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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Electronic surveillance and the police : a comparative study of the Canadian and Japanese systems Ishikawa, Shoichiro


"Electronic Surveillance", the mechanical technique to monitor private communications of the suspect is one of the most powerful weapons of the police in modern crime-prevailing societies. In Canada the attempt to set up a legal framework to balance the police need for electronic surveillance against the citizen's right to privacy resulted in the Protection of Privacy Act proclaimed on June 30, 1974. In Japan, in contrast, with no specific legislation governing electronic surveillance, the police refrain from resorting to this enchanting method of criminal investigation. The purpose of this study is to propose a desirable electronic surveillance law in Japan, taking advantage of the Canadian precedent in this field. The introductory portion of this study focuses on the concept of privacy in the West and Japan. Despite the vast difference in traditional privacy consciousness between Canada and Japan, privacy has been recognized as a legally protected interest in both countries. In the first half of the main portion, the study analyzes the Canadian electronic surveillance legislation from the standpoint of the police. While providing the most powerful investigative tool, the law also has had a negative impact upon the Canadian police in that it brought about undue interference, judicial or otherwise, in the operation of criminal investigation. In the last half of the main portion, the study deals with the Japanese system for electronic surveillance. The conclusion reached is that the Canadian legislative precedent can, with some necessary modification, be an appropriate model for Japan, and that Japan should introduce an electronic surveillance system with less intrusive power than in Canada while preserving the traditional independent authority of the police in criminal investigation.

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