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Supreme Court Rules in favor of protecting Cell Phones from Unlawful Search and Seizure


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#1 Jase

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 09:46 AM

Big victory for personal rights, big loss for cops wanting to bust you for diddling on your cell phone while driving.

 

http://www.reuters.c...EA0G1H320140117

 

 

(Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Friday to decide whether police can search an arrested criminal suspect's cell phone without a warrant in two cases that showcase how the courts are wrestling to keep up with rapid technological advances.

 

Taking up cases from California and Massachusetts arising from criminal prosecutions that used evidence obtained without a warrant, the high court will wade into how to apply older court precedent, which allows police to search items carried by a defendant at the time of arrest, to cell phones.

 

Cell phones have evolved from devices used exclusively to make calls into gadgets that now contain a bounty of personal information about the owner.

 

The legal question before the justices is whether a search for such information after a defendant is arrested violates the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which bans unreasonable searches. The outcome would determine whether prosecutors in such circumstances could submit evidence gleaned from cell phones in court.

 

Digital rights activists have sounded the alarm about the amount of personal data the government can now easily access, not just in the criminal context, but also in relation to national security surveillance programs.

 

President Barack Obama on Friday announced plans to rein in the vast collection of Americans' phone data in a series of limited reforms prompted by disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden about the sweep of U.S. eavesdropping activities.

 

Stanford Law School professor Jeffrey Fisher, who represents one of the defendants, said in court papers that it was important for the high court to decide the issue.

 

"In light of the frequency with which people are arrested with cell phones and the judiciary's confusion over whether the police may search the digital contents of those phones, this court's intervention is critical," Fisher said.

 

According to a 2013 report by the Pew Research Center, 91 percent of adult Americans have a cell phone, more than a half of which are smartphones that can connect to the Internet and contain personal data from social media websites and other sources.

 

Under court precedent, police are permitted to search at the time of an arrest without a warrant, primarily to ensure the defendant is not armed and to secure evidence that could otherwise be destroyed. In the past, it has applied to such items as wallets, calendars, address books and diaries.

 



#2 Anybodyhome

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 03:45 PM

...and this post will get little response. Not because it's not hugely important (it is), but because it's a here and now issue, and no one likes to discuss here and now in the Tinderbox, opting to instead bicker over talking points.

 

I'm not sure where I'm at with this. On the one hand, your personal hardcopy items (wallets, diaries, address books) can be searched, but a cell phone carrying a lot of the same information cannot? On the other, what happens when Joe Idiot Criminal takes a few selfies while committing a crime... not allowable?

 

I'm sure this will be the focus for many more challenges and interpretations.



#3 stirs

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 03:51 PM

Unanimous ruling?



#4 PandaPancake

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 03:55 PM

You're really concerned about searching a phone that much to see if the guy took photos while committing the crime? 

 

I was driving from Colorado to North Carolina. I was pulled over seven times. Three of those were in Missouri. Every time it was for, 'You were getting close to the white line'. Not touching, not bumping, not weaving, but getting close to it. And wouldn't you believe every one of those seven times it was a K9 dog that alerted to the presence of narcotics in my car, because I never consent to a search. Which is fuging hilarious because I had the car cleaned thoroughly before I left. And every time they pulled my phone and my laptop out of my briefcase and tried to see what was on there. Of course they're password protected and they insisted they had to search my phone and laptop. Which I told them to go fug themselves because I don't think a K9 can detect cyber narcotic crimes.

 

I'm glad the Supreme Court made this decision. I get hassled enough for having Colorado plates I don't need them flipping through my photos looking at my girlfriend naked. 



#5 Anybodyhome

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 03:56 PM

Unanimous ruling?

 

It's not a ruling. The SC has simply agreed to hear the cases and render their decision.
 



#6 stirs

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 03:59 PM

Some call it a ruling

 

http://www.washingto...phone-searches/



#7 Anybodyhome

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 04:01 PM

You're really concerned about searching a phone that much to see if the guy took photos while committing the crime? 

 

I was driving from Colorado to North Carolina. I was pulled over seven times. Three of those were in Missouri. Every time it was for, 'You were getting close to the white line'. Not touching, not bumping, not weaving, but getting close to it. And wouldn't you believe every one of those seven times it was a K9 dog that alerted to the presence of narcotics in my car, because I never consent to a search. Which is fuging hilarious because I had the car cleaned thoroughly before I left. And every time they pulled my phone and my laptop out of my briefcase and tried to see what was on there. Of course they're password protected and they insisted they had to search my phone and laptop. Which I told them to go fug themselves because I don't think a K9 can detect cyber narcotic crimes.

 

I'm glad the Supreme Court made this decision. I get hassled enough for having Colorado plates I don't need them flipping through my photos looking at my girlfriend naked. 

 

You misunderstood what I said. First of all, the Court has only agreed to hear the cases, they have not rendered a decision. Second, I said, I'm not sure where I'm at with this. I can see many different scenarios that might be cause for concern.

 

For example, more than a lot of the evidence used to arrest and charge former NFL TE Aaron Hernandez was text messages.

 

I'm just waiting to see what the SC is going to rule and, if they do, the next step is to determine what information can and cannot be taken from a cell phone. 
 



#8 Anybodyhome

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 04:04 PM

Some call it a ruling

 

http://www.washingto...phone-searches/

 

Okay, my bad. The OP states: "(Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Friday to decide whether police can search an arrested criminal suspect's cell phone without a warrant in two cases that showcase how the courts are wrestling to keep up with rapid technological advances."

 

Read carefully, it says the SC agreed to decide. I wasn't aware they had until your link.

 

And the ruling simply states the cops can't do it without a warrant. That's easily enough accomplished these days.


Edited by Anybodyhome, 25 June 2014 - 04:05 PM.


#9 Anybodyhome

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 04:07 PM


I'm glad the Supreme Court made this decision. I get hassled enough for having Colorado plates I don't need them flipping through my photos looking at my girlfriend naked. 

 

Until a cop sees her, says, "That's my daughter, and she's only 16!"

 

Not thinking the warrant thing is gonna help you then.



#10 PandaPancake

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 04:12 PM

You misunderstood what I said. First of all, the Court has only agreed to hear the cases, they have not rendered a decision. Second, I said, I'm not sure where I'm at with this. I can see many different scenarios that might be cause for concern.

 

For example, more than a lot of the evidence used to arrest and charge former NFL TE Aaron Hernandez was text messages.

 

I'm just waiting to see what the SC is going to rule and, if they do, the next step is to determine what information can and cannot be taken from a cell phone. 
 

 

 

For your example deleted text messages can be recovered by carrier with a warrant. Either way if they suspect my phone is evidence they can keep it as evidence until they get a warrant to look at it to keep me from destroying it.



#11 Anybodyhome

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 04:19 PM

For your example deleted text messages can be recovered by carrier with a warrant. Either way if they suspect my phone is evidence they can keep it as evidence until they get a warrant to look at it to keep me from destroying it.

Nevermind. You're wanting to disagree with me about something which I have yet to form an opinion on.


Edited by Anybodyhome, 25 June 2014 - 04:20 PM.


#12 stirs

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 04:26 PM

My only point was the "unanimous" part



#13 Happy Panther

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 04:34 PM

Good ruling



#14 Davidson Deac II

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 05:27 PM

Unanimous ruling?

That part is amazing.  I didn't think a unanimous agreement was possible in dc these days. :)



#15 Davidson Deac II

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 07:12 PM

Fwiw, some smart phones can have password locks put on them and if you enter the wrong password a certain number of times, it erases all data on the phone.

 

Of course, it can be recovered by a data forensics expert, but it takes a while. 




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