Police are obtaining court orders requiring Apple and Google to help bypass security passwords to enable them access to a person’s cell phone. According to CNET police officers are using fill-in-the-blanks court orders for judge’s to sign to obtain access to a person’s cell phone.
This practice is disturbing on multiple levels. Why is Apple retaining information on an iPhone’s user’s password to begin with, why is google doing the same thing, what sort of information is a judge being given to justify a court order essentially requirig a company to unlock a closed container, and if the phone is not password protected does this search of the phone trigger a possible 4th amendment search and seizure violation?
Prosecutors across the country are urging Judges to allow the cops to check cell phones as a search incident to an arrest. Criminal defense attorneys will be arguing that these searches are violations of the 4th Amendment. This type of search will continue to be litigated and argued locally in Orlando, Florida and throughout the United States.
Smartphone technology has added convenience to our lives but it also has given police a new tool for conducting investigations. Examining the content in an iphone has the potential to reveal much more about ourselves then looking through a wallet. Using cell phone towers to track a person’s whereabouts seems similar to using a GPS device to track movement and you can bet that the Supreme Court is going to have to address this situation.