Police Officers Can Search Your iPhone Following Arrest For A Traffic Violation

from the fourth-amendment dept

Adam Gershowitz writes "I am a criminal law professor from Houston, Texas and I have recently finished an article about the ability of police officers to search the contents of a person's iPhone at a traffic stop. In brief, under what is referred to as the "search incident to arrest doctrine," police can search through any container found on the body of a person who has been arrested. It does not matter that the arrest was for running a stop sign, or speeding, or some other seemingly minor traffic infraction. Regardless of the reason for the arrest, police can search through every container on the person's body, even if the police have no suspicion that there is anything illegal in it. A few courts have concluded that this doctrine permits police to search text messages found on cell phones. My article explores the circumstances under which police can now search not only text messages, but also the email, pictures, movies, calendar entries, and internet browsing history found on iPhones and similar devices -- even if the police have no suspicion that there is anything illegal on the iPhone. In short, the article explores ways in which the police can search through the thousands of pages of data on individuals' wireless technology even if there is no probable cause or other suspicion of illegal activity."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    4-80-sicks, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 10:26am

    The link to the article is not working--gives "Service Unavailable" error.

     

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    redhammy, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 10:33am

    arrest

    how do you get arrested for running a stop light?

     

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      Tony, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 11:43am

      Re: arrest

      "how do you get arrested for running a stop light?"

      It's called a non-custodial arrest, which is what happens any time you are pulled over or a cop stops you walking down the street.

       

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      Chris, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 3:47am

      Re: arrest

      If you live where I live in the outskirts of Las Vegas they can arrest you for anything..I was pulled over because the cop said I was speeding..(45 in a 45 zone is speeding I guess) Then they checked all my registration and insurance information and found nothing. Then I was forced to get out and stand in front of their cruiser and then was told to do several sobriety tests. Passed all 3 then they made me sit in the curb until they left..what a night..

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 10:34am

    Yet another reason to not buy an iPhone.

     

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      Nipponese, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 10:47am

      Re:

      Why don't you read the article before you make a silly comment like that. As it clearly states in the article, it is not just limited to iPhones, but any other similar devices which I believe would include Crackberrys, smartphones, and probably any phone that can text message and/or receive emails with.

       

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        Nismoto, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 11:00am

        Re: Re:

        You missed the punchline. Sh!t, you missed the entire joke for that matter.

        The world laughs at you,... fanboy!

         

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      j, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 3:52pm

      Re: duh

      It's any cell. phone, they just use i-phone for it's recognizable name. So you probably have a cell phone.

       

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    ohnopirates, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 10:39am

    @2: exactly. This sounds like a fairly alarmist paper, although it doesn't load so who knows!

    C'mon techdirt, you can do better... sometimes.

    He essentially says - if you are arrested, you can be searched. The exploration of where the boundaries of this search are, particularly as we continue to carry more historical and personal data on our person is an interesting matter - but to try to draw attention to it by saying "They'll do it to you at a stop light!" is ridiculous.
    And I hate governmental authority, this is just stupid.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 1:06pm

      Re:

      but to try to draw attention to it by saying "They'll do it to you at a stop light!" is ridiculous.

      Who, other than your own straw man, ever said that?

       

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    TheDock22, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 10:40am

    Passwords

    Just password protect your iPhone. They would need a warrant in order to make you give them the password. No problem at all.

     

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      Miles, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 10:53am

      Re: Passwords

      I AGREEE 110%..... Learn to keep data a secret or under protection!

       

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        Sarojin, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 1:45pm

        Re: Re: Passwords

        Except that it doesn't matter when they can get the same info from the telecoms and service providers without a warrant and with retroactive immunity.

        Don't think it matters, and you have nothing to hide? What happens when a mistake is made, or someone "under suspicion" dials your number instead of the number they were trying to...now you and everyone you call is under suspicion too.

        But of course no one in law enforcement would EVER utilize the powers they have for political, religious, or any other than completely legitimate purposes, right?

         

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    ekc, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 10:41am

    Headline grabber?

    Now the ability of the police to go through any container on a person during a routine traffic stop seems like something that is an important issue that people should know about, but singularly pointing to their ability to check people's iphone seems like it screams of trying to get attention by mentioning a currently hot popular product, not too much different from a headline saying that children might be able to view porn on an iphone. If the police can search an iphone then they could obviously search through any other cell phone they found on somebody. Now I will readily admit that the browsing ability and ease of using an iphone may make it easier for the police to do such a search on an iphone as opposed to, say a Moto RAZR, and that a person using an iphone may have a more extensive browser history, but they can still do essentially the same stuff. As has been noted before, the iphone didn't contain much new stuff, it just put together the old things in a more intuitive way. The headline just seems like a cheap scream for attention to me. Would the police also be able to search a Zune that they found on someone? Maybe he will address that issue when the Zune becomes a little more popular. I thought Techdirt was above giving play to stories such as that without putting them through some critical analysis first.

     

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      petro, Jan 23rd, 2008 @ 12:15am

      Re: Headline grabber?

      Well, since the iphone is a device that combines PDA and MP3 player and phone and... all those other functions, it's worth mentioning it in this context - by searching this specific device, the police would have wide and open access to a very large amount of personal information. Not many other devices store the variety of things that the iphone does.

       

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    dolflundgren, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 10:43am

    what was that movie...

    ...oh right, 1984, haha. Silly me for forgetting.

     

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    dorpus, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 10:45am

    Awww

    What's the matter, does Mike get stopped often? Does he have embarrassing messages on his iphone?

    You wonder about the people obsessed with "privacy".

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 1:09pm

      Re: Awww

      You wonder about the people obsessed with "privacy".

      Hey dorpus, what do YOU have to hide? Come on, give us your real name and location.

      Yeah, I thought so. Freaking hypocrite.

       

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      Keith Coogan, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 1:24pm

      Re: Awww

      I think "these people obsessed with privacy" are simply American citizens who are supposed to be guaranteed the right to be secure in their persons and affects from illegal search and seizure.

       

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      ben, Jan 29th, 2008 @ 3:14am

      Re: Awww

      Look, alot of people are pissy about their privacy... Its bull that they could do that, and what if you had personal information... would you like people to just be able to read it? or what if you liked gay porn? would you like people to see it? or what if anything? ITS JUST BULLSHIT! So shut up alright? People like their privacy and its intruding to be able to do shit like that, not neccesary at all.

       

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      ufool, Sep 21st, 2008 @ 2:46am

      Re: Awww

      yeah because you would like everyone to know what you are doing wouldn't you MASON. you would like people to watch you having a shit because that's what you MASONS like

       

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    Rick, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 10:47am

    It's True

    I've had it happen to me. You don't even need to be arrested. If the police stop you for any reason, for their 'safety' they are allowed to search you, if they feel the need. Apparently, anything you have ON or NEAR you is included in this search.

    When I emptied my pockets of a lighter and a cell phone, the officer picked up the phone and browsed my call history. I asked why and was told there had been drug activity in the area and he was looking for known drug dealer phone numbers. If he had found one, he would have had probable cause to search the car too.

    Leave the phone in the CAR and they cannot search it or the car without your consent. Password protect your phone too. If they really want the password they'll need a warrant. If you don't want to give them the password with a warrant, pull a Ronald Reagan/Alberto Gonzales and say, "I don't recall." They can't proove otherwise, can they? :)

     

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    wilder_card, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 10:49am

    iPhone

    "Yet another reason not to buy an iPhone."

    No, yet another reason to get involved and fight for the Constitution before there's nothing left. An exception here, a loophole there, and pretty soon we're a tyranny in all but name.

     

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    CJ, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 10:51am

    Why is the iPhone singled out in this story?

    Oh, right. Page views.

     

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    Bob Knight, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 10:56am

    Arrest

    Any time you are pulled over for any type of traffic infraction or just a road side check, you are in a technical state of arrest.

     

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    Charlie Potatoes, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 10:58am

    In Texas,as in most states, if you carry an in-state driver's license, you can be taken to jail for any offense with the exception of speeding, for which they must give you ten days to appear. Non residents do not have even that exception. So the officer can follow you until you fail to signal a lane change, arrest you, and then toss you and car, including your iphone or laptop. And none of you see a problem with this? Duh.

     

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    Ima Fish, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 11:03am

    As others have said, keep your laptop/phone/etc locked with a password and anything else in your car locked in a safe with a combination.

     

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    Matt Bennett, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 11:08am

    Mike,

    This is not up to your usual standards

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 11:16am

    "Any time you are pulled over for any type of traffic infraction or just a road side check, you are in a technical state of arrest."

    You are being detained, not under arrest.

     

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      Bob Knight, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 2:23pm

      Re: Arrest

      This has already been decided by SCOTUS, When stopped by the police you ARE in a technical state of arrest, Detained is just another word to describe this state.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2011 @ 11:41am

      Re:

      Any time you are not free to leave then you are legally under arrest. That is how the law works. Cops know this but won't tell you that since it is their interest for you to be as ignorant of the law as possible.

       

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    Shane C, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 11:19am

    Automatic download

    I keep reiterating this every time I see a similar article. I wonder when "automatically downloading the contents of the device, so a third party technical consultant can review it" will become standard?

    If it becomes expected to have all of your personal belongings (physical and data) searched in certain situations then it's going to be expected that a officer "on the beat" can't do that personally. He could however carry a device with a common interface that would duplicate all the data for someone else to review.

    When that happens the big question will be "who has access to the data," and "what happens to it when they are done?"

    Being the capitalistic person I am, I can see a great opportunity for a new business. Now if I could just purge out those pesky morals...

    Shane

     

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      James, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 12:16pm

      Re: Automatic download

      Shane you're right you do see a business opportunity.. a market where a smart phone w/encrypted data and biometric scanner are common place to prevent prying eyes, but guess what...

      ...traffic cops and cities will simply get their councils/legislatures to pass laws that say you will unencrypt/make available that data for them upon request or relinquish your freedom (ie jail)...

      don't believe it? yeh well, if you ever get pulled over under suspect of driving under the influence (regardless if you actually are) they can force a breathilizer (in most states) or take you to jail... i don't see this as much different. its called "guilty until proven innocent".

       

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        TheDock22, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 12:35pm

        Re: Re: Automatic download

        ...traffic cops and cities will simply get their councils/legislatures to pass laws that say you will unencrypt/make available that data for them upon request or relinquish your freedom (ie jail)...

        Wow, if this isn't a conspiracy theory then I have no idea what is. Cops do NOT go out of their way to incriminate innocent people.

        don't believe it? yeh well, if you ever get pulled over under suspect of driving under the influence (regardless if you actually are) they can force a breathilizer (in most states) or take you to jail... i don't see this as much different. its called "guilty until proven innocent".

        First off, they can not force a breathalyser on you. It is your option in every state to ask for a field test rather than a breathalyser. Second of all, if they do stop you and you fail either test, THEN they take you to jail. They don't just cart you off and ask questions later.

        Third, passwords people. They were invented for a reason.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 1:22pm

          Re: Re: Re: Automatic download

          Cops do NOT go out of their way to incriminate innocent people.

          History says otherwise. Do some reading.

           

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          matt, Dec 10th, 2008 @ 9:52pm

          Re: Re: Re: Automatic download

          well, even if you do refuse, and they cart you off to jail. you are forced to take a breathalyzer at the precinct, or refuse, refusal is oftentimes worse than blowing over the limit, as your license is revoked automatically for one year.

          in new york anyway.

          also you will probably be convicted anyway as its an admission of guilt.

           

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    Foohaus, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 11:22am

    The authority to conduct this kind of search would simply not apply during a typical "stop and frisk" or traffic stop. In many states, simple traffic offenses (and other misdemenors) are not grounds for a warrantless arrest, so the ability to search incident would not be allowed.

    For example, the case involving the crumpled up cigarrette pack would have ended up differently if the person was originally patted down during a stop and frisk. Under those circumstances, absent PC to believe that the lump in his pocket was contraband or a weapon (the "plain feel" doctrine), they would not have been permitted to search in the pocket, much less open the package up.

    The article is well written and definitely brings up an interesting topic--one which the Court will hopefully address in the near future. I'm no "privoacy advocate," but I do think that we should always be critical of our government's ability to conduct unfettered searches of our person, homes and possessions.

     

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    The Man, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 11:24am

    not constitutional

    First, traffic infraction is just that, an infracton not an arrestable offence. An officer can search your person and anywhere in your reach for weapons. Incedental to that search for weapons, if he finds anything illegal, it has been found leagally and will hold up in court. In a car this is different than a house. Once you are pulled out of a car, the officer can not search it without permission or during an "Inventory" search while towing the car after your arrest. For a traffic infraction when he has probably cause to pull you out of the vehicle (this could be many reasons including proximity to passing traffic) he can search your person for weapons.

    This was a long way to say this article was completely false. Any evidence gathered by an officer searching contents of a phone during a traffic violation will be tossed out of court. If you give the officer permission (which just about everyone does eventhough they say they never would) all info is fair game.

    Now if the officer found dope he is then able to search items realted to dope sales. For instance a pay/owe sheet is very common, so any papers or tablets are fair game. In the electronic age, a PDA would also work. And yes phone number of drug dealears are evidence to.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 1:29pm

      Re: not constitutional

      This was a long way to say this article was completely false.

      So, are you saying that the law professor was lying or that you just know more about the law than he does?

       

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    Overcast, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 11:30am

    And yes phone number of drug dealears are evidence to.

    And if you dialed a wrong number? you can be jailed for that mistake?

     

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      giannini, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 3:00pm

      Re:

      if you dialed it by accident they can simply see how long the call was for... I'm sure calling a drug dealer takes longer than the normal 10 seconds to hang up when you realize you dialed the wrong number

       

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    Techie, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 11:36am

    Police and Tech

    I don't really think that the police will know what the hell they are doing when they or if they try to go through a cell phones history. You have to have a high tech phone to know how to use one and from all the police I have seen around my town. None of them know how to even use their phones the correct way.

    I wouldn't worry about it. Just lock your phone if you are worried about them seeing your drug deals. Other than that, if they screw your phone up, you can be the next big article on Techdirt. Police deletes emergency information from a routine traffic stop. LOL

     

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    Nismoto, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 11:38am

    iPhone Pimps

    Yet another article dropping the "iPhone" bomb when it could have used any object/laptop/cell phone/wallet,etc. Is this really news worthy?

    C'mon techdirt. You're three more cr@ppy articles away from being removed from my google start page.

     

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    GHynson, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 11:43am

    Police State

    This all comes down to the Cop stopping you.
    Most Cops don't give a damn what your doing when your stopped for minor violations.
    There's those few Cops out there that have that God syndrome that will do this to you, but as long as you kiss @$$, they usually leave you alone.
    I say, instead of packing an iPhone, Pack a 9,
    That way you can pop a cap in his @$$.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 11:45am

    My phone is password protected. What would keep me from refusing to answer any questions until my lawyer was present? Answer? None. Did I lose any privacy? I don't think so.

    Oh, and just where do you have to live to get arrested for running a red light? What kind of dirtball do you have to be to get arrested for that?

    That being said, a friend of mine told me that you should never answer questions from a cop or a prosecutor without having a lawyer present. More people talk their way into getting arrested than not. My friend was a cop. Not bad advise.

     

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    TOMMY, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 11:57am

    THAT'S WHY THEY CALL THEM PIGS........

     

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    BinaryWorld, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 11:57am

    location of phone

    Just out of curiosity, how many people keep their phones on their body while driving? I usually carry my phone in my pocket, but take it out when I'm driving so that I don't have to rummage around for it if someone calls.

     

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    John, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 11:59am

    Cellphones - Policemens best friend.

    I use to work as IT for a city and worked with some officers on the City's Gang Unit.

    Video phones and Picture phones are VERY important to Gang Units as they often times contain evidence of illegal activity.

    Many gang fights, vandilism and thefts have been solved simply by the evidence contained on cellphones.

    Cellphones are more and more becoming an important tool in the Police officers arsenal.

    I don't do anything illegal, so they can search my phone, my car, my house, my trash, etc. -- I have nothing to fear.

    Remember, Privacy is a more recent invention of society. When communities were much smaller, you had very little privacy. Everyone knew what everyone.
    Multi generations lived under one roof, often times in homesteads... it is only recently, maybe in he last hundred or so years that people have privacy.

     

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      BTR1701, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 6:11pm

      Re: Cellphones - Policemens best friend.

      > Privacy is a more recent invention of society. it is only recently,
      > maybe in he last hundred or so years that people have privacy.

      That's what is commonly known as progress.

      The fact that a freedom is relatively recent hardly diminishes that freedom. The emancipation of blacks and the ability of women to vote are also relatively recent (historically speaking). That doesn't make those freedoms any less valuable.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2008 @ 2:27am

      Re: Cellphones - Policemens best friend.

      "I don't do anything illegal, so they can search my phone, my car, my house, my trash, etc. -- I have nothing to fear"

      What's your full name?
      How many sexual partners have you had?
      Are you homosexual?
      Have you ever had homosexual thoughts/tendancies?
      How often do you masturbate?

      Nothing to fear, right?

      Please explain what privacy has to do with fear or illegal activity.

       

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      j, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 4:11pm

      Re: Cellphones - Policemens best friend.

      Back in the Homestead days there wasn't Big brother trying to rule by oligarchy rather than law.

       

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    MJP, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 12:02pm

    Container vs Portal

    If they can search the contents of a container, then the cell phone history of calls or web browsing is OK, but most phones don't store the email on the phone, its merely a portal to an email server, I imagine they cannot connect to your various accounts via the phone and search your email.

     

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    cysco, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 12:02pm

    Rights

    Nice to have rights and all, but in some cases down here when you say to a cop i don't want you to search my car. 1 of 3 things will happen. 1. they say ok and continue. 2. they get pissed and find anything they can pin on you or make something up. 3. they kick your ass

     

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    monstag, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 12:10pm

    i understand about searching containers
    BUT we have the RIGHT to privacy

     

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    dazcon5, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 12:39pm

    cops

    First of all, if you just act like a decent human and comply with an officers REASONABLE request, you'll get your ticket and be on your way. If you act like a jackass you give the cop reason to F*** with you. If you act like a criminal the cop will treat you as such. The cops can't roll up to a car and politely ask "excuse me kind sir would you happen to be a criminal?" they would wind up dead. Give the cops a break folks, they take sh!t all day.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 1:38pm

      Re: cops

      Give the cops a break folks, they take sh!t all day.


      They give far more than they take. Try actually giving one the same attitude they give sometime and see what happens. It won't be nice.

       

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    Erick, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 12:46pm

    Wow, some of you people.

    "I don't do anything illegal, so they can search my phone, my car, my house, my trash, etc. -- I have nothing to fear."

    get out of the US now. you do not belong here.


    "...traffic cops and cities will simply get their councils/legislatures to pass laws that say you will unencrypt/make available that data for them upon request or relinquish your freedom (ie jail)..."

    I think there was just something recently (within the week) where a judge ruled that the court could not force one to give up an encryption key/password. don't know at what level that was though.

    And as for the DUI/Breathalyzer thing, they can't force you to take a breathalyzer. I think it's called "implied consent" in most states, where when you sign the forms to get your DL you say you will consent to a breathalyzer when asked. Don't consent, you're violating the terms of your DL and it gets taken away.


    "I say, instead of packing an iPhone, Pack a 9,
    That way you can pop a cap in his @$$."

    No, TC Encore. Single shot pistol but it comes in many different rifle-cartridge chamberings. .30-06 will sail right through a ballistic vest.

     

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      James, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 1:43pm

      Re: Wow, some of you people.

      Erick implied consent... a nice way of saying "forced", so what happens when part of that implied consent is giving up the password so they can search your phone or god knows what else.

       

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    cweber, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 1:01pm

    Texas only?

    Two points:
    1. This article is based on Texas laws. One would hope that in other states saner attitudes are customary. Does anyone know?
    2. If a cop pulls you over in Texas, take your cell out of your pocket and place it somewhere else, hopefully out of direct reach from you, BEFORE you come to a stop. That way they need your consent or a search warrant to get at the contents of your phone, which is how it should be.

     

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    Hudson Barton, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 1:14pm

    Other Constitutional rights

    The article suggests that iphones, smart phones and similar devices that can not be customized to encrypt all or most of the "hard drive" should be used "at your own risk".

    It is not a reason however to be fearful. Encryption is available to all of us, and has already been declared an "arm" (weapon) that one might use for self-defense. Personally, I don't think I even want a portable device that can't be "armed".

    Note: While it is our 4th amendment right to not be subjected to unwarranted search and seizure, it is our 2nd Amendment right to be armed with encryption, and it is our 5th amendment right to not disclose the password. The wise citizen may well decide not squander any of his rights.

     

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    rkme, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 1:18pm

    they could

    They could do that, though #2's point is pretty valid. Even in Cali they don't arrest you for running a light or speeding. I'm also thinking with our current gov. policies and various other AT$T - Comcast monitoring services that they probably won't need to. They'll already have it the way things are going.

     

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    Deputy, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 1:29pm

    ACLU scare tactics

    That is all this is.

    This is true "subject to arrest". I've never seen anyone "arrested" for speeding or running a stop sign (unless it was in the course of evading arrest for some other crime). If a person is arrested for a crime, say DUI for example, then subject to this arrest, his vehicle and person can be searched.

    This is normally done to locate potential weapons, drugs, and other illegal substances. If in the course of this search, other things are found, such as child pornography or bomb making tools or meth-lab items, then more charges are added to the subject.

    For any search, the officer must be able to articulate the reason for the search, or the search is invalid.

    The only way I could see someone's PDA searched due to traffic arrest would be something like the following:

    Mr. Smith was stopped for suspicion of DUI. After failing his field sobriety test, he was subsequently arrested and his person and car searched for possible drug paraphernalia. During the course of this search, several photographs meeting the definitions of "Child Pornography" were discovered. Subsequent to this find, a computer, digital camera, and PDA were also confescated and sent to the FBI lab to be searched for related material.

    No real peace officer is going to search your PDA at road side. If he does, anything found is no longer admissible, because accessing a file changes the date-time-stamp of the file.

    Electronic devices discovered during a search that are deemed provitave to the crime in question are always confiscated "as is" and sent to Law Enforcement computer labs for "searching".

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 1:30pm

    Keith, no, I think they are just moonbats. Don't give up the passcode and ask for a lawyer.

    Is that all that difficult?

    As for the ones talking about shooting cops, personally, you don't deserve any rights. You have them, but you sure as hell don't deserve them. Those are the dirtballs that deserve the redneck cop coming up to them and beating the shit out of them.

     

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    another mike, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 1:32pm

    encryption and the 5th

    Erick, you're thinking about the case in Vermont where a Canadian worker (US resident) crossed the border with kiddie stuff on his laptop. The vids and stuff were on an encrypted drive which he initally revealed to authorities (that's how they knew to arrest him) then pulled an "I don't recall that" after they dumped the data and tried to access it again. The judge has ruled that revealing his password would violate his 5th amendment rights. The feds are appealing the decision.

     

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    ITGuy, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 1:48pm

    God bless America

    I am so happy we have an ammendment that protects us against unlawful sear.... "Excuse me officer do you have a warrent for reading my personal private text messages.. Oh the 4th ammendment is void you say"

     

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    SkippyTMut, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 2:10pm

    Whatever...

    In my experience cops are too stupid to look through an iphone anyway. Password enable your smart device and when they ask for the password invoke your right to remain silent. Problem solved!

     

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    Clueby4, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 2:14pm

    Creepy Pigs

    I'm sorry but they're exploiting the dubious "search for weapons" search scam. The search is unreasonable regardless of any pedantic rationalizations they can cook up.


    "Wow, if this isn't a conspiracy theory then I have no idea what is. Cops do NOT go out of their way to incriminate innocent people."

    Your perception of reality is pretty flawed my little friend. Cops serve only to generate review in most capacities, as far as protecting and serving goes it's really only theater, based on your obtuse analysis of their purpose, it appears that they're putting on a good show.

     

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      krsd, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 3:43pm

      Re: Creepy Pigs

      That they call a electronic device a container is silly. That would be like calling a diary a container because it contains information. Granted, if the diary is locked it would make more sense that it be considered private than a regular book, but either way as Clueby4 pointed out this is supposed to be a search for weapons for the officer's safety, and short of the cell phone having a taser mode I don't see where the officer's protection is being served by this sort of search.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 4:15pm

    This website has a lot of info that deals with your rights, if you search youtube you will find some videos from this website

    http://www.flexyourrights.org/traffic_stop_scenario

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2008 @ 6:29am

    What's your full name? (ummmm, the cop has a right to identify you, you have a problem with that? Wouldn't he just ask to see your drivers license?)

    How many sexual partners have you had? (You keep that in your phone? Hell, I would need a extra storage card for that)

    Are you homosexual? (No, not that there is anything wrong with that)

    Have you ever had homosexual thoughts/tendancies? (for that they could just search your public blog)

    How often do you masturbate? (I don't use my phone for that, so think thats safe)

    My advise to you if you live in an area where cops care or have the time to ask these questions? Move.

    Here is a question, I see cops every day when I go to work in both New Jersey and NYC. Sometimes I say hi to them, never had a problem, never received rude treatement. What kind of scumbag must you be where cops go out of the way to give you a hard time? What, are NYC and NJ cops just especially nice?

     

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    Hopeless Charm, Jan 24th, 2008 @ 10:41pm

    Constitutional Fundamentals

    Run of the mill traffic stop does not permit officers to search ANYTHING including your cellie - 4th Amendment presides. Any searching they'd do would be court tossed.

    And how have breathylyzers and field tests not been thrown out as 5th Amendment violations against your right NOT to offer evidence against yourself ?! Seems to me the only evidence for drunken driving against someone should be officer observation of erratic driving or worse. [But this isn't the main topic here so enough of that.]

     

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    taterz, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 4:33pm

    POLICE HAVE BEEN DOING THIS FOR A GREAT DEAL OF TI

    EVEN IF U R NOT ARRESTED, THEY WILL SEARCH THROUGH, READ, AND MESS UP ( NEVER LEAVING IT NEAT ), ( MAYBE THATS WHERE THEY GOT THE NAME "PIGS" FROM LEAVING UR THINGS A PIG STY )WHATEVER THEY WANT. U ASK WHAT THEY R LOOKING 4 THEY WONT TELL U, & PROBIBLY CAUSE THATS A JOKE. IF U START FUSSING ABOUT THEM GOING THROUGH UR THINGS, THEY WILL PUT U IN THE BACK OF THEIR CAR, NOW EVEN IF THEY WERE READING UR TEXT MESSAGES & NOT LEAGALY ALWOED 2, NOTHING U CAN DO & MOST OF THE TIME U CANT SEE THEM LOOKING AT UR THINGS. IF UR NOT ARRESTED U R SO RELEIVED THAT U BLOW OFF THAT THEY JUST READ & WENT THROUGH UR THINGS & VIOLATED UR RIGHTS. SO ITS NOTHING NEW & REMEMBER ARRESTED OR NOT THEY WILL DO WHAT THEY WANT...

     

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    The truth, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 4:34pm

    You make me sick. Privacy is not a recent trend, as a matter of fact, the american revolution was caused by the writs of assistance that police of the time used to warrantly arrest and search people's homes and persons. Perhaps befor you make a claim such as "privacy is a recent fad", you should read a book or learn something. Ignorance like that is dangerous, and forget about your rights, and see how soon they dissapear. Just say no to warrantless searches, regardless of whether "You don't do anything illeagal", it is not only your right, but your duty as a citizen to deny warrantless searches. People have died for your freedom, and allowing a warrantless search makes their blood worth less than nothing. It doesn't matter whether it's convinient for you or not, I'm sure a musket ball to the throat was quite an inconvienience for the men who died for your precious "freedom". Men more noble than you will ever founded this country on privacy. What are the amendements, but a guarantee of your privacy? The privacy of saying what you want, praying to who you want, and being secure of the privacy of your personal effects against unreasonable searches and seizures. Apathy corrodes from within, and smart fools lead many ignorant people away from the truth. Wake up America

     

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    carlos, Aug 20th, 2008 @ 7:54pm

    Wow The New World order in action

    wow I my brother was right..Free Mason as to said.. New world Order..Help us God.

     

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    Nation, Sep 16th, 2008 @ 12:17pm

    First off the officer can search anywhere in your immediate reach. That is for the purpose of in case the person reaches for a weapon. If they do this and find an Iphone, it is not illegal contraband, it will not hurt the officer, and there is no reason to check it. That would get thrown out in court, anything on the phone, unless they found some other things in the car, like lots of money and drugs. Then it would seem checking the phone is reasonable.

     

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    david, Feb 27th, 2009 @ 12:56pm

    what the?

    when will it end? slowly we stand by and watch our freedoms get taken away. are the police going to look to our daugthers diary? Or search pants to check if we have crap in them. When will the people take there stand. pretty soon we all are going to have move to another country to have the freedom of speech.

     

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    John the farmer, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 9:17am

    what about this?

    Ok. so if you get in trouble for writing slander on the bathroom stalls threatening the school, is it illegal for the cops to look through your phone and send texts to your friends? or is that invasion of privacy?

     

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    In Trouble, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 4:38pm

    arrest without warrant

    In Texas an officer can arrest you without warrant for just about any crime you commit in his presence, except speeding. After an arrest they search your car - called an inventory - (its meant to "protect" your property) they take your phone (any phone) The forensic staff of the police department do not use the phone's interface to examine it, they have software that will "dump" the contents of the phone to a computer. This can happen without using a password. In fact this is all happening to me right now.

     

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    infestedtassadar, Nov 21st, 2009 @ 6:38am

    strip search?

    for those of you who feel that police can search whatever, whenever because you "have nothing to hide," let me leave you with this.

    I hope you dont mind having a regular, detailed search, causing you to be late for work a couple hours every day, im sure your boss wont mind. and what i mean by detailed, well lets just say it involves those little white medical gloves. now bend over and cough or are you a terrorist?

    hope you dont mind swat throwing a few flash bangs in through your windows and kicking in your door at 3am, do you? or are you a narc dealer?

    show me a business that has no secrets and i'll show you a business not worth profit. show me a person with nothing to hide and ill show you a prisoner, a tyrant's slave or a man otherwise denied freedom.

     

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    Rose, Apr 17th, 2010 @ 4:32pm

    Search and Seizure of cell phones

    Under the 4th amendment in the Bill of Rights a police officer must obtain a warrant to search your iphone, cell phone, or any other personal items, unless you give them the permission to do so. Otherwise they must obtain a warrant to search any item found on you, your personal property, or your home.

     

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    GHOST, Oct 6th, 2011 @ 5:53pm

    This is an invasion of privacy!!!
    And my devices are all password locked encrypted hacked and everything else, and i will not give up my privacy to some retarded cop, judge, or government that wants to look for any reason!!! :D

     

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    Dave, Jan 13th, 2014 @ 8:53am

    I got stopped by the police because I missed to break at the stop sign

    I have a question. I recently just moved to Houston and just got stopped by the police officer because I didn't noticed a stop sign early enough to stop because it was very dark. He gave me a citation but also ask for my phone number which I gave to him. I want to know if I am required (regarding the law) to give my phone number to the police or I can still be fine if I declined to do so........ Thanks

     

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