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Author Topic: Another step towards warrantless searches.  (Read 729 times)

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Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Another step towards warrantless searches.
« on: March 07, 2012, 02:53:15 PM »
http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2012/03/06/police-given-direct-line-to-cell-phone-searches/

At first glance, it doesn't seem to be that big a deal. The police have the right to 'glance search' diaries and little black books for numbers and 'at a glance' information that can be found. I doubt that it will stop at that though, unless the court, or a higher one, restricts the scope. This is another case of tech leaving things WIDE open.

Offline BraveEarth

Re: Another step towards warrantless searches.
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2012, 03:12:36 PM »
-SIGH-

So the police  have the right now not only to confiscate what ever evidence they desire but now have an open policy to go warrant-less with their searches? Not to mention the fact that the current trend now seems to be to ease the process for the enforcers and take away the rights of the in most cases less powerful citizens... The only way I see this decision getting repealed is if the Corporations realize that this may open themselves up to sudden financial inspection by what ever white collar division may exist. Although that is highly questionable (read: ignorant) speculation on my part. This was highly stupid on my part...
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 03:16:53 PM by BraveEarth »

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Another step towards warrantless searches.
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2012, 03:51:09 PM »
It's a tricky thing.. on one side, you could argue that phone numbers are just as open to being found in a pocket planner as a smart phone, and that was the justification that was used in this case. It's been pretty much common practice. That has been going on for a long time.

Problem is, you are slipping that 'open book' rule onto a device that literally is a computer. And I know a LOT of people who use their smartphones for a lot, tracking purchases, using things like Foursquare to put their locations on spot (I've abused the 'coupon' options a few times to get cheaper copying, and other things with a few well planned 'check ins' a few days/weeks ahead of when I needed them). Would you allow the cops access to your checking account, bills, emails, photo collections, and anything else you have on it without permisison?

Slippery slope.

I can see both sides of the case and I'm a bit split on it myself.

Offline Zakharra

Re: Another step towards warrantless searches.
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2012, 04:16:39 PM »
 My first reaction is the say 'No'. I can see some of the benefits to it, but I can also see the huge power for abuse as well. Especially since cellphones, ebooks/readers and pads and such are merging. The potential for an investigating officer to look past just the 'phone numbers and addresses' is scary. More and more important/personal stuff is being kept on those devices, so anyone could potentially get a far more intrusive look into someone's life by either intentional or by accident. And if it is allowed for law enforcement to do that without need of a warrant, it erodes the protections enshrined in the Constitution.

 That being said, they need to streamline the warrant approval process to at least the early 2000's. To make it easier for law enforcement personal to get proper warrants faster in emergency cases.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Another step towards warrantless searches.
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2012, 04:35:55 PM »
My first reaction is the say 'No'. I can see some of the benefits to it, but I can also see the huge power for abuse as well. Especially since cellphones, ebooks/readers and pads and such are merging. The potential for an investigating officer to look past just the 'phone numbers and addresses' is scary. More and more important/personal stuff is being kept on those devices, so anyone could potentially get a far more intrusive look into someone's life by either intentional or by accident. And if it is allowed for law enforcement to do that without need of a warrant, it erodes the protections enshrined in the Constitution.

 That being said, they need to streamline the warrant approval process to at least the early 2000's. To make it easier for law enforcement personal to get proper warrants faster in emergency cases.

I came at it like this.. you can access a LOT of stuff on a smartphone. Some of it requires separate and specific warrants. (Finances, emails, personal writings, ect) and others don't (call history, texts (not sure how universal that one is) and such).

I agree that you need to streamline the warrant process, but in the end you still have to put a document in front of a judge, explain WHY you need the warrant and such. I am all for speeding up the process.. but the final step and signature still needs to be there. Automation is all well and good, but you need a person at the start and end. That way there is accountability.

That is why I get twitchy at the idea of using digital forms and signatures for a warrant, too easy to eliminate the end point of a judge. Still, there could be some steps to speeding up the form submission process using modern tech.

Offline Serephino

Re: Another step towards warrantless searches.
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2012, 10:16:57 PM »
This would be why I only use my phone for talking and texting.  I'm on the fence about this too.  It could help in some cases, but aren't they supposed to have probable cause before they go snooping in a person's personal stuff? 

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Another step towards warrantless searches.
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2012, 10:18:35 PM »
This would be why I only use my phone for talking and texting.  I'm on the fence about this too.  It could help in some cases, but aren't they supposed to have probable cause before they go snooping in a person's personal stuff? 


I think that is why this story is so important. The 'open book' rule COULD be applied by the police to smartphones..then to the tablets like the iPad..then to a laptop..and from there to pretty much anything. Without clarification, it's a gradual progression of things.

Offline vtboy

Re: Another step towards warrantless searches.
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2012, 04:56:31 PM »
I haven't read this decision but, from the link, it does not seem to be an open invitation to widespread police ransacking of electronic devices. Rather, it sounds as though the search took place in conjunction with an arrest, and under the exigent threat of possible destruction of evidence of the crime. Analogous exceptions to the warrant requirement have been permitted for many years without significant harm to our scheme of ordered liberties (e.g., in the course of arresting occupants of a motor vehicle, police have long been permitted to conduct warrantless searches of the vehicle's interior and trunk). I think the republic may survive this one. 

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Another step towards warrantless searches.
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2012, 05:18:28 PM »
I'm worried about them being able to use this to go from 'checking phone calls/texts' to cloning/looking over your phone period. Which is in that hazy area between allowed search and requiring a warrant. I've had a smart phone of someflavor for .. eight years now. I am constantly pruning back what I carry on it. Right now I typically have phone calls, pictures of my neice (cute little thing) and the electronic equivalent of my checkbook register (YNAB comes with a 'combo lock' feature.. so I can enter purchases to synch to my desktop later) but I know folks who do a LOT of business via their smartphones.