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Man gets detained at Canadian border for not coughing up his BlackBerry password

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The debate of encryption and personal privacy is one that will shape the mobile landscape for years to come, and now we could have a case that could break new legal ground as a Quebec man was detained for not giving up his BlackBerry password at a Canadian airport, reports CBC.

Alain Philippon was at Halifax Stanfield International Airport when the Canada Border Services Agency conducted a customs search. Philippon refused to divulge the password for his BlackBerry password and, as a result, was detained and charged with hindering or preventing border officers from performing their role under the Customs Act. This is the first time a Canadian citizen has been charged because they refused to unlock their phone for authorities.

Related: Cops can make you unlock your phone with your fingerprint, but not your PIN

Philippon stands by his decision to not provide officials with the password, saying he considers the information on his BlackBerry smartphone to be “personal.” Philippon was released on bail and will return to court on May 12 for the trial.

Considering how no Canadian court has had to handle the issue of whether a traveler must give up the password for their electronic device at the border, this case, as mentioned previously, has the potential to break new legal ground and set a precedent. We’ll keep an eye on the upcoming case and report back.