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Michigan Police Could Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops 525

Posted by timothy
from the gentlemen-do-not-read-each-other's-texts dept.
SonicSpike writes "The Michigan State Police have a high-tech mobile forensics device that can be used to extract information from cell phones belonging to motorists stopped for minor traffic violations. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan last Wednesday demanded that state officials stop stonewalling freedom of information requests for information on the program. A US Department of Justice test of the CelleBrite UFED used by Michigan police found the device could grab all of the photos and videos off of an iPhone within one-and-a-half minutes. The device works with 3000 different phone models and can even defeat password protections. 'Complete extraction of existing, hidden, and deleted phone data, including call history, text messages, contacts, images, and geotags,' a CelleBrite brochure explains regarding the device's capabilities." Popular Mechanics has a short conversation with a 4th Amendment lawyer about the practice of slurping cellphone data, too, though it's unclear if the Michigan police are actually using these devices to their full potential.
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Michigan Police Could Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @06:51PM (#35874642)

    But, speaking from experience, you can claim illegal search and seizure at preliminary trials, which can result in the charges being dropped.

    It's disgusting that it happens, but it does. Just, rest assured, cops rarely get away with it if you have a decent lawyer.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @07:09PM (#35874862) Journal

      Just, rest assured, cops rarely get away with it if you have a decent lawyer.

      It takes a damn good lawyer to get a cop tried for deprivation of rights under color of law. It ought to happen every time the exclusionary rule is applied.

      • by Entropius (188861) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @08:14PM (#35875492)

        This.

        It's not good enough to just have the evidence be ruled inadmissible. The cop ought to be fired (or worse) and compensation paid to the victim.

      • by causality (777677) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @08:21PM (#35875562)

        Just, rest assured, cops rarely get away with it if you have a decent lawyer.

        It takes a damn good lawyer to get a cop tried for deprivation of rights under color of law. It ought to happen every time the exclusionary rule is applied.

        I know an easier way to make this happen. Convince the cell phone manufacturers and service providers that laws and practices like this are hurting phone sales by removing some of the utility of the phones and making them into a potential liability. Then we'd finally have large, powerful, monied, well-represented coporate interests lobbying in our favor. Suddenly this practice would end in record time.

        • Convince the cell phone manufacturers and service providers that laws and practices like this are hurting phone sales

          You consider that to be an easier way? Really?

      • by superwiz (655733) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @08:25PM (#35875600) Journal
        at $150k per copyright violation, i doubt you'd have to look very long to find a lawyer to sue for violating your copyrights on the videos and images on your phone.
      • by unassimilatible (225662) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @10:39PM (#35876460) Journal
        42 USC 1983 authorizes suits for deprivation of civil rights. Johnnie Cochran made a fortune doing it. Of course, police have qualified immunity from suit, so you sue the city., i.e., taxpayers, for police misconduct.

        But you can't criminally prosecute police for every little misstep. Nobody would want to be a cop.
        • We're not talking about missteps. This isn't an officer forgetting to read you your rights or doing something wrong in the heat of the moment. We're talking about deliberate, willful and premeditated breach of a constitutional amendment.

    • yes, but do they archive that data? what do they do with that data? would that data be later used against you in a different case?

    • by rhook (943951) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @07:11PM (#35874880)

      Most people do not go after the officers for deprivation of civil rights under color of authority (USC 1983 violation), which leaves them with civil and criminal liability and also bars their unions and departments of the ability to pay their legal fees. If more people would file these lawsuits against officers who violate their rights the practice would end very quickly.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        If more people would file these lawsuits against officers who violate their rights the practice would end very quickly.

        No, those "trouble makers" would be marked and "eliminated" as quickly as possible. Imagine the dispatcher decides to ... "accidentally" forget for a few minutes that you called for help when someone is invading your home, or the patrol car that has been dispatched decided to ... take the "scenic route" to your home while you're being robbed at gun point.

        No, I don't have any faith in the le

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Police couldn't be there in time anyways. For those situations, you're better be prepared to defend yourself.
        • by hldn (1085833) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @07:46PM (#35875222) Homepage

          they can take their sweet time if they want, the dead criminal isn't going anywhere.

    • But, speaking from experience, you can claim illegal search and seizure at preliminary trials, which can result in the charges being dropped..

      Only if it is an illegal search.

      If the cop asks "You don't mind if I check your phone, do you?" and you don't say "No, I do not consent to a search" (the cops often phrase it in an odd way to make it not clear if "Yes" or "No" is the correct answer, so answering in an um-ambiguous way is wise) and you actually let him search it (or your car, pockets, etc.) ... then it's not an illegal search.

      Not nearly enough people realize that when the cops ask that -- the proper answer is "No, I do not consent to a search". If you don't have anything to hide and you're SURE of that, then I guess you can let him search, but if there's any doubt -- absolutely not. It will *not* go easier on you.

      • A. They search you, being in a good mood, sorry for bothering you, and eager to go do something else.

        B. They detain you while waiting for a search order to be rubber stamped by an uncaring judge, then search you while pissed off that you dared to challenge their authority.

        Your choice.

  • OUTRAGEOUS cost (Score:5, Informative)

    by fwice (841569) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @06:56PM (#35874704)

    ACLU learned that the police had acquired the cell phone scanning devices and in August 2008 filed an official request for records on the program, including logs of how the devices were used. The state police responded by saying they would provide the information only in return for a payment of $544,680.

    emphasis mine. ACLU put in a FOIA, police wanted $544,680 to respond.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? No one, when the pay-to-play is that high...

    • by SomePgmr (2021234)
      Wow, that's just disgusting.
    • Product link (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Check out the specs on these things:
      http://www.cellebrite.com/forensic-products.html [cellebrite.com]
      "Complete extraction of existing, hidden, and deleted phone data, including call history, text messages, contacts, images, and geotags" and the list just goes on and on.

      So, can anyone buy one of these? If it's legal for police, then...

    • by rhook (943951)

      I thought it was illegal to charge more than actual processing costs when someone files an FOIA?

      • I thought it was illegal to charge more than actual processing costs when someone files an FOIA?

        It is, but the Chief has to buy a summer house to "process and fulfill" the FOIA request in.

      • by Kazymyr (190114)

        Well, if they have 54468 cases on record, and they set the processing fee at $10/case...

      • What do you want to bet the company that makes the unit charges per record or per phone pulled out of it. That would let the police hide the transaction cost in the normal budget instead of adding it to the equipment budget and the company would make a freaking fortune.

      • Re:OUTRAGEOUS cost (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @07:31PM (#35875082)

        My dad likes to file FOIA requests when the police in his home town (of 1 million people) do something illegal. They frequently quote absurd fees, after which he leaves and comes back with an officer of the court who makes them do it for free. He should have been a lawyer. Or maybe the world is better off with one fewer lawyer and one more electrical engineer.

        • Re:OUTRAGEOUS cost (Score:5, Interesting)

          by causality (777677) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @07:39PM (#35875170)

          My dad likes to file FOIA requests when the police in his home town (of 1 million people) do something illegal. They frequently quote absurd fees, after which he leaves and comes back with an officer of the court who makes them do it for free. He should have been a lawyer. Or maybe the world is better off with one fewer lawyer and one more electrical engineer.

          Seriously, cops seem to wonder why they're not better appreciated and respected. No sense of irony.

          As a whole, it's not like the police have a great deal of respect for citizens who exercise their rights. So I have to wonder: do they retaliate? Do they suddenly take a really hard look at his driving and see how many things they can charge him with that they'd normally let slide? Do they insist on searching him for guns/drugs/dead hookers/etc. every time he gets pulled over for i.e. speeding?

          • Re:OUTRAGEOUS cost (Score:5, Interesting)

            by blincoln (592401) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @08:23PM (#35875576) Homepage Journal

            "As a whole, it's not like the police have a great deal of respect for citizens who exercise their rights. So I have to wonder: do they retaliate? Do they suddenly take a really hard look at his driving and see how many things they can charge him with that they'd normally let slide? Do they insist on searching him for guns/drugs/dead hookers/etc. every time he gets pulled over for i.e. speeding?"

            Probably.

            A friend of mine went to court to get out of a speeding ticket. I'm guessing it was a fairly high-priced ticket, because when he was successful, the police waited a year or more, then filed a completely made-up charge of "driving without a license" (he was in his late 30s, and had been a licensed driver for several decades). The charge/requirement to show up in court was mailed to him... at his old address, because he'd moved during the time in-between those two events.

            When he didn't show up in court (because he never received the thing that was mailed to his old address), he automatically lost, and an *additional* count of "flight to evade prosecution" was added. But he still didn't know about any of this. He found out when he was pulled over something like *another* year or two later for an illegal lane change in an intersection. At that point he was immediately taken into custody and sent to jail (because clearly he was a convicted felon with no respect for the law). He talked to a lawyer and was told that because judgment had already taken place (back when the original bogus charge made its uncontested court appearance), it would cost something like $30K to contest it. It was cheaper for him to spend three months in county jail.

            So yeah, the police don't exactly have any reservations about abusing the system if they feel that it's being done to punish someone they believe deserves it.

            • Re:OUTRAGEOUS cost (Score:5, Informative)

              by sys_mast (452486) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @08:37PM (#35875692)

              Guess i'm going to call you a liar.

              At least where I live to be called to court someone has to HAND deliver the letter to you. Most people filing a claim against someone they don't care for will pay a few bucks to have the sheriffs department deliver the notice.(I don't remember the price to have the cops deliver it for you but I thought it was very cheap. Doubly so if you don't like the person and have the deliver it to the persons work) But there isn't anything like sending a letter to an address you lived at at one point in your life and claiming you were notified.

              If that's the way the courts work where you live you need to get that changed, it's wrong.

              • Yup. Lying. Or whomever told him the story was.

                You can have a bench warrant posted for not paying or appearing for a ticket that *you signed* (which means you were given notice).

                No notice, no warrant, no arrest.

              • Guess i'm going to call you a liar.

                At least where I live to be called to court someone has to HAND deliver the letter to you. Most people filing a claim against someone they don't care for will pay a few bucks to have the sheriffs department deliver the notice.(I don't remember the price to have the cops deliver it for you but I thought it was very cheap. Doubly so if you don't like the person and have the deliver it to the persons work) But there isn't anything like sending a letter to an address you lived at at one point in your life and claiming you were notified.

                If that's the way the courts work where you live you need to get that changed, it's wrong.

                Wrong, something similar happened to me, because of a corrupt Maryland State's Attorney. I was fortunate that (a) my dad is a cop (which helped in preventing them from dragging out "extradition" from VA where I got pulled over to MD) and (b) the desk sergent where I was "booked" after "extradition" was a kindly old guy with full access to the court records, who printed me out everything so I could show the judge that the State's Attorney was a lying deceitful asshole who never served me at my MD address as

            • by Paul Fernhout (109597) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @09:44PM (#35876158) Homepage

              Related book on why so many police officers take to planting evidence and forcing inaccurate confessions:
                  "Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts"
                  http://www.amazon.com/Mistakes-Were-Made-But-Not/dp/0151010986 [amazon.com]
              "Why do people refuse to admit mistakes - so deeply that they transform their own brains? They're not kidding themselves: they really believe what they have to believe to justify their original thought.
                  There are some pretty scary examples in this book. Psychologists who refuse to admit they'd bought into the false memory theories, causing enormous pain. Politicians. Authors. Doctors. Therapists. Alien abduction victims.
                  Most terrifying: The justice system operates this way. Once someone is accused of a crime - even under the most bizarre circumstances - the police believe he's guilty of something. Even when the DNA shows someone is innocent, or new evidence reveals the true perpetrator, they hesitate to let the accused person go free. ,,,"

              And progressively that can lead police officers down a route of progressive desensitization where they start planting evidence on more and more people until they plant evidence on anyone they have any suspicions about...

          • Re:OUTRAGEOUS cost (Score:4, Informative)

            by arashi no garou (699761) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @01:13AM (#35877296)

            As a whole, it's not like the police have a great deal of respect for citizens who exercise their rights. So I have to wonder: do they retaliate? Do they suddenly take a really hard look at his driving and see how many things they can charge him with that they'd normally let slide?

            Take it from someone who works in law enforcement (not a cop, support staff): Yes, yes they do. And they brag about it to each other and to those of us who work behind the scenes. It's disgusting, and it's one of the things that forces me to weigh my conscience against the near-Utopian benefits package. If my part time job could even come close to the same level of benefits I'd leave law enforcement for good.

  • by kitsunewarlock (971818) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @06:57PM (#35874724) Journal
    Once I saw this was wired (obviously), I started to wonder about the practicality of this (ignoring all the rights issues). I mean fairly common phones are one thing. But for those of us who buy the cheaper phones...usually they use fairly obscure power/data jacks (so they can charge us an arm and a leg for power cables when they break or get lost). It'd be quite annoying to carry about a few hundred different cables...
  • Erase your phone (Score:5, Informative)

    by vrmlguy (120854) <samwyse&gmail,com> on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @07:00PM (#35874742) Homepage Journal

    According to http://support.apple.com/kb/ht2110 [apple.com], you want to own an iPhone 3GS or later.

    You can remove all settings and information from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch using "Erase All Content and Settings" in Settings > General > Reset.

    When you opt to "Erase All Content and Settings," the process can take up to several hours. The time this process takes will vary by device:

    Devices that support hardware encryption: Erases user settings and information by removing the encryption key to the data. This process takes just a few minutes.
    Devices that overwrite memory: Overwrites user settings and information, writing a series of ones to the data partition. This process can take several hours, depending on the storage capacity of your iPhone or iPod touch. During this time, the device displays the Apple logo and a progress bar.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That's nice and all...
      But at what point are all these spineless citizens going to stand up and say 'enough of this shit!'

      You know what would be even nicer? To be able to go about my daily life without some jackboot thinking he has any right whatsoever so look at any of my belongings on the spot.

      In fact, here is a deal for the 'police'. Immediately allow full and public access to ANY of your dash cams, at any moment, by request. You are supposed to be serving the public, so it would be nice of us to be able

    • by volkerdi (9854)

      Yeah, that'll help you when you're pulled over in Michigan. Add obstruction of justice to the charges, wiseguy.

    • by MoonBuggy (611105)

      A moderately effective stopgap, perhaps, but having to nuke all your phone data because you were pulled over for something that may or may not have been a traffic violation is hardly an acceptable state of affairs.

  • by Ziwcam (766621) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @07:01PM (#35874750)
    "Sorry officer, I don't have a cellphone"
    • by romco (61131)

      Not good to give false information to a cop but you are not required to give information that might incriminate you either.

      You could say nothing or:

      "I do not consent to searches, am I free to do now?"

      or just:

      "am I free to go now".

      • Re:Just say (Score:5, Insightful)

        by causality (777677) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @07:46PM (#35875228)

        Not good to give false information to a cop but you are not required to give information that might incriminate you either.

        You could say nothing or:

        "I do not consent to searches, am I free to do now?"

        or just:

        "am I free to go now".

        That "I do not consent to searches" is key. A lot of times the cops will phrase the question as "do you mind if we search your car?" If you say "no" they take that to mean "no, I don't mind" and if you say "yes" they take it to mean "yes you may search". Saying you do not consent to a search removes this ambiguity.

        It's some sad times we live in that such a concern would ever cross the minds of a regular citizen who is not a career criminal.

        • Re:Just say (Score:4, Insightful)

          by c6gunner (950153) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @08:16PM (#35875506)

          It's some sad times we live in that such a concern would ever cross the minds of a regular citizen who is not a career criminal.

          Right; because innocent people never got hung back in the good ol' days.

          What planet are you living on, anyway?

    • Re:Just say (Score:4, Informative)

      by GrifterCC (673360) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @08:04PM (#35875388)
      Even if you say nothing to the officer who stops you, you can be arrested for any driving infraction, even one that isn't a jailable offense, when you're in your vehicle.

      Once you're arrested, you can be searched sans warrant. Once you're arrested, your car can be impounded, and your entire vehicle can be "inventory" searched.

      Your car can also be searched sans warrant based on probable cause of any criminal activity, even if you aren't arrested.

      Better hope the courts decide your phone is more like a footlocker or a trunk, but good luck with that. The Supreme Court, over the course of about a dozen major Fourth Amendment decisions, has taken a dim view of your right to privacy while in your automobile.

      IAAL.
      • IAAL.

        Are you a criminal defense attorney that defends traffic violations? I'm going to guess that you are not, because most of what you wrote disagrees with the advice given by experts in this area of law.

        Why advise a motorist to withhold consent to a search if the officer could just arrest him and perform the search anyway? Why would the officer even waste time requesting consent to search if it is not required? Why do many jurisdictions have a consent form for the motorist to sign that affirms his consent to t

  • ...then use the DMCA. Instant justice.
  • Use of such a device on motorists would be a clear 4th amendment violation. Courts have ruled that police can only search for items that would relate/be evidence to the crime committed There is little chance your phone data is relavent to an illegal lane change.

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      There is little chance your phone data is relavent to an illegal lane change.

      The police would presumably argue that they need the data to verify that you weren't distracted by using your phone when you made that lane change. Hence they need your call history, you text messages, all your photos and videos, etc... just in case.

      • by rhook (943951)

        It has already been upheld that police can only search items that are in plain view during a traffic stop absent probable cause. What probable cause would they have to search your phone? Not to mention you can toss it in a glove box and at that point they will need a your permission, a warrant, or to impound the car in order to search it. I really hope the ACLU gives them the smack down in US Supreme Court over this.

        • by hedwards (940851)

          Glove box is a bad choice, because they are legally permitted to request license and registration, plus in much of the country insurance information. So if you've got any of those things in the glove box like many people do, they're still likely to see it as they do watch when you reach in their.

      • by slinches (1540051)

        That's only true if they have a reason to suspect that you are in violation of a law specifically prohibiting the use of cell phones (which Michigan doesn't have*) or violated another traffic law with the use of a cell phone (i.e. distracted driving). Most of the time they don't have enough evidence to support a distracted driving charge and you'll receive a ticket for a specific violation like speeding or drifting across lane lines. This type of device, if used appropriately, could provide evidence in t

  • it's a trap (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @07:02PM (#35874766)
    I am currently rigging a phone that has an unusually high power output on the incorrect USB contacts. I will keep it in my car. Is it my fault their little toy let the smoke out?
    • by rhook (943951)

      That could be considered a booby trap by the DA, I wouldn't risk it. You'll especially be in trouble if your device causes injury to any of the officers.

    • Re:it's a trap (Score:5, Interesting)

      by swb (14022) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @08:25PM (#35875598)

      That was my first idea, too -- what happens when a 1500 mAh battery discharges into the data pins in 2 seconds? While smoking one of their multihousand dollar devices sounds like a good idea, I'm sure it would cause other problems..

      A better idea is a device that mimics the data protocol of the phone model it represents but instead outputs 1000 or more times of data, ideally canned data, like copies of the constitution, video of the Rodney King beating, etc

  • Looking through the manual, the device can read data through bluetooth, cable, or SIM card. It also requires an app installed for smartphones other than Symbian and Blackberries. Those running CDMA phones with bluetooth off and a password lock activated should be safe(r) from this machine.

  • Remember when... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @07:11PM (#35874878)

    Americans wouldn't put up with this Soviet crap?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It was anti-Soviet crap when we did it before to hunt down the red menace. Now we do it to hunt down the terrorists and drug dealers.

    • No. When is this miraculous time you are talking about?
  • by ironjaw33 (1645357) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @07:12PM (#35874890)
    Neither of the articles are clear about this, but from the picture, I assume that the "snooping" device actually has to be physically connected with the phone via USB. I hacked my Nexus One to enable USB host mode, which effectively disables client mode. Any connected device won't be able to mount my SD card or onboard storage.
  • Is this device even real or could it be a fake like the expensive handheld detector where you inserted a polaroid? How about all the money the feds paid to the guy who claimed Al Queda was broadcasting hidden messages and only his software could decode it? Just saying'.

  • What an outrageous summary. Even the FA it is based on.

    The title of the story says they ARE doing this. The body of the article gives NO evidence that they are doing it, just that they have a box with the capability to read a cell phone in a short period of time.

    Yes, so what if the CAN do it? They should be able to do it when it is necessary and legal. If they find a dead body and a cellphone in the pocket, they should be able to get data from it as fast as possible. That means the device should be with t

    • However I'll give a bit of credit in that the police are clearly stonewalling the ACLU and why are they doing that if they've not been doing something they shouldn't with the devices?

      The FOIA request is legit, they aren't even contesting that. They are just trying to set a price so high the ACLU will go away, a price much higher than it actually costs to process the request.

      If there was nothing going on, if they were using these as they should (as in when there is reason to suspect someone is using their ce

  • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @07:16PM (#35874920) Homepage

    Should this be allowed to stand, traffic stops will become a new tool for police to conduct what would in any other context be considered illegal suspicionless searches. It's bad enough they can do this at the border for reasons unrelated to airline security, but now they want to get away with it anywhere in the country.

    When citizens take freedom for granted it becomes way too easy for the government to take those freedoms away. It's also way too easy to forget the sacrifices of generations past and sit idly by as the government flushes people's freedom down the toilet.

    • by Obfuscant (592200)

      Should this be allowed to stand,

      Should WHAT be allowed to stand? This unsupported allegation? That's all you are dealing with here. The article says they CAN do something, not that they ARE doing it.

      They have GUNS, too. They CAN shoot you. They have nightsticks they CAN whack you on the head with. They have a device they CAN read your cellphone with during a traffic stop.

      When the ACLU or anyone else provides even a shred of evidence that they ARE doing this, then you can rant and moan and rave about how awful it is. Otherwise, you're w

    • by KhabaLox (1906148)

      Should this be allowed to stand, traffic stops will become a new tool for police to conduct what would in any other context be considered illegal suspicionless searches.

      From what I hear (from Leo Laporte on This Week in Tech podcast), the police can already request (for a nominal fee) many data from your cell phone carrier. Data such as geolocation, time of phone call and number called are not considered "content" like an actual phone conversation is, and thus have a much lower hurdle as far as the law goes.

      See these [arstechnica.com] two [arstechnica.com] Ars Technica articles for more info, including this gem:

      Soghoian describes how "the government routinely obtains customer records from ISPs detailing the telephone numbers dialed, text messages, emails and instant messages sent, web pages browsed, the queries submitted to search engines, and geolocation data, detailing exactly where an individual was located at a particular date and time."

      I don't see this new tool as that big a boon to cops from the standpoint of normal folks. I can

  • This thing seems to read quite a few different filesystems and has lots of connectivity options. I supposed that could all be hacked up from scratch, and I didn't see any GPL'ed software on their website.

    Who has access to one of these things to do a dump?

  • Officer: "May I search your car?"

    You: "No, you may not."

    Done.

    You should NEVER, EVER, EVER allow an officer of the law, under any circumstances what-so-ever, to search your person, your belongings, or your car. Clearly this includes your mobile phone as well.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Doesn't mean they won't make up a reason to search you anyway.

  • Could this not be defeated with encryption? Is there something out there for Android?

    Every now and then, I get a fresh reminder of why I really hate police.

  • by superwiz (655733) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @07:44PM (#35875206) Journal
    Where is MPAA on this? This is a clear violation of copyright on videos held by video creators. And police are doing it without as much as a warrant? I assume MPAA will demand that Michigan police come into compliance and be fined $150K per instance of violation. Michigan police is not immune from FEDERAL copyright statues after all. In fact, if the phones are password protected, the police are also in violation of DMCA.
  • by failedlogic (627314) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @10:14PM (#35876316)

    The information on the phone alone is worth its weight in gold even if the police can't officially 'keep' it.

    The information on the phones could be very useful if you *cough cough* happen to pull over someone with a criminal background. Let's say there's some dealer you've been after. You pull him over. Hey, this is a 55 and you were going 56 maybe 65 or I don't really care you're getting pulled over. No charges or pressed but you don't care. You just want the damn phone. Now you have it.

    Now a detective or narc would now have a list of that dealer's network. Probably some clients calling him. And a whole miscellany of information that would be invaluable to a detective. Wether or not you believe police don't 'randomly' pull over people, this is all the motivator to do it.

    They probably don't care if they can legally keep the information. Or even care to use the information to build up a case. The information on that phone alone can open up a whole dragnet I won't even begin to write about. Keeping a digital copy of the info is probably not legal. But if a detective comes upon the information before they are notified they had to get rid of it and makes "mental notes" its going to be awfully hard to cook up a case proving the officer had or had not seen illegally obtained information.

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