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Aug 10

Canadian court ruling on SMS privacy means you shouldn’t be using SMS

Having nothing to hide doesn’t mean you should ignore your privacy. Especially when keeping messages secure and private is so easy.

An Ontario Court of Appeals has ruled that your SMS messages are not private and once “sent to the ether” are no longer under your control. Vice has a full write up about the decision that interested parties should read, but the short version is this: SMS messages are like email and not subject to the same protection that voice calls have. They aren’t a private conversation, and you shouldn’t keep thinking they are private.


An Ontario Court of Appeals has ruled that your SMS messages are not private and once “sent to the ether” are no longer under your control.

This has some far-reaching implications for some folks, while others won’t care because they “have nothing to hide” or don’t care what happens in a Canadian court. But we all should be concerned, and now is a perfect time for you and the people you talk with to switch to something else. Preferably something that’s cross-platform and offers encryption. I’ve got nothing to hide either, but I still expect and demand a little bit of privacy.

We don’t have the perfect suggestion for a messenger app. Different people will want different things, after all. But we do know there are more than a handful of cross-platform (iOS and Android, sometimes Windows as well) messenger apps that can be used to keep private conversations private regardless of what a judge thinks. WhatsApp comes to mind, as does Signal or Telegram.

We should all be concerned about this ruling, and now is a perfect time for you and the people you talk with to switch to another form of messaging.

If you’re the go-to person for all things tech in your circle of family and friends, have a look and see what you like and would recommend. If you’re not, point them here.

Stay safe. And stay private.

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