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posted by janrinok on Monday April 28 2014, @08:48PM   Printer-friendly
from the toss-of-a-coin dept.

The US Supreme Court is to rule on warrant-less searches of electronic devices. Law Enforcement (LE) want access, without warrants, to electronic devices of everybody arrested.

The US Supreme Court on Tuesday will take on the digital-age controversy over search and seizure of smart-phones and other devices. In two cases coming before the court, warrant-less searches of an electronic device not only provided the basis for criminal prosecutions but also strayed from the original reason for the arrests in question. President Barack Obama's administration and prosecutors from states across the country have lobbied for police officers to be able to search arrestees' gadgets - at or about the time of arrest - without a warrant. Such action, however, demands an examination of the Fourth Amendment's protection against "unreasonable searches and seizures." If nine out of 10 American adults own mobile phones and the devices have advanced to become virtual extensions of our personal and private lives, at what point does LE's access to their call logs, photos, and cloud-hosted data become "unreasonable" invasions of constitutionally protected privacy?

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by BradTheGeek on Monday April 28 2014, @09:00PM

    by BradTheGeek (450) on Monday April 28 2014, @09:00PM (#37388)

    No matter what the court rules you should lock/encrypt your devices. That will prevent them from getting in easily. Even if warrantless device searches are deemed unconstitutional, there is nothing that prevents LE from gathering data from said device while you are in custody, then using it to fabricate a reason for a warrant.
    If you think that is far fetched. Consider this one possible situation. You are in custody, they look at your email or texts in the phone and see that you have conversed with a known drug dealer or other person of interest. From the content of that conversation, a line of questioning can be developed to hammer the second individual about you to garner more information. The second individual has no idea that the info came from the phone. They can be led to believe that you gave that information up on them. No warrant needed.

    Do not give them the chance. Lock your stuff. Period.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @09:25PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @09:25PM (#37402)

    They don't even need to see if you talked to the drug dealer; they can tap you if you talked to somebody else who talked to the drug dealer (say, the local pizza delivery). And for all that the NSA and others claim that meta-data is harmless, just knowing that you made a call at 8:31pm and drug-dealer received a call at 8:31pm allows them to make assumptions even without knowing who you called or what you discussed.

    So yeah, do everything you can to keep your data private, regardless of the outcome of this case. Even if the Supreme Court rules in the people's favor, agencies have repeatedly been shown to ignore laws when it is inconvenient to them.