Press Release: BCCLA launches translated electronic devices handbook to protect privacy at the border

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VANCOUVER – On October 4, 2018, the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) and the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) released six translated versions of “Electronic Devices Privacy Handbook – a Guide to your Rights at the Border.” This project was supported by a grant from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority’s (CIRA) Community Investment Program.

The Electronic Devices Privacy Handbook was launched August 1st and helps travellers understand what is known about their data privacy rights at Canadian border and at U.S. preclearance areas, best practices for securing your digital devices, and what to do if they’ve been searched. The Handbook was written in English, and has been in high demand since its launch this summer.  A condensed version of the Handbook is now available in French, Tagalog, Chinese, Arabic, Spanish and Punjabi.

“As we keep more and more personal information on our smartphones and laptops – from private conversations with friends or colleagues to our health and financial information – it’s important for travelers to be aware of the risks involved with device searches, and the extent to which they can protect ourselves at the border,”  said Meghan McDermott, Staff Counsel with BCCLA. “We have translated this important guidance into French, Tagalog, Chinese, Arabic, Spanish and Punjabi so that it is accessible to a wider audience who may now benefit from being informed about their privacy rights at the border.”

The handbook is for every person who crosses the Canadian border and the U.S. border through preclearance areas, but has particularly important implications for marginalized populations and professionals carrying sensitive documents.  All people with personal information on their devices have vested interests in protecting their data from being seized at the border and shared with Canada’s vast network of coordinating departments and national security partners.

“We know that data privacy is important to Canadians. In fact, our research shows that over two thirds of Canadians are concerned about the privacy of their personal information on the internet if stored or routed through the U.S.,” says David Fowler, vice president of marketing and communications at CIRA. “CIRA is proud to have funded this valuable resource, which will help Canadians make decisions about the personal information they choose to take with them when they travel outside of Canada.”

WHAT: Launch of “Electronic Devices Privacy Handbook – a Guide to your Rights at the Border” translated into French, Tagalog, Chinese, Arabic, Spanish and Punjabi

WHEN: Thursday October 4, 2018 at 9:00 am PT

WHERE: Online at

WHO:  Meghan McDermott, BCCLA Staff Counsel, at [email protected] (778) 783-3011


About CIRA and the Community Investment Program

CIRA is building a better online Canada through the Community Investment Program by funding charities, not-for-profits and members of the academic community who are making the Internet better for all Canadians. CIRA is best known for our role managing the .CA domain on behalf of all Canadians. While this remains our primary mandate, as a member-based not-for-profit ourselves, we have a much broader goal to strengthen Canada’s Internet. The Community Investment Program is one of our most valuable contributions toward this goal and funds projects in digital literacy, online services, research and infrastructure. Every .CA domain name registered or renewed contributes to this program. To date CIRA has contributed $5.45 million in Community Investment Program grants.