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California's Top Court Backs Cell-phone Searches

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posted on Jan, 11 2011 @ 01:07 PM
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California's Top Court Backs Cell-phone Searches


news.yahoo.com

The California Supreme Court has ruled that police don't need a warrant to search the text messages on a cell phone being carried by a suspect...

...The majority opinion, cited precedents from the U.S. Supreme Court, saying the contents of a cell phone are like the contents of clothing or a cigarette pack found on a suspect's person. The U.S. Supreme Court has found that those types of searches do not require a warrant under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution...
(visit the link for the full news article)


Related News Links:
www.dallasnews.com




posted on Jan, 11 2011 @ 01:07 PM
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This is a very hot topic, as the issue of privacy is getting more and more real. The ruling by the court is, in my opinion, a double-edged sword, waiting to cut both ways.

The specific case discussed in the article is a very legitimate example of how the ruling will help. Almost everyone uses text messaging, including criminals. However, if a suspect is found with a phone, I don't see why the police couldn't simply confiscate the phone and hold it while they await a court-approved warrant to search its' contents.

If the criminal's privacy is violated, people will have little remorse. However, what about all of the people that the suspect has communicated with? There is tons of information stored on a phone and a reasonable expectation of privacy is assumed. A phone is NOT the same as your coat pocket or a pack of smokes:



In a dissenting opinion, Associate Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar wrote that cell phones are different from the personal items involved in the earlier cases because of the large amount of information that can be stored on them. "Never before has it been possible to carry so much personal or business information in one's pocket or purse," Werdegar wrote.


Ohio has ruled the other way and even Texas tells their officers to ask permission or obtain a warrant before searching a suspects' phone.

What say you, ATS? Will this ruling continue to be upheld? Will this go before the US Supreme Court?

news.yahoo.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Jan, 11 2011 @ 02:35 PM
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reply to post by kawz1
 


I could go either way on this subject as I do see both sides.

I've never committed a major crime (I've broken quite few minor rules as I let all my IDs and registrations expire until I can't ignore it as a silent protest to being stamped and numbered) However I've been searched and questioned and can't help but wonder what would happen if a law enforcement officer decided to check a text message on my phone. Say a friend texts me to pick up cigarettes and as a joke makes a reference that would make the cigarettes sound like an illegal substance (not too far of a stretch in California where they are very near illegal). What happens then? Or is this just another step down the slippery slope that lets all of our privacy and freedoms slip away?

I think the people will not stand for it for long if law enforcement abuses the right, but if it is used in moderation where appropriate this can very well stick. The government and law enforcement have much more power onpaper than they exercise normally which is why in my opinion most of this power remains.



posted on Jan, 11 2011 @ 04:17 PM
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Originally posted by Jinglelord
I think the people will not stand for it for long if law enforcement abuses the right, but if it is used in moderation where appropriate this can very well stick. The government and law enforcement have much more power onpaper than they exercise normally which is why in my opinion most of this power remains.


That's a very good point. If used sparingly and only in the most appropriate manner, this ruling is fine and can be very useful for cleaning up the community. The flipside, however, is pretty horrible. Not only can they retrieve your records from the phone company (with a warrant/court order), but they can physically take your phone and go through it (on the spot, no paperwork necessary).

I guess the greater question is how exactly will this be used. Unfortunately, my crystal ball is in the shop, so I'm left with moments of rationality blurred with whispers of paranoia. Hopefully, this will only be used appropriately.



posted on Jan, 11 2011 @ 06:24 PM
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reply to post by kawz1
 


Another application I just thought of is prosecuting the California law where you can't text while driving and must talk on a hands free device. Could they then check your phone for a text message during the time the observed you driving and further confiscate it as evidence? As many of us use our cell phones as our only phone line and store important business contacts there that could have the potential of causing a huge inconvenience or loss of income over a minor traffic infraction...

While I'm not opposed to law enforcement doing their jobs I feel having the judicial oversight before any search is a VERY important part of the process that now amount of expediting is worth sacrificing. At the very least I want a choice: "Wait for a warrant or surrender your right and allow a search."

I'm with you, I logically know this is probably no big deal but that nagging voice in the back of my head is saying "Maybe its time to start worrying..."



posted on Jan, 11 2011 @ 06:47 PM
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Another good reason to "lock" your phone


They should not be doing this, but if they must I will just lock my phone. When they ask for the passcode, well I will reply:

"I have the right to remain silent, and I want to talk to my lawyer."

Problem solved.

Like I said though, they should not be doing this. But we all know this isn't America anymore, so meh.



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