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Thread: U.S. Supreme Court's milestone ruling protects cellphone privacy

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    U.S. Supreme Court's milestone ruling protects cellphone privacy

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    (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that police officers usually need a warrant before they can search the cellphone of an arrested suspect, a major decision in favor of privacy rights at a time of increasing concern over government encroachment in digital communications.

    In an opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court said there are some emergency situations in which a warrantless search would be permitted. But the unanimous 9-0 ruling goes against law enforcement agencies including the U.S. Department of Justice, which wanted more latitude to search without having to obtain a warrant.

    "We cannot deny that our decision today will have an impact on the ability of law enforcement to combat crime," Roberts wrote, adding that the right to privacy "comes at a cost."

    Roberts acknowledged the unique nature of cellphones in contemporary life, noting that "the proverbial visitor from Mars might conclude they were an important feature of human anatomy."- Source - Screen shot
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    This is a win for everyone.

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    Re: U.S. Supreme Court's milestone ruling protects cellphone privacy

    This is such a reversal on the last several decades of the court stripping away privacy. I hope they've finally come to their senses.
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    Re: U.S. Supreme Court's milestone ruling protects cellphone privacy

    "At the insistence of federal law enforcement officials, Florida police concealed their use of a device that can track suspected criminals’ cellphones, according to emails obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union.

    The 2009 email chain, which the civil rights group received in response to a public-records request, sheds light on the government’s efforts to keep the details of a surveillance tool known as a “stingray” out of the public eye.

    The tool works by mimicking a cellphone tower, allowing it to connect with cellphones and determine their location and is key to law enforcement in tracking fugitives.

    A law-enforcement official said in the emails that secrecy was needed to prevent criminals from learning how to circumvent the device, but privacy advocates say the government is also evading legal challenges to the tool, which is often used without a search warrant.

    “The effect of what they’re doing is to affirmatively mislead judges and criminal defense attorneys and to eliminate defendants’ abilities to bring constitutional challenges to unlawful surveillance practices,” said ACLU lawyer Nathan Freed Wessler.

    ....No federal appeals court has reviewed the legality of stingrays. The appeals courts are divided on whether police need a warrant to get records from a carrier when a suspect’s cellphone connects to a tower."
    Police Concealed Use of

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    Re: U.S. Supreme Court's milestone ruling protects cellphone privacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Paxaeon View Post
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    This is a win for everyone.
    Agreed, but I'd still rather have a privacy amendment to the Constitution.

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    Re: U.S. Supreme Court's milestone ruling protects cellphone privacy

    Quote Originally Posted by clownboy View Post
    Agreed, but I'd still rather have a privacy amendment to the Constitution.
    Privacy protection is already is in there in the fourth amendment. It seems clear enough to me, but the Supreme Court doesn't consistently agree. Perhaps we just need an amendment to add the words "peeping, listening in, interception of messages, and collection of personal information" to the fourth. In my view the word "search" should include peeping, listening in, interception of messages, and collection of personal information

    "In criminal law, search means examination of a person’s body, property or other area which the person would reasonably be expected to consider as private"
    Search Law & Legal Definition

    "An examination of a man's house, premises or person, for the purpose of discovering proof of his guilt in relation to some crime or misdemeanor of which be is accused."
    search legal definition of search. search synonyms by the Free Online Law Dictionary.

    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.

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, peeping, listening in, interception of messages, and collection of personal information 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.

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    Re: U.S. Supreme Court's milestone ruling protects cellphone privacy

    the SCOTUS has been on a roll this week they have been upholding a lot of rulings that they should be.

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    Re: U.S. Supreme Court's milestone ruling protects cellphone privacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Paxaeon View Post
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    This is a win for everyone.
    yes, it's a win... but only if the courts decision is followed.

    I don't have much confidence that it will be....government works very hard to come up with ways to circumvent our protections, and they are very good at it.

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    Re: U.S. Supreme Court's milestone ruling protects cellphone privacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrilla View Post
    yes, it's a win... but only if the courts decision is followed.

    I don't have much confidence that it will be....government works very hard to come up with ways to circumvent our protections, and they are very good at it.
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    Good point. Consider this news story that popped up a few days ago;
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    Emails Show Feds Asking Florida Cops to Deceive Judges - "Police in Florida have, at the request of the U.S. Marshals Service, been deliberately deceiving judges and defendants about their use of a controversial surveillance tool to track suspects, according to newly obtained emails.

    At the request of the Marshals Service, the officers using so-called stingrays have been routinely telling judges, in applications for warrants, that they obtained knowledge of a suspect’s location from a “confidential source” rather than disclosing that the information was gleaned using a stingray.

    A series of five emails (.pdf) written in April, 2009, were obtained today by the American Civil Liberties Union showing police officials discussing the deception. The organization has filed Freedom of Information Act requests with police departments throughout Florida seeking information about their use of stingrays."
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    The US Marshals are under the jurisdiction of the Justice Department....Obama's Justice Department. The Obama administration filed a amicus curiae on this case against requiring a warrant.
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    Re: U.S. Supreme Court's milestone ruling protects cellphone privacy

    Quote Originally Posted by 1750Texan View Post
    Rulings don't automatically insure that the actions of the court are followed...it however does allow a defendent a clearer path to a successful appeal.
    that's true enough..... if the defendant ever uncovers the methods the government has used against them, which is probably unlikely.

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    Re: U.S. Supreme Court's milestone ruling protects cellphone privacy

    Quote Originally Posted by clownboy View Post
    Agreed, but I'd still rather have a privacy amendment to the Constitution.
    4th amendment!
    Killing one person is murder, killing 100,000 is foreign policy

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