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04-21-2011, 06:17 AM   #1
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Michigan State Police "search" cell phones during traffic stops

Michigan: Police Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops

Evidently they are doing this during routine traffic stops, though they have failed to respond to a FOIA request for usage data from the ACLU.

Of course, some people will say that "if you have nothing to hide you should not have a problem with the police searching you or your belongings."

However, if you have done nothing wrong you should not be subject to the search in the first place. And speeding (or most other routine traffic infractions) is not generally evidence, or reason for suspicion, of other crimes.

I have no problem whatsoever with the police searching someone whom they reasonably and articulably suspect has committed a specific crime. I have no problem whatsoever of the police searching that person's belongings, to include their electronic devices. However, unless the crime is personally witnessed by the officer, a search warrant detailing exactly what is being sought is generally required. These cell phone searches seem to specifically ignore the requirement for a search warrant.

The police have no more right to our private data than anyone else does that we do not wish to share it with...

Thoughts?

Mike

04-21-2011, 06:46 AM   #2
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I agree with you, Mike. It has gotten even worse. We just had a judge here overturn the practice of the police in confiscating any "large" amounts of cash they find in your car. If they find several thousand dollars in cash, the Sheriff would just take it and not give it back without a fight even if you are never prosecuted for a crime.

I get it about forfeitures of drug money from convicted drug dealers. However, this resulted in a forfeiture for living on cash.
04-21-2011, 07:08 AM   #3
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Nothing around here surprises me, considering our choice of governor.
Confiscating land and information. Easy peasy.
Tip of an iceberg?
04-21-2011, 07:34 AM   #4
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From the article it doesn't sound like they are forcing people to hand over their phone, but suggesting that they do. This is a typical thing the police will do when they pull you over. "So, where were you heading so quickly" "You're from out of town, may I ask what brought you here to visit." "Mind if I check in the trunk" etc. They are always trying to push the limits of what they can ask and search to gather more information. The whole "if you have nothing to hide" argument is bogus since very few of us know all of the laws and would have no idea if we've unintentionally done something illegal. The best advice is what most lawyers will give you, keep your mouth shut unless someone who knows the law is in the same room with you and the cop.

04-21-2011, 07:39 AM   #5
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It is truly amazing the amount of data being collected and the willingness of people to share that data. I am a privacy freak so I am always cautious about how much personally identifiable information I share with the world, the professionalism of my online image, the timeliness of information. I am probably overly paranoid but I even use a LiveCD for all of my online banking and am very cognizant about airgapping my most important data.
04-21-2011, 07:48 AM   #6
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I guess I'm not clear on the concept here, nonetheless, this is very disturbing. Ditto what TyBeck said - if it doesn't have anything to do with you speeding (for example, like your trunk) then why should you feel obligated to cooperate beyond what is necessary? But I have to ask:

-So, a person gets stopped, for whatever, a traffic/moving violation, and the officer asks for the driver's cellphone. And the driver (and I suppose passengers, as applicable), wantonly give them up?!

I vaguely recall a few years back, post-9/11, of course, of a debate not only about a national ID card, but also whether authorities/peace officers, et al., had the right to randomly stop people and ask them for some sort of identification. Of course, people howled. However, now we've gotten into a more heated immigration debate, and the topic is more germaine.

Granted, I've traveled and lived extensively overseas. I'm not a citizen there, and I'm subject to their laws and their standard - whatever it is, if it exists - of "rule of law." I'm a guest there. In my frequent trips to Russia, it was not unusual to be stopped by a militiaman (no, they don't have police there) and asked for ID. Fortunately, I had at the time not only a diplomatic passport, but accreditation. However, in Azerbaijan, where I lived for two years +, I was NEVER once asked for my ID other than entering the embassy or departing/entering the country.

My point is, that's their standard. Here, we must maintain the presumption of guilt absent evidence of a crime.

Funny, the old Ben Franklin quote crawled into my head as I watched "State of Play" last night, which goes something like, "Those who are willing to sacrifice a measure of freedom for security deserve neither freedom nor security."
04-21-2011, 08:55 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by tybeck Quote
From the article it doesn't sound like they are forcing people to hand over their phone, but suggesting that they do. This is a typical thing the police will do when they pull you over. "So, where were you heading so quickly" "You're from out of town, may I ask what brought you here to visit." "Mind if I check in the trunk" etc. They are always trying to push the limits of what they can ask and search to gather more information. ....
It may not sound like they are forcing people to turn over their phones, but face it. Any time you "decline" an officer's "order" his suspicions are raised and if you continue to decline you will rapidly find yourself being arrested for "contempt of cop!"

However, unless they can tell me what law they think I have broken which they will find evidence of on my cell phone I will politely and calmly decline to surrender it to them.
04-21-2011, 11:51 AM   #8
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Been reading about this on FlyerTalk forum. The gizmo is called celleabrite universal forensics extraction device. It can copy the entire contents of an iPhone in about 30 sec. The ACLU is trying to get info from the Michigan cops. They feel it is a 4th amendment violation. This thing can even retrieve deleted data, calls made & received, notes, emails, gps info and photos. Very bad thing for cops to have. Privacy is becoming a lost right.

04-21-2011, 01:22 PM   #9
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Big brother is watching!!!
04-21-2011, 03:10 PM   #10
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Suspicions are that Apple plans to use the data to target ads when you are near particular merchants.... but they won't verify that. Private Investigators have also used the "location tracking" feature (presumably after "borrowing" their target's phone) to track cheating spouses.

Someone needs to write an app that loads a virus to the upload device if an appropriate password is not provided.

Last edited by MRRiley; 04-22-2011 at 02:58 AM.
04-21-2011, 03:57 PM   #11
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More Teabagger slash-and-burn, they're just taking their moment to try and piss people off against 'gummint' even as they do the exact opposite of what they promised.

Elegant answer? *of course* they're as right wing as they scream when they aren't on corporate news. Surprised?

Some 'protest vote,' eh?

Dateline, Wouldacouldashouldaberg: Told ya so.

Y'know.

Did I not? At the time?

I mean, you know, pardon my general 'tude right now, but as it was when it was elections everyone was tussling over, *how did you *expect* this to turn out?*

Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 04-21-2011 at 04:14 PM.
04-21-2011, 06:20 PM   #12
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The plot thickens.
I read somewhere the device can work from a distance.
Here's the official response.

UPDATED Michigan State Police respond to cell phone extraction accusations WITH VIDEO - theoaklandpress.com
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