Dec 262009
 December 26, 2009  Surveillance Comments Off on Editorial: Cellphone Searches

The New York Times has an editorial in today’s paper that begins:

The Ohio Supreme Court has struck an important blow for privacy rights, ruling that the police need a warrant to search a cellphone. The court rightly recognized that cellphones today are a lot more than just telephones, that they hold a wealth of personal information and that the privacy interest in them is considerable. This was the first such ruling from a state supreme court. It is a model for other courts to follow.

Read more on the NY Times.

Dec 242009
 December 24, 2009  Govt, Misc Comments Off on Another wrong article: “Kiss the Fourth Amendment goodbye”

John Wesley Hall Jr. of blogs:

Kiss the Fourth Amendment goodbye,” posted today by Kathleen Baker, Denver Conservative Examiner, concludes that the Obama Administration granting diplomatic immunity to INTERPOL operating in the United States means that we can “Kiss the Fourth Amendment goodbye.” Once again, a conservative watchdog gets it wrong, in their zeal to demonize the President.


So, where does it say that INTERPOL gets to act outside the Fourth Amendment? It doesn’t. Nothing in the article or the statute it quotes says a word about it, except the writer’s imagination and lack of reading comprehension. This is just wrong. Dead wrong. Even a commenter got on the bandwagon and agreed without critical analysis. Maybe even without reading. See also the with a slightly different view.

The old early law career saw “RTFS” applies: Read The Frigging Statute.


Dec 092009
 December 9, 2009  Surveillance Comments Off on How Easy Is It For The Police To Get GPS Data From Your Phone?

Justin Elliot has more on the issue of how easy it is — or isn’t — for law enforcement to obtain your GPS data. The issue grabbed a lot of attention last week after graduate student Chris Soghoian published some information suggesting that Sprint had gotten 8 million requests last year for customer data. Sprint later responded that 8 million did not refer to unique customers or accounts, but to pings.


Depending on the circumstances, police would generally need to meet one of three tiers of standards to get a court order to access to GPS data from a phone company, Orin Kerr, a professor at George Washington University Law School, tells TPMmuckraker: a certification to the court that the location information is relevant to an investigation (a court must grant this request); showing the court with “specific and articulable facts” — say, that a suspect is involved in drug smuggling — that the data is relevant; or, finally, showing good old probable cause to obtain a search warrant.

“Under a legal standard like this one, people who will never do anything wrong — who have simply caught the interest of law enforcement — will have their GPS info pulled,” says Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel at the ACLU. Adds Calabrese: “GPS data should clearly be protected by the Fourth Amendment warrant standard, but right now it’s not.”

Read more on TPMMuckraker.