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
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 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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