Arrested? You have the right to Google for a lawyer (if you’re Canadian).

Google Handcuffs

I just learned this on a random clickbinge while reading other tech articles:

Suppose you were a Canadian citizen and you just got arrested in Canada for something, I don’t know, stealing a hockey puck without apologizing, something like that. We Americans already know that we have the right to a phone call, but did you know that you that in Canada, they also have the right to a Google search?

Here’s what a Canadian judge said two years ago:

“In the year 2013 it is the Court’s view that all police stations must be equipped with Internet access and detainees must have the same opportunities to access the Internet to find a lawyer as they do to access the telephone book to find a lawyer.”

That’s was a big win for Google, who is already raking in dough from people like bail bondsmen who purchase Adwords media (aka 80% of Google’s revenue) to reach frantic, newly-arrested people and their families. Don’t believe me? See how the search volume has increased year-over-year for keywords like “bail bonds”:

Hopefully, at least older Americans will remember that they actually can “search” for a lawyer from a “dumb phone” by simply dialing 4-1-1 and speaking to an actual human operator who will connect the call for them. Unfortunately, our Canadian hero Christopher McKay didn’t think that was “viable”:

“McKay assumed that he had used his single phone call and did not consider using directory assistance (411), which he did not think was a ‘viable search engine.’ Instead, he noted that Google was his main method to search for information.”

I’m not surprised people don’t remember that they can use a landline phone to search for stuff. Some don’t even believe that feature exists anymore. After all, it’s just a “dumb phone”. What’s next, calling a number to find out the time?

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