning about the proposed border inspection effrontery is spot on.
As for clean machines at borders, while I do not fully trust Google, I recommend getting a Chromebook for travel, resetting to factory condition before crossing a border in either direction. Once at your destination you can sign in with your Gmail address and recover all files and settings from the cloud.
Should you choose to store files locally on a microSD card, beside there are only non-sensitive files you do not mind being inspected. Otherwise, hold them only in the cloud for later retrieval.
Nation states can change their approach to border inspection controls at any point in time. It may be influenced by perceived threat levels of potential attacks or an internal policy change. Travellers cannot expect these changes to be announced ahead of time as doing so may defeat the objective of the checks being carried out. So if you don't need to access particular information, then the safest thing to do is to simply not take your devices with you.