section 487.01(5)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This section defines how certain sections of the Criminal Code apply to warrants for electronic surveillance.

SECTION WORDING

487.01(5) The definition "offence" in section 183 and sections 183.1, 184.2, 184.3 and 185 to 188.2, subsection 189(5), and sections 190, 193 and 194 to 196 apply, with such modifications as the circumstances require, to a warrant referred to in subsection (4) as though references in those provisions to interceptions of private communications were read as references to observations by peace officers by means of television cameras or similar electronic devices of activities in circumstances in which persons had reasonable expectations of privacy.

EXPLANATION

Section 487.01(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a provision that expands the definition of offence" in a specific set of sections in the code to include the use of electronic devices, such as television cameras, by peace officers in certain circumstances. In essence, the provision allows for observations of activities that take place in circumstances where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy to be considered an offence if conducted by peace officers using electronic surveillance. The provision is limited to specific sections in the code, including sections 183, 183.1, 184.2, 184.3, and 185 to 188.2, subsection 189(5), and sections 190, 193, and 194 to 196. These sections primarily relate to the interception of private communications, including wiretapping, as well as other forms of electronic surveillance. By including observations made using electronic devices in the definition of offence," this provision creates a level of legal protection for individuals against unwarranted electronic surveillance activities by law enforcement officers. It essentially requires peace officers to obtain a warrant before conducting any surveillance activities that could reasonably be considered private, including those conducted by electronic devices. Overall, Section 487.01(5) helps to balance the need for law enforcement to conduct surveillance for the purposes of criminal investigations with the right to privacy of individuals under Canadian law. By limiting the circumstances under which electronic surveillance can be conducted, it helps to prevent privacy violations and ensure that surveillance is conducted in a lawful and accountable manner.

COMMENTARY

Section 487.01(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada concerns the use of electronic surveillance by law enforcement agencies. The section amends the definition of "offence" in certain provisions of the Criminal Code to include observations made by peace officers through the use of television cameras or similar electronic devices, in circumstances where individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy. The amendment reflects the changing nature of law enforcement activities in the era of sophisticated technology. The use of electronic surveillance has become an increasingly important tool for police and other security agencies in conducting investigations and obtaining evidence for prosecution. However, the use of such technology raises significant questions about privacy and civil liberties, particularly if it is applied in ways that violate the rights of individuals. The section, therefore, becomes important to ensure that electronic surveillance activities by law enforcement agencies are limited to situations where they are necessary and proportionate. It ensures that peace officers obtain warrants before they use electronic surveillance, and these warrants are subject to various limitations and safeguards. The provision applies to various sections of the Criminal Code where the interception of private communications is referred to. The section serves to modify these provisions to include electronic surveillance. The amendment ensures that the use of surveillance cameras or other electronic devices is subject to the same legal requirements and limitations as wiretapping or other forms of electronic monitoring. This section of the Criminal Code reflects the importance of balancing the need for effective law enforcement activities with the need to protect individual privacy and other fundamental rights. By ensuring that electronic surveillance is subject to the same legal standards as other forms of surveillance, it provides a means of safeguarding individual privacy while enabling law enforcement agencies to access the information they need to fight crime. In conclusion, section 487.01(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada represents a critical provision to ensure that law enforcement agencies use electronic surveillance responsibly. It provides the necessary safeguards and limitations to protect against abuse of such technology while recognizing the need for police and other security agencies to have access to necessary information to conduct investigations and gather evidence. The provision represents one of the many legal measures that countries have put in place to deal with the challenges of electronic surveillance in modern times. As technology advances further, it will be essential to develop similar legal frameworks that safeguard individual privacy and protect civil liberties while ensuring that law enforcement agencies can do their work effectively.

STRATEGY

Section 487.01(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada pertains to warrants issued for the observation of individuals in private areas by means of television cameras or similar electronic devices. The section extends the definition of offence" to include the provisions of several other sections concerning the interception of private communications, and specifies that they apply with necessary modifications. The section is particularly relevant in situations where surveillance of a suspected individual is required. Such surveillance may take place in numerous settings, including homes, offices, and other private areas. The use of electronic devices such as cameras is becoming increasingly popular in such cases, and the section is therefore of significant importance for law enforcement agencies that require legal authorization to observe individuals in such settings. Strategic considerations when dealing with this section largely depend on the specific circumstances of each case. One key consideration is obtaining a warrant prior to conducting any surveillance. This involves convincing a judge that there are reasonable grounds to believe that an individual has committed a criminal offence and that surveillance is necessary for the investigation of that offence. Failure to obtain a warrant can render the surveillance evidence inadmissible in court, leading to a weakened case against the accused. Another important consideration is the location of the surveillance. Observing an individual in a public area where there is no expectation of privacy does not require a warrant, but observing an individual in a private area does. When seeking a warrant, it is important to provide specific details about the location of the surveillance, including the nature of the area under observation and any other relevant information. This is important in ensuring that the warrant is specific enough to comply with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and does not allow officers to conduct surveillance in a manner that is excessively intrusive or that may violate an individual's rights to privacy. An additional consideration when dealing with this section is the use of electronic devices. It is crucial to ensure that any cameras or other devices used for surveillance are reliable and do not present a risk of technical errors or malfunctions that may compromise the admissibility of the evidence in court. It is also important to ensure that the surveillance is conducted in a manner that is as unobtrusive as possible and does not create any suspicion or disturbance that may lead to the discovery of the surveillance. In terms of strategies, law enforcement agencies can employ numerous tactics to ensure compliance with this section and maximize the effectiveness and admissibility of surveillance evidence. For instance, they can use electronic devices that have been tested and verified as reliable, provide detailed and specific information when seeking a warrant, and limit the use of surveillance to situations where there is a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. In conclusion, Section 487.01(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a crucial provision outlining the legal requirements for the use of electronic surveillance in private areas. Strategic considerations when dealing with this section typically involve obtaining a warrant, specifying the location of the surveillance, and ensuring that the surveillance is conducted in a manner that does not compromise the admissibility of evidence. Law enforcement agencies can employ strategic tactics to ensure compliance with this section and ultimately improve the effectiveness of surveillance operations.