Supreme Court rules that police need warrants for Canadians’ IP addresses

The ruling stems from a fraud case in which a Calgary man was arrested after police obtained his IP address without a warrant

Privacy computer

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that police require a warrant to obtain a computer’s IP address.

The 5-4 ruling came on March 1st, noting that “personal privacy is vital to individual dignity, autonomy, and personal growth. Its protection is a basic prerequisite to the flourishing of a free and healthy democracy.”

The ruling stems from a case that opened in 2017 in which Calgary police were investigating fraudulent online transactions from a liquor store. At the time, police received two IP addresses from Moneris, the liquor store’s payment processor, without a warrant.

Police then used these IP addresses to obtain a court order requiring the internet service provider (ISP) to provide the associated names and addresses. This ultimately led to the arrest of Andrei Bykovets, who was convicted of 14 online fraud offences for possessing other people’s credit cards and identification.

While Bykovets argued that this was a violation of his Charter rights against unreasonable search and seizure, both the trial judge and the Alberta Court of Appeal disagreed.

Now, the Supreme Court has ruled in Bykovets’ favour, promising greater privacy protection for Canadians.

“If [the Charter] is to meaningfully protect the online privacy of Canadians in today’s overwhelmingly digital world, it must protect their IP addresses,” Justice Andromache Karakatsanis concluded.

The Supreme Court of Canada’s full ruling can be viewed here.

Via: Global News

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