When it comes to protecting your rights, are cellphones a good or a bad thing? It's plain to see how cellphones have improved our lives, not only by making sure we never miss a call, but also by putting the internet, including GPS navigation, email, Google searches, and all of our other favorite apps, right in our pocket. However, the benefits of our Information Age also come with a downside. Since our phones track everything we do, the temptation is high for law enforcement to get their hands on that information. The federal government has already been caught secretly collecting email and phone communications in its effort to fight terrorism, but now, scrutiny is being focused on local and state law enforcement. A recent article in the American Criminal Law Review Online, discusses how police are secretly using devices in public, known as StingRays, to pull information out of cellphones without the phone owner's knowledge.
Expect new developments this year regarding the Police & You. On Friday, January 17, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases regarding the authority of police to search the contents of an individual's cell phone without a warrant. The Court has agreed to review Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie. Both cases involve information found in the defendant's cell phone that was used as evidence to convict.