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."

Filed Under: fourth amendment, iphone, police, privacy, traffic stop


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  1. identicon
    The truth, 17 Apr 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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