California Supreme Court: Warrantless searches of suspects' text messages legal

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by 184550, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. 184550, Jan 10, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2011

    184550 Guest

    May 8, 2008
    Saw this story over at Engadget.

    I agree that a higher level of privacy should be granted to a suspects' smartphone. I think that warrantless searches of smart devices will lead down a slippery slope. What could be next? Warrantless searches of a laptop or netbook that is on your person?

    While this is not overtly political in nature, I can certainly see the conversation sliding that way. If need be, mods, move it to PRSI.
  2. rprebel macrumors 6502


    Aug 22, 2010
    Where the bluebonnets bloom
  3. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    I wonder if you have a phone you can passcode lock, do you have to give it to them so they can look?

    At any rate, I don't like this as it is not the same as searching a car or person imo as
    1) the car can be searched as it was the medium used on public roads that committed the infraction
    2) the person can be searched as they committed the infraction

    However, I do not feel that beyond simply finding a cell phone, that police have any right to look into the contents of the phone without having explicit permission to do so
  4. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    Wow, that is pretty insane given you can access pretty much anything on an iPhone or BlackBerry (and other smartphones which I know little about), and it sure does seem like an intrusion of privacy and an unlawful search which is going to screw good people over.
  5. leekohler macrumors G5


    Dec 22, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    I think everyone can agree that this is not a good thing at all.
  6. iShater macrumors 604


    Aug 13, 2002
    It is very interesting. I really don't understand this concept of not getting a warranty for it. Is it really that hard to prove that you need that info? :confused:

    Is FileVault coming to phones soon?
  7. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    The car can only be searched if you give permission or if there is probable cause.

    This seems overstepping the normal bounds.
  8. 184550 thread starter Guest

    May 8, 2008
    [insert flimsy reason here]
  9. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    In the US, if a cop asks to search your car and you say 'no', they can make what comes next really miserable. Depending on the location, if you are Black, multiply the suckage by 5.
  10. Sydde macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2009
    How does a text message get from one phone to another? Are there any stops along the way, relay server type things that might be inclined to retain the content of your message? For example, someone texts you while your phone is off, where us the message waiting room, and are they actually deleted after moving along? What I am asking is do they even need to touch your phone to examine it?
  11. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    Well true, but I think it depends who you are. If you are a 50 year old professional caught doing 55 in a 50 zone at 3 in the afternoon it'd probably be difficult to prove there was probable cause.

    If they aren't on a power trip there is no point in escalating it either.
  12. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    this is bad. Our phones now days link to so many things that really should require a warrent to gain access to.

    My cell phone provides direct access to my email, txt message and voice mail.

    None of which should be allowed to be search with out a warrent. Hell my call history should be off limits with out a warrent.

    It is not like it is that hard to get a warrent once someone is arrested.
  13. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    Slippery slope; the most recent event of this in the US has been the Patriot Act. If cops and feds can peep into your phone, what comes next? Probably the ability to raid your computer without probable cause.
  14. mcrain macrumors 68000


    Feb 8, 2002
    Thanks, I need to clean the coffee off my keyboard and blow my nose... :D

    Or they arrest you and search your car when they tow it under the inventory excuse (oh, a drug dog just happened to be there...)
  15. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    You haven't heard? German Shepards are now riding shotgun with police (they wear urban camo now so you just don't always see them).

    "May I look in the glove compartment"
    "Well fido says you have Colombian cocaine in it so get the **** out of the car!"
    (cop throws 75 year old man on the ground and cuffs him)
    (cop opens the glove compartment and finds the manual for the car)
    (cop then finds other reasons to justify his actions)
  16. codymac, Jan 11, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2011

    codymac macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2009
    I don't believe so in the US but i don't think it's been fully tested (i.e., put before SCOTUS). We tend to err on the side of our 5th amendment protections. Some other countries, not so much.

    If anyone knows differently, I'm all ears.

    They need a subpoena for the records you're talking about here.

    Yes, it happens, and yes, every telco has a group that responds to and researches subpoena requests such as these, usually from federal agencies.

    I can't speak to the message content though (my experience is land line telephony).

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