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Police Can Search Cellphone - Unless It's Password Protected

A Toronto defence lawyer says an appeal court decision about cellphone searches doesn't take into account how much information people keep on the devices. The Ontario Court of Appeal says it's all right for police to have a cursory look through a cellphone when they arrest someone -- as long as it's not password protected. But if it is, investigators should get a search warrant. The court made a distinction between cellphones and laptops. But lawyer Sean Robichaud says these days cellphones are basically handheld computers and the courts should treat them with the same high expectation of privacy as computers. The court's ruling comes in the case of a man who appealed his robbery conviction, arguing police breached his charter rights by looking through his phone after his arrest. The court denied his appeal, saying police were allowed to look through Fearon's phone "in a cursory fashion'' because there was no password.

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