Monday December 22, 2014
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Up until the recent Supreme Curt ruling, a police officer could routinely look through the cell phone of anyone who was placed under arrest, giving the reason that the search was needed to ensure the officer's safety or to prevent the destruction of evidence.
Now, in accordance with a Supreme Court ruling, the cell phone has at long last been placed under the protection of the 4th Amendment, and anyone wanting to search one must be able to show due cause for making such a search and must convince a judge to issue a warrant authorizing that search.
As a result, evidence collected on fishing expeditions in thousands of cases around the nation is now illegally obtained and cannot be used in court.
It is true that all of us want the police to have the means of collecting evidence of a crime when there is due cause to believe that one has been committed and a warrant is issued to search a specified location for clearly specified information.
The question is:
Do you agree with the Supreme Court that the unusual nature of a cell phone takes it out of the category that if previously fell into, namely that of just another object, such as a knife or pair of pants?
No it is a means of communications. We got our first one because we were going back and forth to the drs. in Mesa almost every week and you never know when you may have an emergency on the highway. Believe it or not the first trip with the phone my husband's pickup stopped running and we had to call a tow truck. I don't remember what was wrong with it but just as we turned on the Saguaro Lake turnoff it stopped running. One of the few places we could get service on the phone.
You can do without a knife or pair of pants if your vehicle stops running.
That's the same reason I have a cell. I use it for emergencies only.
I agree with you, Pat. By its very nature, a cell phone contains information which is very private. Taking it from you and looking through it is like making you testify against yourself. In today's world a cell phone, while some people use it for everything, is genuinely a safety device, isn't it? And in order to own and run one you have no choice but to put certain pieces of information into it.
I genuinely believe that causes it fall under the 4th Amendment right against unreasonable searches.
Be glad you live in this country. Look at what an Italian company named Hacking Team has to say about placing spyware on your cell phone while you happen to be there, or putting it on anyone's cell phone anywhere. The company's website is unsettlingly open about its product's capabilities. I says:
"Total control over your targets. Log everything you need."
It's not hiding what it does; it openly admits that its products are offered to governmental bodies like the police. And it can set up your phone so it can be listened in on at any time — even when it is supposedly turned off Companies like Hacking Team specialize in advanced spyware, giving their customers the ability to exercise total control over a target's device while remaining completely invisible. A group of researchers recently tracked down and reverse engineered Hacking Team's RCS (Remote Control System) tool to see just what these corporate spyware firms are capable of. The answer was shocking!
And they do it openly!
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