A gang of robed criminals recently decreed that costumed gun-toting state enforcers have the authority to search your phone, emails, or anything else you might be able to wipe clean remotely, without a search warrant, incident to arrest.
CBS News reports:
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Think about all the personal information we keep in our cell phones: It’s something to consider after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled it is now legal for police to search cell phones without a warrant.
POSNER, Circuit Judge.
This appeal requires us to consider the circumstances in which the search of a cell phone is permitted by the Fourth Amendment even if the search is not authorized by a warrant . Lurking behind this issue is the question whether and when a laptop or desktop computer, tablet, or other type of computer (whether called a “computer” or not) can be searched without a warrant—for a modern cell phone is a computer.
[Police cite the existence of “cellphone stun guns” as one of the reasons to support this lunacy. I just thought you would get a kick out of the bullshit reasoning the criminals in state costumes use to search and seize your property.]
In some cases, a search of a cell phone, though not authorized by a warrant, is justified by police officers’ reasonable concerns for their safety. [LOL]
It’s not even clear that we need a rule of law specific to cell phones or other computers. If police are entitled to open a pocket diary to copy the owner’s address, they should be entitled to turn on a cell phone to learn its number. If allowed to leaf through a pocket address book, as they are, United States v. Rodriguez, 995 F.2d 776, 778 (7th Cir. 1993), they should be entitled to read the address book in a cell phone.
Other conspirators were involved in the distribution of methamphetamine besides Santana-Cabrera and the defendant, and conceivably could have learned of the arrests (they might even have been monitoring the transaction with the informant in the garage from afar) and wiped the cell phones remotely before the government could obtain and execute a warrant and conduct a search pursuant to it for the cell phone’s number; and conceivably the defendant might have had time to warn them before the cell phone was taken from him, giving them time to wipe it . “Conceivably” is not “probably”; but set off against the modest benefit to law enforcement of being able to obtain the cell phone’s phone number immediately was only a modest cost in invasion of privacy. Armed with that number the officers could obtain the call history at their leisure, and the defendant does not deny that if the number was lawfully obtained the subpoenaing of the call history from the phone company was also lawful and the history thus obtained could therefore properly be used in evidence against him .
…[Some more bullshit reasoning arguing in favor of searching cellphones]
Thus, it is imperative that law enforcement officers have the authority to immediately ‘search’ or retrieve, incident to a valid arrest, information from a pager in order to prevent its destruction as evidence.”
Just as a reminder:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
People often look at the Fourth Amendment and see the word “unreasonable”, which they presume allows for some “reasonable” searches without a warrant. This is not the case. The way the framers intended the amendment to be interpreted was to assume that all searches without warrants are unreasonable.
The amendment lays out what is necessary in order for a search to be deemed reasonable. In order for a search to be deemed reasonable, police must have probable cause. They must then present this probable cause to a judge who will then issue them a warrant. Only after the the judge has issued a warrant is the search now deemed reasonable in the eyes of the Constitution.
The Courts have consistently rejected the original intent of the Fourth Amendment in favor of state power, which has led us to the situation we have today.