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  1. #1
    Xiphos's Avatar
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    Police Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops

    The Michigan State Police have a high-tech mobile forensics device that can be used to extract information from cell phones belonging to motorists stopped for minor traffic violations. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan last Wednesday demanded that state officials stop stonewalling freedom of information requests for information on the program.
    "Complete extraction of existing, hidden, and deleted phone data, including call history, text messages, contacts, images, and geotags," a CelleBrite brochure explains regarding the device's capabilities. "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."
    Does your agency have such mobile devices?

    Do you use them?

    Under what circumstances?

    When would you ask for consent to analyze a phone on a traffic stop?
    Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.

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  2. #2
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    Yes we do and no we don't. Use them without a warrant, that is. The ACLU is going to shove that up their a--.

    Car 4
    I would like my country back. I used to believe that one man could never destroy this country. Not so sure anymore!

  3. #3
    Xiphos's Avatar
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    We have equipment like that but it's bulky and used in an office. We need search warrants to use it too. I'm curious about the mobile variety though.

    Something about it raises my hackles. I just don't see myself on a traffic stop asking, "Before you leave can I ask you to analyze your phone? I'd like to copy every bit and byte for analysis later by egg heads. Yes, that naked pic you texted your boyfriend and deleted will also be seen." If it's worth that kind of analysis it's worth a search warrant.

    Does Android have a 3rd party encryption app?
    Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.

    That which does not kill me, better start fucking running.

    If I lived every day like it was my last, the body count would be staggering.

    I intend to go in harm's way. -John Paul Jones

    Hunt the wolf, and bring light to the dark places that others fear to go. LT COL Dave Grossman

  4. #4
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    Slightly different writeup at Popular Mechanics

    I'm really curious about this moving forward. Raises my hackles too, so I decided to look at it from a different angle and "remote wipe" popped to mind. Heck, how about a "panic wipe" app the user could trigger when they see red&blue lights that starts wiping immediately, or if you don't enter your code within 15 minutes? Sure, file system deleted files can be recovered trivially easy, but with a well thought out wipe program, may still be possible, but can your eggheads do it or does it need to go to someone with bigger eggs now?

    I don't know of any "panic wipe" apps at present, but I'd be surprised if someone didn't start working on one right after reading this story. *Googled and the US State Department is reported to be developing one, but not for what I was thinking* Wouldn't be much point to theirs either if it didn't do a better job than a simple delete.

    This isn't an app only drug kingpins and terrorists would pay 99c for, anyone worried their cell phone might rat them out for the most minor traffic violations (founded fears or not) would. So now what when the search order comes and the phone is found blank?

    That would be a reason to make it routine to grab the data, then not touch it until there's cause. Thoughts about that scenario?

  5. #5
    Motorwaycop's Avatar
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    There is a small attache case size device that can be used to analyse a phone.
    However I really can't see the point of downloading a phone on a traffic stop. The only use for such an action would be if you were prosecuting for an offence of using the phone whilst driving. An offence here, I don't know about the US as things seem to vary state by stae sometimes.
    If i deal with someone for using their phone technically I could seize the phone as it is evidence of the offence. Do I do that, no. Much easier to get the phone number and provider(does require some cooperation, but the threat of losing the phone normally works) and simply put in a data request via the provider, a simple form that takes about 5 minutes to send off.
    That being said if we are dealing with a fatal/serious collision we will routinely seize and analyse all drivers phones.
    the sole advantage of power is that you can do more good.
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  6. #6
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    We don't have those yet, but I want one. It could be very useful.

  7. #7
    Five-0's Avatar
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    Without a warrant you can go pound sand too. That is the kind of step that will end up pushing us three steps back.

    Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkzV5AIK8iM
    "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that justifies it." -- Frederic Bastiat

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  8. #8
    yooper warden's Avatar
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    Well, I'm not a Trooper with MSP, but I work pretty close with alot of them, and I've never seen this or even heard about it being used. I wouldn't think they would even ask a motorist to do this unless they suspected more.

    Also, we (they) would need a warrant or consent or PC. We cannot even demand to look at a phone of someone we suspect of texting while driving, we can only ask.

    Probably just the ACLU making something out of nothing, again
    John

  9. #9
    yooper warden's Avatar
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    "A device that allows immediate, surreptitious intrusion into private data creates enormous risks that troopers will ignore these requirements to the detriment of the constitutional rights of persons whose cell phones are searched"

    See,

    quote from some ACLU laywer, the police can't be trusted with this type of device because the temptation is to high to misuse it.
    John

  10. #10
    Xiphos's Avatar
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    I have no doubt the ACLU is blowing this out of proportion. I think though they are trying to create pressure on MSP because they are being stonewalled trying to find out how the devices are being used.
    Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.

    That which does not kill me, better start fucking running.

    If I lived every day like it was my last, the body count would be staggering.

    I intend to go in harm's way. -John Paul Jones

    Hunt the wolf, and bring light to the dark places that others fear to go. LT COL Dave Grossman

  11. #11
    lewisipso's Avatar
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    Among other things this is something we do not have.
    Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me

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    R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012


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    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    This is being blown out of proportion -- though I do wonder what the truth behind the $500K+ fee was.

    We used the Cellbrite a lot in gang investigations. Current case law, as I understand it, says that we can search a phone on consent, incident to arrest, or with a warrant. It's not something you can do "secretly" since you need to handle the phone. (OK; an arrestee may not know it's happening during booking.)
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xiphos View Post
    I have no doubt the ACLU is blowing this out of proportion. I think though they are trying to create pressure on MSP because they are being stonewalled trying to find out how the devices are being used.
    So this being done during a stop for a simple traffic stop is being embellished a bit?

    Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkzV5AIK8iM
    "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that justifies it." -- Frederic Bastiat

    "Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter." Ernest Hemingway

    The opinions given in my signatures & threads DO NOT reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only, thereby releasing my agency of any liability, or involvement in anything posted under the username "Five-0" on Officerresource.com

  14. #14
    Xiphos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Five-0 View Post
    So this being done during a stop for a simple traffic stop is being embellished a bit?
    I don't know. Why is MSP stonewalling the FOIA about it?
    Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.

    That which does not kill me, better start fucking running.

    If I lived every day like it was my last, the body count would be staggering.

    I intend to go in harm's way. -John Paul Jones

    Hunt the wolf, and bring light to the dark places that others fear to go. LT COL Dave Grossman

  15. #15
    yooper warden's Avatar
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    My experince with a FOIA like this is they are a fishing expidition. They want any and all documentation about the topic. So to comply, we have to give out everything including dailies, reports etc. We ussually charge a fee of like $20 a page for filing fees etc
    John

  16. #16
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    I've never even heard of it. Then again I work in poor areas.
    'Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a
    delusional, illogical liberal minority, and rabidly
    promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which
    holds forth the proposition that it is entirely
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  17. #17
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    So while 5% of the internet pundits were twisting panties (and imagining worst cases about this, as they are meant to do) a good 50% were doing the same about Apple logging data on their devices they could use to spy on themselves. I find people very strange, internet people doubly so. Guess one way to look at is is people mistrust and fear Apple much more than Law Enforcement. I'm ok with that.

    Don't have any updates on the Michigan story (didn't look); found the reactions to the stories pretty amusing.

 

 

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