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DOJ Complains About Getting a Warrant To Search Mobile Phones

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the give-us-an-easy-button-please dept.

United States 178

An anonymous reader writes "The US government has entered its reply brief in the US vs. Wurie case and its argument in favor of warrantless searches of arrestees' cell phones contains some truly terrible suppositions. The government argues that impartial technological advancements somehow favor criminals. As it sees it, the path to the recovery of evidence should not be slowed by encryption or wiping or even the minimal effort needed to obtain a warrant. From the article: 'The government agrees that times are changing but counterintuitively argues that only law enforcement is being negatively affected by this. Every argument in favor of warrantless searches contains some sort of lamentation about how tech-savvy criminals will be able to cover up or destroy evidence contained on their phones before the police can crack open these new-fangled address books and copy everything down.'"

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Scumbags, the lot of them. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46852971)

It's almost like citizens should have their papers and effects safe from warrant-less searches. Crazy, I know.

Re:Scumbags, the lot of them. (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#46853075)

You kids and your crazy, liberal ideas...

Re:Scumbags, the lot of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853373)

The sad part is that all of the amendments to the constitution, except for the second, are actually considered to be "crazy liberal ideas".

Re:Scumbags, the lot of them. (3, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about 5 months ago | (#46853393)

funny thing is in a traditional sense the 2nd amendment was just as liberal as the rest.

wrong as slashdot beta (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853859)

The bill of rights shouldn't even be necessary ... if you you read the Constitution, Congress, the President, etc don't have any authority to do any of that stuff.

The 9th and 10th amendments exist because some forward thinking people realized if you have a list of things which are not allowed, sometime in the future, the government would treat that as the only things which are not allowed.

Captcha: treason.

Re:Scumbags, the lot of them. (3, Insightful)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 5 months ago | (#46853361)

Look at the argument: "... some sort of lamentation about how tech-savvy criminals will be able to cover up or destroy evidence contained on their phones before the police can crack open these new-fangled address books and copy everything..."

Clearly we must give the government any and every power that they want to snoop into our lives. After all, it's not like they could just put the phones that they steal in a simple shielded Faraday box while they wait for a warrant, and then do their snooping in a Faraday cage. No, it is far better to give every scumbag that wants to snoop into your life completely free unrestricted access than to even make them go through the sham of having a warrant first, after all, they have implied that somehow tech-savvy criminals might wipe their phones.

Re:Scumbags, the lot of them. (5, Insightful)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 5 months ago | (#46853429)

Typical. We're supposed to be the land of the free, and yet all these thugs care about is 'safety' (or, in reality, power), even when freedom should be considered more important in a land of truly free and brave people.

Re:Scumbags, the lot of them. (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 5 months ago | (#46853575)

The tech savvy criminals will then move to another notch of security.

One example of this are self-contained apps like Divide that contain a rudimentary word processor, spreadsheet, and other tools, working on files in its space, all encrypted. Unlike Divide, the app would be decentralized, perhaps looking at incoming SMS messages for a kill signal, or even more useful, a keepalive signal. No signed text, deadman switch goes off, and the app would zero out its encryption keys.

Of course, where the real crooks lead, the herd follows, so an app that handles a lot of functions, perhaps even contacts via a Google Voice like setup, would be a best seller.

Re:Scumbags, the lot of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46854023)

What paradox is this called I wonder.

It's like a venn diagram of "People who want to see your data"

Circle A: Government
Circle B: You
Circle C: Strangers

With the overlap between B and C containing "Family", "Marketing" , the overlap between A and B being "Police and Corrupt politicians" the overlap between A and C containing "Insurance companies, Banks and your potential workplaces"

Overlap the three you put "People who should not have your data" - "Criminals"

Re:Scumbags, the lot of them. (5, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 5 months ago | (#46853825)

Jack Vance probably said it best, in one of his novels. Here a ruler is speaking to the legislative body of government (e.g., congress, parliament):

I urge you not to endorse this sinister measure. Humanity many times has had sad experience of superpowerful police forces...

As soon as [the police] slip out from under the firm thumb of a suspicious local tribune, they become arbitrary, merciless, a law unto themselves. They think no more of justice, but only of establishing themselves as a privileged and envied elite. They mistake the attitude of natural caution and uncertainty of the civilian population as admiration and respect, and presently they start to swagger back and forth, jingling their weapons in megalomaniac euphoria.

People thereupon become not masters, but servants. Such a police force becomes merely an aggregate of uniformed criminals, the more baneful in that their position is unchallenged and sanctioned by law. The police mentality cannot regard a human being in terms other than as an item or object to be processed as expeditiously as possible. Public convenience or dignity means nothing; police prerogatives assume the status of divine law. Submissiveness is demanded. If a police officer kills a civilian, it is a regrettable circumstance: the officer was possibly overzealous. If a civilian kills a police officer all hell breaks loose. The police foam at the mouth. All other business comes to a standstill until the perpetrator of this most dastardly act is found out. Inevitably, when apprehended, he is beaten or otherwise tortured for his intolerable presumption.

The police complain that they cannot function efficiently, that criminals escape them. Better a hundred unchecked criminals than the despotism of one unbridled police force.

Again I warn you, do not endorse this measure. If you do, I shall surely veto it."

From The Star King, by Jack Vance

This passage is notable for how demonstrably true it is. We have had exactly this problem with our local police, for many years, and we are only now beginning to get a handle on them.

Re:Scumbags, the lot of them. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46854017)

What's really crazy is that 90-some percent of these fucktards are going to keep voting D and R and expecting things to improve. That's crazy.

Re:Scumbags, the lot of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46854039)

It's almost like citizens should have their papers and effects safe from warrant-less searches. Crazy, I know.

But, but, due process is HARD!

Re:Scumbags, the lot of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46854083)

What they expect us to actually do some work to catch and prove your a criminal ?

WAAAAHHHH!

Boo Fucking Hoo (5, Insightful)

ShaunC (203807) | about 5 months ago | (#46852995)

Do some real investigative work and make your freaking case. If the only evidence you have on someone is contained within their cell phone, perhaps they aren't guilty of anything they ought to be getting arrested for.

Re:Boo Fucking Hoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853033)

That is stupid.

Phones today are capable of doing far more then playing snake. Someone could easily do all their criminal business on a smart phone.

Re:Boo Fucking Hoo (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853041)

And if they actually had evidence of this, they could easily get a warrant.

Re:Boo Fucking Hoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853523)

> And if they actually had evidence of this, they could easily get a warrant.

There's plenty of evidence that phones are capable of more than playing snake. Just look at the App Store!

Re:Boo Fucking Hoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853641)

I know you're joking, but is there any evidence that everyone that has a cell phone is a criminal? The dickbutt up above seems to think so.

Re:Boo Fucking Hoo (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 5 months ago | (#46853193)

someone could easily be doing all their criminal business in their home --> so every house should be searchable without a warrant on a whim?? you're from north korea or some shit like that?

Re:Boo Fucking Hoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853463)

The point was that if the only evidence of someone being a criminal is on their phone they might not be a criminal. This simply is not true.

If there is evidence on the phone then why shouldn't be police be allowed to search it?

Re:Boo Fucking Hoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853489)

Because if they have no evidence that there's anything on the phone, why should they be allowed to search it to begin with? You said it yourself, "the only evidence of someone being a criminal is on their phone." Therefor, the person is innocent, and they have no evidence to suggest otherwise. Had they anything to suggest otherwise, they could get a warrant to search it.

Seriously. Use your head. Or are you just here to troll/shill/spread propaganda?

Re:Boo Fucking Hoo (3, Insightful)

TheGavster (774657) | about 5 months ago | (#46853511)

The police are allowed to search your phone, your papers, your home, anything, once they go to a judge, present their case, and receive authorization. The person whose property is being searched has no voice in this case, and in fact isn't even necessarily aware it is being made until they are presented with the warrant. It's literally the most trivial of checks and balances, provided you actually do have a need to search that single individual's property. The goal of these warrantless search rules is to allow dragnet searches of EVERYONE's property.

Think of a warrant as similar to those "hash cash" anti-spam concepts: It's really easy to do if you have a single email that you want to send, but if you're looking to send 100k indiscriminate spam messages, it's going to slow you down.

Re:Boo Fucking Hoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853881)

As an attorney who has (reluctantly -- it's not my field) done criminal defense work in the past, and who has gotten evidence thrown out (and an acquittal) because the warrant was defective, allow me to point you to the Fourth amendment.

"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 argument that "well, the law says that, but it's completely different in reality!" is a bullshit, arm-chair, cop-out statement by people who are unwilling or too lazy to defend their rights. Guess what: without people speaking up, NO law is worth the piece of paper it is written on.

Re:Boo Fucking Hoo (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 5 months ago | (#46853527)

Because they need a warrant. My pocket computer holds incredibly sensitive and proprietary information, NO ONE touches it without a warrant. The Constitution is absolutely clear on this. My pocket computer is 'papers and effects'

Re:Boo Fucking Hoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853645)

Apologies, i have miss used the word search. I mean seize and then search later with warrant.

Re:Boo Fucking Hoo (1)

Letophoro (1417231) | about 5 months ago | (#46853715)

Try the word substitution thing:

The point was that if the only evidence of someone being a criminal is in their home they might not be a criminal. This simply is not true.

If there is evidence in the home then why shouldn't be police be allowed to search it?

Re:Boo Fucking Hoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853867)

Because the onus is on THEM to PROVE that i am doing something illegal in my home.

This could include looking through the windows, or the door that I open, to see if there is anything I shouldn't be doing in there.

If my phone is locked and there is no indication of criminal activity, how is this ANY DIFFERENT then closing my windows or locking my door?

Either show probable cause that I am illegally using my phone and get a warrant to search it; or, (quite frankly); piss the fuck off!

Re:Boo Fucking Hoo (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 5 months ago | (#46853763)

" Someone could easily do all their criminal business on a smart phone."

That's all well and good, but they can't do that and be in a situation where the only evidence of criminal activity is on the device. By definition, if you are using it to perform all your criminal activities then you are connecting to an external network. There will be logs (i.e. evidence) elswewhere besides on your phone. That is where the warrant comes in, see?

Re:Boo Fucking Hoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853997)

That is stupid.

Phones today are capable of doing far more then playing snake. Someone could easily do all their criminal business on a smart phone.

And you could easily jump off a tall cliff.

So why don't you do it, asshole.

Somebody call a wambulance (5, Insightful)

sbrown7792 (2027476) | about 5 months ago | (#46853001)

Digital or not, it's someone's property. Get over yourself and get a warrant to search/seize it.

tech-savvy criminals will be able to cover up or destroy evidence contained on their phones before the police can crack [it] open

And fire-savvy criminals will be able to cover up or destroy evidence contained in their house. What's the difference?

Re:Somebody call a wambulance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853117)

Digital or not, it's someone's property. Get over yourself and get a warrant to search/seize it.

tech-savvy criminals will be able to cover up or destroy evidence contained on their phones before the police can crack [it] open

And fire-savvy criminals will be able to cover up or destroy evidence contained in their house. What's the difference?

You can send in a SWAT team on a "no knock" warrant if you think a suspect might destroy physical evidence inside a house.

Re:Somebody call a wambulance (1)

zugmeister (1050414) | about 5 months ago | (#46853311)

Ah, but you'll notice there is the use of a warrant strongly implied in the phrase ""no knock" warrant".
They're complaining about having to get a warrant at all.

Re:Somebody call a wambulance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853837)

You mean one of those "no knock" warrants where they just kick in the door unannounced, while the occupants are still there? The ones that wind up with a cop or two getting shot because the occupant thought they were intruders, and then the cops opening fire and killing everyone?

Re:Somebody call a wambulance (1)

Yakasha (42321) | about 5 months ago | (#46853895)

Digital or not, it's someone's property. Get over yourself and get a warrant to search/seize it.

tech-savvy criminals will be able to cover up or destroy evidence contained on their phones before the police can crack [it] open

And fire-savvy criminals will be able to cover up or destroy evidence contained in their house. What's the difference?

You can send in a SWAT team on a "no knock" warrant if you think a suspect might destroy physical evidence inside a house.

Fine. Get a fucking "no knock" WARRANT and seize the phone before they wipe it.

Re:Somebody call a wambulance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853227)

Can't call, they have my cell phone..

tech-savvy? (2)

khasim (1285) | about 5 months ago | (#46853295)

If the person really was "tech-savvy" then there would not be any implicating information on his/her phone.

Unless you're talking about petty criminals who don't have the resources to use a secondary phone that is not tied to them.

But that just means that the DOJ wants to kill the 4th Amendment to chase petty criminals. Fuck that!

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.

Re:tech-savvy? (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 5 months ago | (#46853407)

Unless you're talking about petty criminals who don't have the resources to use a secondary phone that is not tied to them.

Already in many countries around the world one cannot buy a SIM card without presenting ID, which goes into some kind of government registry. If this is not already the case in the US, then I imagine it will be in future. Furthermore, didn't one of the Snowden revelations concern the NSA being able to easily track people across "burner phones"?

All Your Constitutional Rights are Belong to US! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853003)

It's time for an Article 5 Constitutional Convention: http://www.foavc.org/

Re:All Your Constitutional Rights are Belong to US (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853027)

It's time for an Article 5 Constitutional Convention: http://www.foavc.org/

Wouldn't it be easier to blow-up the Senate and Congress? "Hi my name is Martha Washington. "

Re:All Your Constitutional Rights are Belong to US (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#46853113)

Sure, but that's illegal. Those sneaky bastards thought of everything!

Re:All Your Constitutional Rights are Belong to US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853031)

Fuck no. That's the last thing we need. You realize who would attend that convention?

All they would do is try to amend away the 2nd. Which would never pass. It would be a waste of time.

We're in that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, it's to early to shoot the bastards.

Re:All Your Constitutional Rights are Belong to US (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#46853105)

All they would do is try to amend away the 2nd.

You are aware that this story is about the 4th Amendment, right? Or are you unfamiliar with any part of the Constitution other than the 2nd Amendment?

Re:All Your Constitutional Rights are Belong to US (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853139)

He's saying it would be co-opted by people trying to attack the 2nd Amendment, and in the process the whole thing would be rendered moot.

Re:All Your Constitutional Rights are Belong to US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853301)

And I'm saying that I think he's an idiot if he thinks that the 2nd would be the only amendment that they would neuter. Not try to neuter, neuter. I am not so naive to believe that they would not succeed in neutering every last amendment that gets in the way of "government business".

Re:All Your Constitutional Rights are Belong to US (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 5 months ago | (#46853457)

An Article 5 convention just proposes amendments. They still have to be ratified by the states.

Re:All Your Constitutional Rights are Belong to US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853141)

There is one long-time Slashdotter who has on his sig four boxes of freedom, soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Right now, we have had SCOTUS argue that money is speech, so by that ruling, bribery can be considered legal, as it is free speech. I'd say we are not close to the ammo box yet... but I wouldn't go as far as a Constitutional convention:

1: The Second Amendment would be torn to pieces or reworded to make it useless, similar to Mexican's Constitutional article permitting any citizen to own a gun... provided it is approved by the military... and there is just one shop in the entirety of Mexico that one can legally purchase at.

2: Do we want the likes of the Koch Brothers, Chinese interests, and other countries who are the powers that be now have their influence forever stamped in the core document of the US? Right now, there is still hope, although it may take something like a Great Depression for people to stand up, put down the TV remote and Diet Coke, and reach for the recall petition forms and the tar and feathers. Having a Constitution that "hard-codes" their interests would just make things worse in the long haul, and perhaps open the door to colonization by another country.

3: Basing on the previous, do we want to take the chance of redefining things? For example, what happens if a US citizen is redefined as only someone who makes $100,000 a year, or one's voting is tied to their net worth or FICO scores? Yes, this can easily happen.

4: What happens if DC just gives the middle finger to the new Constitution? Lets be real here. One side has chemical weapon and gunships. The other has... 1911 handguns? The reason why Iraq was such a debacle was not the lack of firepower. It was political will. Desert Storm showed the might of the US when done "right". Now picture a "housecleaning" domestically. This was done before with native Americans, and can be done again.

Re:All Your Constitutional Rights are Belong to US (3, Interesting)

Immerman (2627577) | about 5 months ago | (#46853571)

You are aware that the constitution has been amended 10 times in the last century, right? Most recently in 1992, when laws effecting congressional salaries were delayed from taking effect until after the next election. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org] ) And only once was a previous amendment touched: when the 21st repealed the 18th (prohibition).

Granted a national convention has never actually been called, but that's largely because any time state support for an amendment approaches the point where it became likely that a national convention could be called (3/4 of states), the national congress has instead proposed a similar amendment themselves. Presumably to at least keep the specific wording under their own control rather than risk losing any more power than necessary to the state legislatures.

And frankly it seems silly to worry that powerful interests will buy up the state legislatures in order to allow a national convention to craft a suitably seedy amendment - far easier to buy up the much smaller national congress to do the exact same thing without all the extra fanfare and beuracratic complexity. You'd still have to buy up the state legislatures to get it passed, but buying a single vote is likely far cheaper and more reliable than getting an appropriately worded amendment agreed through such a large group.

Re:All Your Constitutional Rights are Belong to US (3, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 5 months ago | (#46853713)

any time state support for an amendment approaches the point where it became likely that a national convention could be called (3/4 of states),

2/3 of the States.

It takes 3/4 to ratify the amendment, but only 2/3 to call a Constitutional Convention.

Re:All Your Constitutional Rights are Belong to US (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 5 months ago | (#46853835)

Quite so, I misread that part.

We're here to "help" you! (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853007)

We're here to "help" you! Now get down on the floor before we tazer your ass. Papers please! No, no, no. This would be more like, "life history, all data relating to everything you do ever, please!"

Re:We're here to "help" you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853765)

*notices it's "before we tazer your ass", not "OR we'll tazer your ass".

Re:We're here to "help" you! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853771)

Tazer? You must be a city boy. Out here in the county, the Sheriff's office gets the wrong address for a non-violent drug offender, activates the SWAT team, kicks down your door, shoots your dogs instantly whether or not they're a threat (read the policies out there; they did it to a mayor even), and then throws you on the floor and hog ties you and your wife in front of your kids.

Then they figure out they have the wrong address.

But you will still stay down, fool.. and you will comply.

Or else.

Preface: I live in the sticks on seven acres with over-zealous law enforcement (ironically many of whom I talk with at the target range) and the occasional meth head.

And this kids, is why I'm probably on a list. I've got el-cheapo 360 degree camera coverage (including IR spectrum for night) hooked to a DVR which is also periodically (as in every ten minutes) backed up to an off-site location. I've also got motion sensor flood lights on every side of the house and garage. The floods and the DVR system are UPS backed. The locations of the cameras, while not being necessarily hidden, are not immediately obvious.

My wife and I are both professionals with no kids, and generally like to be left the hell alone, so throughout the house (and basement, and garage) there are one of two types of weapons accessible: Smith and Wesson 686+ 7 shot .357 revolvers and Mossberg Persuaders in 12 gauge. Yes, we have more than one of each. It was an initial purchase that we made when we moved to the middle of nowhere, and the weapons are all hidden. If worse comes to worst and body armor is involved, in the gun safe is an AR-15 platform loaded up with the best 6.8mm SPC I can buy (unless they're wearing ceramic plates, I'll own em like a two dollar whore)

We're both recreational shooters, have had considerable training (and indeed are going to Front Sight next year), and put rounds down range every month, if not every week as a hobby.

I'm a software engineer who works from home (and former soldier), and she's a school teacher (and farm girl). We both lament that this mentality is needed, but here in Appalachia it's kind of like considering George Bush's presidency: no move too stupid.

- signed: A Gun Totin' Working Class Agnostic Center-Left Democrat

Re:We're here to "help" you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853889)

So let me get this straight... you're going to shoot the SWAT team when they bust down your door, and think that's a good strategy?

Re:We're here to "help" you! (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46854133)

Firstly, I'm a law abiding citizen.

The ideal situation is that I throw my dogs in the glassed in shower in my bathroom just off of my bedroom and calmly come out and ask 'what the fuck'. The whole point of motion sensors on the flood lights is that I'll see them coming. If they've got a warrant, come on in boys and look around. Just don't shoot anybody or anything.

However, if it comes down to it I'll blow rounds through anybody wrongfully coming into my house. If they shoot my wife or anybody dear to me, then that SWAT officer is gone. Full stop. Either now or later; I've got a very long memory.

In addition, I don't think you know how fucked up county SWAT morons are; they're little better than mall ninjas. Thanks to homeland security giving them military hardware [thetruthaboutguns.com] and precious little training and common sense on how to use it, they're comical at times.. until they hurt somebody.

Also, botched raids? You're welcome. [cato.org]

And if you're one of those boot lickers who think no-knock warrants, drone strikes on US citizens, and ubiquitous surveillance are a good thing, fuck you.

Somebody has got to put a stop to this shit. Violent crime is plummeting yet the state is escalating.

Makes no sense (3, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about 5 months ago | (#46853013)

lamentation about how tech-savvy criminals will be able to cover up or destroy evidence contained on their phones before the police can crack open these new-fangled address books and copy everything down.

A warrant has nothing to do with this capability. If the perp sees you coming and wipes the phone*, the presence of a warrant has no effect on this. On the other hand, if you can secure the phone prior to the wipe, why can't you put it in an evidence bag, ask a judge for a warrant and then read it.

*IANAL, but it is my understanding that the existence of a warrant has little bearing on a charge of destroying evidence.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 5 months ago | (#46853087)

If federal kill-switch legislation is passed, those mobile devices may require a function (by law) allowing them to be remotely wiped.

Re:Makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853177)

If federal kill-switch legislation is passed, those mobile devices may require a function (by law) allowing them to be remotely wiped.

Put it in Faraday cage, duh!

Re:Makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853279)

Ok there are two aspects to a Faraday cage.. you put it in.. then you can get evidence from the phone.. However if I wipe the account it syncs with.. the moment it is not in the cage it syncs.. and the data is deleted.. If I send a wipe command for the device the moment it is not in a cage it wipes, most smartphones that are based on Windows, Android 2.x and later, iOS, Blackberry, and Blackberry 10 all have this capability already built in.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 5 months ago | (#46853473)

Blackberries have a nice security feature that I wish iOS and Android had:

If the device does not get a cellular signal (when it checks if it was told to erase itself), after x amount of time, it will erase itself automatically.

No other device, or app has this functionality. It sounds like paranoia, but it would come into handy, especially if there is sensitive data on the device.

I wouldn't even need to bother with a Faraday cage. I'd just pull the SIM card and call the deed done. Unless the device can get onto the Internet via an open Wi-Fi connection, pulling the SIM card will ensure it doesn't receive the kill signal as of now.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 5 months ago | (#46853597)

So? Put your data-extraction center in its own Faraday cage. Big deal, so there's a bit more chicken mesh in the walls. Or just disconnect the antenna. If you're dealing with actual tech-savvy criminals they're presumably using encryption, so you'll want to pull the storage anyway and access it from a more capable machine without any data-eating trojans on it.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 5 months ago | (#46853271)

If Federal kill-switch legislation is passed, you can bet it will be amended such that you will need local, state, and federal approval before you can wipe your own phone.

Re:Makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853133)

A warrant has nothing to do with this capability. If the perp sees you coming and wipes the phone, the presence of a warrant has no effect on this.

It most certainly does. The moment an officer realizes there's evidence on a phone is often the exact same moment the perp realizes they need to get rid of said evidence. If the officer has to go get a warrant, that gives the suspect plenty of time to destroy the evidence. I'm not saying this is enough to justify unwarranted searches or seizures, but they do have a point.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

mod prime (3597787) | about 5 months ago | (#46853197)

Is this some kind of legal entanglement? That is, criminals are immediately alerted on some kind of quantum level that the police have ascertained they are holding relevant evidence.

Re:Makes no sense (2)

Jumperalex (185007) | about 5 months ago | (#46853205)

And if the officer is not in possession of the phone, then having or not a warrant has exactly zero impact on the suspect's ability to wipe the phone. The only thing that prevents that is physical possession of the phone by the officer. Not having a warrant does not prevent the officer from taking the phone into evidence, it just stops them from searching it until a warrant is granted. So no, it most certainly does not.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

TheGavster (774657) | about 5 months ago | (#46853525)

The moment an officer realizes there's evidence in a home is often the exact same moment the perp realizes they need to get rid of said evidence. If the officer has to go get a warrant, that gives the suspect plenty of time to destroy the evidence.

Yeah, phone is really the only noun that fits in that hypothesis, so their point for a special case is totally justified

Re:Makes no sense (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 5 months ago | (#46853547)

No they do not have a point, because this line of reasoning is diametrically opposed to the 4th amendment. Until you have a warrant, you dont have squat.

Re:Makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853247)

Sure.. you nab a perp, you put his phone in an evidence bag.. he makes his one phone call.. the person he calls knows to call a lawyer and to login to the perp's cloud account and remote wipe the device so they will not be implicated. Unless you get a warrant for said cloud account.. no evidence is left behind on the device that the police have the capability to recover. Also not all evidence is backed up or synced into the cloud account, some is only specific to the device.. zoo.. there you have it.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

S.O.B. (136083) | about 5 months ago | (#46853365)

Then pull the SIM card before you put it in the evidence bag. No SIM card means no remote wipe. And install a WiFi blocker in the police evidence room to prevent it callling home via WiFi.

Re:Makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853679)

This is why anything short of a dead man's switch for sensitive materials is absurd. Before we leave our homes, if we expect to potentially be in trouble (lost hiker, woman clubbing), we ask people to check in on us. The system cannot rely on the thing being targeted to be capable of participating in its defense.

Re:Makes no sense (2)

zugmeister (1050414) | about 5 months ago | (#46853389)

Our (US) criminal system was carefully set up to respect the rights of the citizenry, even if this meant some of the "bad guys" slipped through the cracks.
What we're talking about here is a tradeoff between
(1) LEO's rooting through your phone because they had a gun and body armor and took it from you.
vs.
(2) Your information being secure until said LEO can compellingly convince a judge to give them permission to search your effects.

Maybe these hyper tech savvy criminals are a threat to the populace at large, but I'm much more concerned about the erosion of our rights.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 5 months ago | (#46853549)

NO one is buying what you are selling. We hamstring the police for very good reasons. We dont need to invalidate the 4th just so cops can possibly get evidence from a digital device.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 5 months ago | (#46853609)

So toss the phone in a faraday cage (aka metal box) to prevent all wireless communication.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 5 months ago | (#46853803)

You are now going to jail for a very long time. You see. The first thing I did when I confiscated your phone was put it in a Faraday Cage [wikipedia.org] ;-)

mobile phones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853029)

don't you mean cellular phones? Also, I was taught to use periods when typing U.S.

Re:mobile phones? (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | about 5 months ago | (#46853085)

wouldn't that get messy?

Re:mobile phones? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853231)

Depends on where you are. In the US, it used to be common to call it a cell phone (it is still pretty common, but becoming a bit less so). In Europe, it has been most commonly called a mobile. In Singapore it has been called a "hand phone". I guess I mean - what's your point?

When we let central government metastasize... (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 5 months ago | (#46853049)

...we turn loose a process that works like the vascularization of a tumor. As soon as you let power flow to the center, and let it accumulate more power for the sake of power, abominations like this are going to keep happening. The NSA revelations were one step along this path. This story is another. Let's just declare Eric Holder il Duce and be done with it.

Re:When we let central government metastasize... (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 5 months ago | (#46853791)

Nah. That already happened when the previous administration argued the Great Writ was not a right.

Time to realize this trend has nothing to do with the person in power.

Re:When we let central government metastasize... (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 5 months ago | (#46854077)

Time to realize that Democrats and Republicans are two faces of the same beast.

Technology favors criminals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853051)

With the amount of cameras recording everything everywhere at all times, I'm amazed the number of unsolved crimes is as high as it is already. "The perfect crime" is no longer a possibility in this world.

Re:Technology favors criminals? (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#46853103)

It is. You just have to think further ahead.

The perfect crime is not one that never gets solved. It's one that is easy to solve. And with all the technical gadgetry at your disposal, delivering a believable patsy has never been easier.

Re:Technology favors criminals? (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 5 months ago | (#46853359)

The perfect crime is not one that never gets solved. It's one that is easy to solve.

It's one that isn't recognized as a crime.

Re:Technology favors criminals? (0)

Arker (91948) | about 5 months ago | (#46853613)

Not being recognized as a crime works, sure, but it's easier and (from the point of view of a person who does this, at least) more satisfactory to kill two birds with one stone and put someone you dislike in jail for your crime.

Either way works though.

tl;dr (5, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#46853097)

tl;dr

DoJ complains about 4th Amendment - wants it repealed.

Re:tl;dr (1)

Nimey (114278) | about 5 months ago | (#46853217)

The government's barely respected the 4th Amendment for a very long time now.

The end of civil rights (1)

Kohath (38547) | about 5 months ago | (#46853761)

They told me this would happen if I voted for President McCain. And they were right!

I can hazz hopenchange? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853163)

Lordy I love giving more and more power, resources, and tax money to this government.

NOT

Compaining while walking into your home warrentles (1)

MonsterMasher (518641) | about 5 months ago | (#46853167)

By the end of the century they will be complaining because people are putting masking tape over legally required video to police camera's in every room of your house.

These people have no sense. The federal government is amoral wanton killing machine with blood and guts of your fore-fathers lubing it's gears..
And now those gears are getting slow - so throw some more 'lube' in there to keep it moving - "that kid there .. your son! Throw him in right there.."

When you pay your taxes - you put a bullet into a small infants head.
Until that changes .. don't bother supporting these psycho-killers with official badges.

Peace.

Destruction of evidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853203)

If you wipe your phone after you're arrested, isn't that destruction of evidence?

Re:Destruction of evidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853327)

The police have no business searching phones without a warrant in the first place, and if they find something on a phone that could be evidence of a possible crime, they use that to justify the illegal search that allowed them to search through the phone in the first place. Technically wiping it could be destruction of evidence, but in reality its civil disobedience, fighting back against an unjust system.

Title Should Read: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853307)

"DOJ complains that Police are stupid and the law is inconvenient"

Actively undermining the constitution should be treason. At the very least, breaking or ignoring the law is illegal (by definition), and since the constitution is the highest law in the land, the document which grants the US sovereignty, ignoring it or breaking the rules it lays out is absolutely illegal.

Let's ban paper shredders too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853543)

After all people could use those to destroy evidence, just like wiping a phone... oh wait, some of those people might be rich, better leave the paper shredders alone.

Everything is Criminal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853581)

The underlying problem is that the government now has the means to twist anything you do into a criminal act.

http://www.harveysilverglate.com/Books/ThreeFeloniesaDay.aspx

"If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." - Cardinal Richelieu

Criminal will likely be more tech savvy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853639)

It seems to me that criminals will always be one step ahead of local, municipal and state law enforcement... Mainly, I imagine, because law enforcement won't pay as well (except perhaps FBI OR NSA etc.) and will have some trouble attracting top talent.

Re:Criminal will likely be more tech savvy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853695)

If you're bad at catching criminals, you can remain employed in law enforcement. If you're bad at avoiding law enforcement, you don't remain employed as a criminal.

Captcha: skillful

Perjury (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46853667)

From the article: 'The government agrees that times are changing but counterintuitively argues that only law enforcement is being negatively affected by this.

Is not deliberately lying to a court considered perjury? Or are the courts deliberately looking the other way because it is law enforcement doing the lying? They know they are lying and I would be surprised if the courts didn't know they are lying.

If they have enough evidence to arrest someone, they already have their phone in the evidence locker. It should not be an "undue burden" to actually get a warrant and make things legal. This is as much about police being lazy as it is about "tech savy criminals". Police have been arresting and convicting criminals for as long as laws have existed. Modern day police just don't want to actually have to do the police work anymore. They would rather sit in their offices and listen in on your phone call to Uncle Joe in the off chance you mention your SO bought a dime bag yesterday.

personal searches for weapons (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 5 months ago | (#46854029)

The claim for a warrentless search is for imminent danger of a weapon like a knife or gun.
Phones dont fall into this category, so should have court warrents.

When everyone is treated like a criminal... (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 5 months ago | (#46854049)

... It pays to protect yourself like a criminal.

Lock your tech down so that when they come they have to say pretty please to get access.

only law enforcement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46854063)

The government agrees that times are changing but counterintuitively argues that only law enforcement is being negatively affected by this

oh, so the GOVERNMENT is negatively affected by all the cctv cameras, facial recognition, portable full body scanners, biometric passports and id's, electronic medical records, intentionally unreported security software exploits, and the tapping (*and storing*) of the world's communications (i could go on but there is a comment length limit i think) .. but we the PEOPLE are not? the doj go fuck themselves with a rusty pitchfork while stumbling into a wood chipper.

Data mining (1)

phorm (591458) | about 5 months ago | (#46854091)

Technological advancements work both ways. Yes, now we have mobile phones with encryption etc. We also use those phones for more stuff. Harder to get into, more information there if you do...

Now you don't just have the ability to listen to somebody's calls, you can go through their contacts, call history, emails, and any associated accounts/passwords. Get a f***ing warrant!

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