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Michigan Police Could Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops 525

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.

  • 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...

  • Erase your phone (Score:5, Informative)

    by vrmlguy ( 120854 ) <(samwyse) (at) (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.

  • Product link (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @07:02PM (#35874770)

    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...

  • Re:Wire? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nethemas the Great ( 909900 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @07:09PM (#35874844)
    Oh, no they have a convenient carrying storage case [cellebrite.com]. Since the summary didn't bother you may have a look see here [cellebrite.com] for their wares.
  • by Tsiangkun ( 746511 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @07:22PM (#35874980) Homepage
    No, they are not citizens, they are now property of the State. They can hold elections and have their elected government dissolved. They do not have a functional vote.. They have no say in their government. They are taxed without representation. Michigan has serious issues, and their new martial law techniques raise serious questions.
  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @07:30PM (#35875072) Journal

    All it takes is a K9 officer to fake a "tell" on your car, and they can search you. Cops lie about probable cause all the time.

  • Re:Encrypt it... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @07:38PM (#35875168) Homepage Journal

    1201(e) exempts law enforcement.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

When you are working hard, get up and retch every so often.