You get pulled over, you’re not under arrest…but the cop takes your phone and swipes the data, with or without your consent? Such is the case in Michigan where police have the gadgetry to zap your phone at their leisure. The ACLU’s offended and on the attack, as very well they should be.
“Michigan state police (or should we say police state?) have been using a handheld mobile forensics device to steal information from cell phones belonging to motorists stopped for minor traffic violations. The high-tech device works with 3000 different phone models and can bypass passwords to process “Complete extraction of existing, hidden, and deleted phone data, including call history, text messages, contacts, images, and geotags,” according to CelleBrite, the company behind the device. “The Physical Analyzer allows visualization of both existing and deleted locations on Google Earth. In addition, location information from GPS devices and image geotags can be mapped on Google Maps.”
So, without a warrant, without people even knowing it, police has the power to look into your entire phone’s memory, including deleted phone data. With geotags, it can retrace pretty much everywhere you’ve went with that cellphone. Since most people have their cellphones at less than 5 feet from them at all times, well, there you go.”
“This seems like a pretty obvious violation of the 4th Amendment prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures. If a police officer can’t look into your trunk when you get pulled over, they certainly can’t download your photos and text messages.”
The ACLU wants access to the records of those phone downloading machines. The Michigan police is using a clever but outrageous stalling tactic: they’ll happily hand over the data if the ACLU pays a $500,000 processing fee. So the ACLU is threatening to sue to get the data.”