Ads informing travellers of border privacy rights rejected by Vancouver International Airport

Apr 25 2019, 11:27 pm

OpenMedia, an internet privacy group, is speaking out after having their ads rejected by the Vancouver International Airport (YVR).

According to a statement, the ads promoted an educational website called Border Privacy and were meant to inform travellers of their rights should their digital devices be searched at the border.

“What would you do if a Canadian border agent demanded to look through your phone or laptop?” says the organization. “Would you know what your rights are in that situation, or how to file a complaint if you felt your privacy was violated?”



“Our most personal, sensitive information is contained on our phones,” says Victoria Henry, OpenMedia Privacy Campaigner. “But our information is given no more rights at the border than a bag of clothes.”

Henry also explains that the campaign promotes publically available information, has been legally vetted by trustworthy sources, and is in alignment with recommendations put forward by Canada’s Ethics committee.

See also

The ad would have taken up space the airport’s SkyTrain station.

OpenMedia claims, however, that Vancouver Airport officials refused to run their ads and gave no information.


A mockup of the OpenMedia’s proposed ad (OpenMedia/Twitter)

They also state that although the ad would have been at a SkyTrain station, TransLink had no involvement in the decision.

Vancouver International Airport told Daily Hive that “OpenMedia’s request did not serve all our stakeholders as [they] felt it pitted two groups against each other.”

A representative also explained that it “has potential to add undue stress to the travel experience.”

The airport’s full response is as follows:

YVR receives a high volume of advertising proposals and we evaluate each based on compatibility, mutual cooperation and respect for all airport users.

Advertising creative must be suitable for an airport setting and audience, respect all age groups, genders, cultures, business partners, government agencies and adhere to provincial, municipal and Canadian laws.

In reviewing Open Media’s request to place advertising at the airport, we determined that it did not serve all of our stakeholders as we felt it pitted two groups against each other and it also has potential to add undue stress to the travel experience.

Additionally, YVR aims to be non-political and Open Media’s website promotes an online petition with a political call-to-action directed towards government officials. YVR provides information on air passenger rights and privacy on our website where we link to resources from the federal government and its respective agencies at

OpenMedia explains that despite the rejection, they’re only pushing harder in their efforts to promote digital privacy.

“We’re already aiming to double our advertising, and plaster public transit with our ads,” says Henry. “People deserve to know their rights.”

Vincent PlanaVincent Plana

+ News
+ Transportation
+ Urbanized