Telus is unique among telecommunications companies in that it briefly stores electronic copies of all text messages sent or received by its subscribers. Police in Ontario obtained a warrant obliging Telus to hand over any stored copies of text messages sent or received by two of its subscribers on a daily basis for two weeks. Telus objected. It argued that this amounted to interception of private communications and therefore required a wiretap authorization under the Criminal Code. The Supreme Court of Canada agreed. It wrote
“Text messaging is, in essence, an electronic conversation. Technical differences inherent in new technology should not determine the scope of protection afforded to private communications. The only practical difference between text messaging and traditional voice communications is the transmission process. This distinction should not take text messages outside the protection to which private communications are entitled under Part VI” (of the Criminal Code).
R. v. Telus Communications Co.,2013 SCC 16