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Judge: Cops Can Impersonate Owner Of Seized Cell Phones 213

Posted by Soulskill
from the and-not-just-checking-the-weather-16-times-a-day dept.
Aryden writes with news of a recent court decision in which a judge ruled it was acceptable for police to impersonate the owner of a cell phone they had seized, in order to extract information from the owner's friends. The ruling stems from an incident in 2009 when police officers seized the iPhone of a suspected drug dealer, then used text messages to set up a meeting with another person seeking drugs. "'There is no long history and tradition of strict legislative protection of a text message sent to, displayed, and received from its intended destination, another person's iPhone,' Penoyar wrote in his decision. He pointed to a 1990 case in which the police seized a suspected drug dealer's pager as an example. The officers observed which phone numbers appeared on the pager, called those numbers back, and arranged fake drug purchases with the people on the other end of the line. A federal appeals court held that the pager owner's Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure were not violated because the pager is 'nothing more than a contemporary receptacle for telephone numbers,' akin to an address book. The court also held that someone who sends his phone number to a pager has no reasonable expectation of privacy because he can't be sure that the pager will be in the hands of its owner. Judge Penoyar said that the same reasoning applies to text messages sent to an iPhone. While text messages may be legally protected in transit, he argued that they lose privacy protections once they have been delivered to a target device in the hands of the police."
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Judge: Cops Can Impersonate Owner Of Seized Cell Phones

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  • Not shocking. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by masternerdguy (2468142) on Friday July 20, 2012 @04:30PM (#40717625)
    I always assumed they would do this.
    • I'd love to hear them impersonating my accent... if it's a voice call. I'd like to know if they can use the same slang if they try to text people (which... I don't do much).
    • by Fjandr (66656)

      Really. As much of a privacy advocate as I am, I see this as completely logical and expected. Assuming the police have legally seized the device, they have complete legal control of its operation so long as they are not damaging or otherwise tampering with any evidentiary integrity the device or its data may have.

      Now, once we get down to surgically-implanted wireless cochlear implants there are going to be some issues related to expectations of privacy. Then again, once we get there such a concept may not e

      • Re:Not shocking. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rtb61 (674572) on Saturday July 21, 2012 @01:21AM (#40721431) Homepage

        Wrong this is a criminal act. A seized phone of a suspect, let me remind you again, 'SUSPECT', is the property of that 'SUSPECT', capitalising to be shore you don't miss it and the police have no right to make it appear to people that the suspect is carrying out acts. This places of the burden of those acts upon the suspect and of course all associates of the suspect and can have extremely dangerous results for the suspect and their associates.

        For example say a drug deal was trigger using the 'suspect's identity. The drug deal goes down people are arrested and associates of the people arrested go the suspect house and murder the suspects family. Apparently those people are nothing, simply meh, they deserve to die for being related to a suspect.

        The police have not right to associate a person with an act they did not commit. Just as nobody has the right to do that. It is a sickly cowardly act and presume a person guilty until proven innocent and all associates of that person also guilty by association. Face it the Judge was a 'Shithead' first class and utterly failed to differentiate between a suspect and a person found guilty in a court of law as well as of course the risk by association placed upon others in the community.

  • by what2123 (1116571) on Friday July 20, 2012 @04:31PM (#40717629)
    I don't know much about entrapment but from what I *think* I know about it, I would say this sound entirely like that. Even if the "friend" came asking for the drugs, isn't this still a type of entrapment? Please kick me if I'm completely off on this.
    • Re:Hit me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by masternerdguy (2468142) on Friday July 20, 2012 @04:32PM (#40717661)
      Entrapment is the FBI forcing you to buy drugs. It is not entrapment if the FBI catches you attempting to buy drugs. This is why sting operations work. In a sting someone pretends to be offering %illegalstuff% and they wait for customers, who are then arrested. The logic is that the person arrested was attempting to commit a crime and would have done so even without FBI intervention.
      • by what2123 (1116571)
        That makes sense, thank you.
      • Re:Hit me (Score:4, Interesting)

        by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Friday July 20, 2012 @04:43PM (#40717833)

        Entrapment is the FBI forcing you to buy drugs.

        No, that's the old definition. I believe that's called SOP now.
        http://www.talkleft.com/story/2009/5/15/121647/790 [talkleft.com]

        • Re:Hit me (Score:4, Insightful)

          by jklovanc (1603149) on Friday July 20, 2012 @06:45PM (#40719243)

          There is a big difference between the actions of one “rogue agent” and SOP for the DEA. Panting an entire organization with the actions of a few in invalid in any circumstances.

        • Re:Hit me (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 20, 2012 @08:21PM (#40720055)

          Sting: FBI tells you where they'll have drugs, you show up and offer money for drugs, you get arrested.

          Entrapment: FBI shows up at your house, hands you an unlabeled opaque bag, and as soon as you have it in your hand, arrests you for drug possession.

          • Re:Hit me (Score:5, Informative)

            by Fjandr (66656) on Friday July 20, 2012 @09:53PM (#40720557) Homepage Journal

            This is probably the best short description I've seen, though there are certainly more complex shades-of-grey circumstances which are not as easy to break down.

            When it can be shown that the person in question would have likely never been involved in a crime were it not for pressure induced by law enforcement it is typically considered entrapment.

            Example:
            Small-time pot dealer makes a deal to purchase a couple pounds of pot from an undercover agent. Agent says "By the way, I'd also like to buy a pound of coke. I'll waive the fee for the pot if you hook me up." Many orders of magnitude difference in the nature of the transaction, but the agent continues to put pressure on the dealer. Dealer eventually says, "Alright, I know a guy who can probably hook you up with it, but I don't deal with that myself, nor will I act as an intermediary except to introduce you." Dealer sets up a meeting, introduces the two, coke dealer and agent set up a buy. Agent pressures the pot dealer to be present at the coke exchange itself, rather than completing the meet and sale then giving the pot dealer their "commission" at a later point. Agent trades pot to dealer and cash to the coke dealer, and everyone is arrested for trafficking in a very large amount of cocaine and possession of marijuana. Even though it was a trade and to be completed each side must have possession of either the cocaine or the marijuana, participants are charged with possession of both packages.

            The dealer in question, despite being involved in illegal activity, was entrapped into a criminal charge to which they were merely an accessory. The agent parleyed a relatively minor charge into a major one by virtue of "tying" the deals together temporally, even when they would otherwise have been separate deals involving different people, in order to hit everyone with any involvement at all with the most serious charge on the table.

            That's a rough example of how a complex case of entrapment works, since a complete transcript of the event would be a minor novella. In the case above, the agent involved actually admitted that it was quite clearly a case of entrapment where the dealer absolutely would not have been involved in a deal of that type or magnitude absent significant pressure from law enforcement. However, the jurisdiction in question had no laws against entrapment at the time this occurred, making that fact irrelevant for the purposes of defending against the charges, and all ended up pleading guilty or taking a plea deal.

            With the way things change, it would not surprise me if the above was no longer considered entrapment though; I haven't had reason or desire to keep up with the times in that regard.

            • Re:Hit me (Score:5, Informative)

              by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday July 21, 2012 @12:48AM (#40721319)
              That's a massively over-complex example. Here's a simple example of entrapment:

              Undercover officer sees a guy on the streetcorner smoking a joint. Cop walks up to guy and says, "Hey, man, got any to sell?" Guy says "No. I don't sell the stuff. Personal use only." Cop says, "Come on, man, I just want a couple of joints to take to a party I'm going to. No big thing. I just don't know anybody around here." Guy says, "No, man. I told you. Go away." Cop says "Come ON, dude. Just two joints. I really need some. I'll give you $20."

              Guy sighs and says, "Okay, man. I'm not into this but just this once. Here."

              Cop arrests guy for dealing. (Depending on the state, if you sell ANY, it's a misdemeanor. Felony depends on amount.)

              That's entrapment. The policeman talked him into doing something he would not normally do, in order to make the bust.
              • by Fjandr (66656)

                Actually, the complexity was my point.

                I was commending the poster on the great simplification but pointing out that there are overly-complex cases which don't always fit so easily. As such, I decided to give an example of one such. :)

      • Re:Hit me (Score:5, Interesting)

        by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Friday July 20, 2012 @04:49PM (#40717921)

        The way I look at it, it's always been done: except in the past, they turned the actual guy, and he went from being a drug dealer to impersonating a drug dealer. Is it really that different that the person at the other end of the cell phone is now an actual cop impersonating a drug dealer? At the core, the drug buyer has been and is now dealing with a fraud - somebody who says they're a drug dealer, but isn't.

        I really don't see how that is some new concept.

        • by crakbone (860662)
          It's a new concept with the inclusion of passwords. By password locking a cellphone somebody knowing your locking it is not under the believe your phone could be stolen like a pager which would not be secured. There are some fundamental differences in the technology that makes it still debatable that this is legal.
          • by sabri (584428) *

            It's a new concept with the inclusion of passwords. By password locking a cellphone somebody knowing your locking it is not under the believe your phone could be stolen like a pager which would not be secured. There are some fundamental differences in the technology that makes it still debatable that this is legal.

            I beg to differ. Even if that cellphone is locked, someone engaging in criminal activity can expect to be arrested at any time. Once arrested, cops will try to extract information from a phone. If that fails (i.e., if that phone is secured properly), they can always take out the sim card and put it in a police-owned device.

            The sender of the text message can not expect that the text message will be delivered on the recipients phone, only on the recipients subscription.

            In your own words, somebody knowing

            • Excuse me, but unless they have radically changed the SIM specification since the last time I looked at it (just minutes), the password goes with the card. That isn't to say it can't be broken into, just that it is on the SIM.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        In criminal law, entrapment is conduct by a law enforcement agent inducing (not forcing) a person to commit an offense that the person would otherwise have been unlikely to commit. So maybe not entrapment in this case, as the suspects might have bought the drugs anyway.
        However, false flag operations clearly fit the description of entrapment.
        http://chasvoice.blogspot.com/2012/05/fbi-again-foils-their-own-false-flag.html
        http://aluminumchristmastree.blogspot.com/2012/04/breaking-news-fbi-false-flag-bombing.ht

        • by KhabaLox (1906148)

          I wonder what the conviction rate is for To Catch a Predator.

          • by sabri (584428) *
            Quite high. For example, one sting in Florida produced:

            20 of the 24 men were convicted of using the internet to solicit a child for sex and some were also convicted of sending harmful material to a child, as some of them emailed pornographic pictures to the decoys. Because these are sex crimes, the 20 convicted men had to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives. Most of them were also put on sex offender probation.

            Petaluma, Ca:

            This segment resulted in 26 convictions.

            Remember, in To Catch A Predator, the police are not operating the sting. The sting itself is operated by Perverted Justice, who then hand over the evidence to law enforcement. After Chris "why don't you have a seat right over there" Hansen, is done with them.

            • by KhabaLox (1906148)

              Shouldn't be hard to argue that Hansen is acting as an agent of the government, given that the LEOs are sitting in the production truck.

              Ummm... at least that's what I've heard.

              • by Fjandr (66656)

                No, because he's not being induced by them to engage in the activity. They are only brought to the meet because by the time it is set up he has enough evidence to provide a reasonable argument that a crime is about to be committed.

              • by hairyfeet (841228)
                I'm personally waiting for Hansen to get his throat slit wide open right there on camera. Its only a matter of time before he runs into a Gacy or a Bundy that was coming there to pick up his latest trophy and when they see Mr Smartass will be more than happy to spill his guts all over the floor, cops be damned.
        • by Kjella (173770)

          It might be, but what's so clear about it? What's the equivalent of a sting operation for terrorism? Well it's to set up a fake terrorist plot and see who signs up. There's never been a requirement that the police prove or even make likely that yes, there would have been a drug dealer or a prostitute there even if the police didn't run a sting. They only need to prove that if that situation occurred, you'd be willing to break the law. So if the plot is fake and there probably wouldn't have been a real one d

      • But there is a grey area between forcing you, and phoning you, asking you if you want any, and agreeing to sell you some.

      • by Shavano (2541114)
        But when the offer is directly made by the police officer or a person acting on their herald it becomes entrapment.
    • Re:Hit me (Score:5, Informative)

      by demonlapin (527802) on Friday July 20, 2012 @04:34PM (#40717689) Homepage Journal
      For it to be entrapment, the police have to initiate the wrongdoing - e.g., if an undercover cop asks you out of the blue if you'd like to buy drugs, that's entrapment. If you call a known drug dealer and tell the guy on the other end (who happens to be a cop) of the phone you want some pot, that's not entrapment.
      • Re:Hit me (Score:4, Interesting)

        by idontgno (624372) on Friday July 20, 2012 @04:40PM (#40717785) Journal

        Using the exact setup from the case in question, if the cops had gone through the seized smartphone's call log and called back phone numbers offering drugs, that'd be on the "entrapment" side of it. I guess.

        I suspect you never really know if it's officially entrapment until an judge says it is in the process of throwing out the case.

        • Re:Hit me (Score:4, Informative)

          by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3@justconnected . n et> on Friday July 20, 2012 @04:58PM (#40718041)

          Pretty much, yeah. Entrapment is a pretty specific thing; if you watch those shows like Cops, they occasionally do drug stings (take down the guy, then use his house). The conversation is very careful -

          cop:"what's up?"
          suspect:"you got anything"
          c:"what you looking for?"
          s:"coke/smack/pot/dope/weed/etc"
          c:"oh yeah sure"

          and then the transaction takes place. The suspect has to be the one who broaches the subject of illegality, the cops can't ask. The idea is they can't entice somebody to commit a crime that otherwise wouldn't have taken place. They can't walk up to a dude and suggest he steal a car, but they can leave a "bait car" unlocked and running. An undercover pretending to be a prostitute can't ask a john if he wants a good time, but she can go along with it when he asks. Basically they can facilitate the situation that would attract somebody already looking to commit a crime, but they can't put the idea into someone's head.

      • by zzsmirkzz (974536)

        For it to be entrapment, the police have to initiate the wrongdoing - e.g., if an undercover cop asks you out of the blue if you'd like to buy drugs, that's entrapment.

        I think that's close but then there are these types of stings which are (arguably) legal. An undercover cop asks you out of the blue if you want "a good time" or to pay for sex. It's out-of-the-blue because you were just driving by.

        • by Applekid (993327)

          For it to be entrapment, the police have to initiate the wrongdoing - e.g., if an undercover cop asks you out of the blue if you'd like to buy drugs, that's entrapment.

          I think that's close but then there are these types of stings which are (arguably) legal. An undercover cop asks you out of the blue if you want "a good time" or to pay for sex. It's out-of-the-blue because you were just driving by.

          Johns that pick up streetwalkers don't just drive by. They stop and allow the prostitute to approach. The stopping action represents their initiation of the crime.

        • by Hatta (162192)

          Just because the police do it and get away with it doesn't mean it's legal. e.g. DUI checkpoints, domestic "border checkpoints" etc.

    • Re:Hit me (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jeng (926980) on Friday July 20, 2012 @04:36PM (#40717715)

      It is not entrapment.

      I can't find the tutorial on entrapment that is set up as comics, so wikipedia will have to do.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entrapment [wikipedia.org]

      In criminal law, entrapment is conduct by a law enforcement agent inducing a person to commit an offense that the person would otherwise have been unlikely to commit.[1] In many jurisdictions, entrapment is a possible defense against criminal liability. However, there is no entrapment where a person is ready and willing to break the law and the government agents merely provide what appears to be a favorable opportunity for the person to commit the crime. For example, it is not entrapment for a government agent to pretend to be someone else and to offer, either directly or through an informant or other decoy, to engage in an unlawful transaction with the person (see sting operation). So, a person would not be a victim of entrapment if the person was ready, willing and able to commit the crime charged in the indictment whenever opportunity was afforded, and that government officers or their agents did no more than offer an opportunity.

      • Re:Hit me (Score:5, Informative)

        by einstein4pres (226130) on Friday July 20, 2012 @05:00PM (#40718053)

        Are you talking about this comic strip?

        http://thecriminallawyer.tumblr.com/post/19810672629/12-i-was-entrapped [tumblr.com]

        • by Jeng (926980)

          Yes that is the one, thank you.

        • "Regardless, without deception, the police couldn't do their job very well"

          If ever one wonders why people do not trust authority figures like the police, here you are, the quote above. Police will lie and lie and lie to you in order to get the result they want. Do not trust police!! The comic is more hilarious for the fact that none of those "crimes" SHOULD BE CRIMES!! You have prostitution and drug dealing. Solve them by legalizing drugs, legalizing prostitution. Two of the most common scenarios where you

          • by digitrev (989335)
            Did you miss the one where the girl wanted to kill the mayor? Because I'm pretty sure that should be illegal.
      • by Teppy (105859)
        Right - if they persuade someone to commit a crime that they otherwise would not it's entrapment. This happened to a friend at Burning Man a few years ago: A new guy was hanging around the friend's camp all day, drinking, smoking weed, just getting to know everyone. After several hours he says "hey, I've got some extra weed, could any of you help me turn it into mushrooms?" My friend, thinking he was doing the new guy a favor agreed. Turns out the "new guy" was an undercover cop and busted my friend for dis
        • by Jeng (926980)

          My guess is:

          If the phone is tapped and the cops can show that this is the routine that one goes though to purchase from said person then they can show that since it is routine it is not entrapment.

          But that is only a guess.

          • by Teppy (105859)
            Yes, but with a wiretap the undercover part wouldn't be needed in the first place. Also, in a state with an "objective" entrapment test (in this case "would a normal law abiding person have sold the drugs when begged") this would be a difficult defense. But in states with a "subjective" entrapment test ("would the defendant himself have done the crime if simply asked rather than begged") it would seem like a pretty tight defense. According to Wikipedia, 37 states use the more stringent subjective test.
            • by Jeng (926980)

              And a wiretap is so so so much easier to get than approval for an undercover sting. The sting tends to happen after they have the information showing that it will be worthwhile to have a sting.

    • by ClintJCL (264898)
      Please look it up before leaving a stupid comment. Entrapment is when they force you to do it. Gathering information is not forcing anybody to do anything. I'm about as anti-cop as they come (I smile when I read a cop is killed), but.... Your comment was weaksauce.
    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      *kick* yea you are off. It would be entrapment if the police texted people and asked them "hey wanna buy some weed, I have weed for cheap?"
    • by jklovanc (1603149)

      Entrapment is offering to sell drugs and then arresting people who buy them. That is different than waiting for a request to buy drugs and arresting people when the transaction completes.
      Here are two examples;

      Undercover officer; Want to buy (insert illegal drug here)?
      Person; Sure
      Person and officer exchange "drugs" for money.
      Officer arrests person. That is entrapment as the officer made the first offer of an illegal action.

      Undercover officer; Looking for something)?
      Person; Yeah, got any (insert illegal drug

  • Aren't they also asking you to surrender your password and access codes for phones, laptops, etc., whenever you board a plane, and have now extended that to searches of a vehicle, and in fact, they can now force you to reveal your password without charging you with any crime. So then they compel you to surrender your identity and equipment... and then use your identity and equipment to pretend to be you, in order to do the same to others.

    Agent Smith, you have competition.

    • by kwerle (39371)

      Not in the US - be law enforcement, I don't think. Certainly it seems to me like that would violate the 5th.

      For air travel, who knows. But I certainly have never revealed passwords (nor would I, I should think).

    • Aren't they also asking you to surrender your password and access codes for phones, laptops, etc., whenever you board a plane, and have now extended that to searches of a vehicle, and in fact, they can now force you to reveal your password without charging you with any crime. So then they compel you to surrender your identity and equipment... and then use your identity and equipment to pretend to be you, in order to do the same to others.

      Agent Smith, you have competition.

      ProTip: Police forces can only do what the citizenry allows them to do.

      Of course, to change that trend would require a complete reversal of the status quo mentality of only being willing to defend the rights of those one agrees with.

  • Snail mail analogy? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DeadCatX2 (950953) on Friday July 20, 2012 @04:45PM (#40717867) Journal

    Couldn't the same also be said about snail mail - that you have no reasonable expectation that the envelope will be opened by the recipient?

    I must say, I find it slightly disturbing that there is no reasonable expectation that the owner of the phone is the one who will be reading my correspondence. What reasonable person does *not* expect someone to be in position of their own property? If it was not reasonable to believe the owner of a phone is the one holding it, why would we use such phones for communication?

    • by mooingyak (720677)

      Couldn't the same also be said about snail mail - that you have no reasonable expectation that the envelope will be opened by the recipient?

      I must say, I find it slightly disturbing that there is no reasonable expectation that the owner of the phone is the one who will be reading my correspondence. What reasonable person does *not* expect someone to be in position of their own property? If it was not reasonable to believe the owner of a phone is the one holding it, why would we use such phones for communication?

      It's not so much the expectation that the intended person is the recipient, but rather that the intended person is the exclusive recipient of your communication.

      • by DeadCatX2 (950953) on Friday July 20, 2012 @05:23PM (#40718361) Journal

        I guess I can see that, once you add "exclusive".

        After all, I reasonably expect people to be in possession of their own property, for instance their car. So if I see my wife's car in a parking lot, I would reasonably expect my wife to be somewhere nearby. However, I wouldn't find it unreasonable if instead I found, say, my mother-in-law nearby, because it's reasonable for her to let her mother drive her car.

        Still, it feels almost like splitting hairs. After all, I would not reasonably expect a stranger to be driving her car; the only reason my mother-in-law wouldn't be unreasonable is because she's immediate family.

        In that sense, I might not expect the intended person to be the exclusive recipient, but I would expect to know all potential recipients (e.g. if I send a message to my buddy, I could reasonably expect his wife to read the message, but I wouldn't reasonably expect his neighbor to be reading it).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "Couldn't the same also be said about snail mail - that you have no reasonable expectation that the envelope will be opened by the recipient?"

      Actually it's a federal crime to read someone elses mail. That's the example that should have been used as mail, pagers, phones, internet, actually are just communications channels protected under the 4th amendment privacy references and later court decisions. In deference to recent court decisions, the general public has every right to expect that priv

    • It's always been the case that someone could have lost their phone/pager, or had it stolen. Sure, in most cases the phone will be in the hands of the owner, but it's certainly not guaranteed.

      With a pager it's pretty obvious, there is no security, your phone number just displays on the screen. So I think they're correct there. Similarly, with many dump phones an incoming text message just pops up on the screen.

      Now in the case of a smartphone with a password then in my opinion you could reasonably argue th

      • by DeadCatX2 (950953) on Friday July 20, 2012 @06:09PM (#40718893) Journal

        Yes, it could have been stolen. However, to say that something is not impossible is not to say that something is reasonable. The crux of the matter is that I have a reasonable expectation that a phone will not be stolen when I send a communication to it. After all, if the phone was stolen, a reasonable person would report it stolen promptly, and the service would be shut off, thereby removing the ability of the thief to read the contents of any message I send to the phone. With the advent of remote wipe abilities, you could also try to make the argument that a reasonable person would have all the info from a stolen phone remotely wiped, therefore denying access to even previously successful communications with the intended recipient.

        However, I am drawn back to the snail mail analogy again. It's always been the case that someone could take the mail directly from your mailbox. However, this expectation is unreasonable because taking someone else's mail is illegal. In the same token, stealing someone's personal property is also illegal.

        So, again, if you don't have a reasonable expectation of privacy because the recipient's phone could be stolen, why would you have a reasonable expectation of privacy when sending snail mail?

      • by s.petry (762400)

        So what happens when your phone gets taken by a Cop, and a friend texts you..

        Friend "WHATS UP!?!".

        Cop "Not much, in bad staights. Have anything I can take?"

        Friend "No, odd that you ask, but I may know someone."

        Cop "Cool, thanks man, an oz of grass should do."

        Friend "Ok due, I think I can hook you up.. just not like you"

        Cop "Thanks, where can we meet?"

        Friend "Starbux, cya at 3"

        Cop "thx"

        3PM at Starbux "I'm officer Jim, you are under arrest for distributing drugs.

        Yeah, seems perfectly and logically reasonab

    • Domestic first class mail requires a warrant. The standard of law is that it has the same protection as if it were in your home. Media mail, etc. not so much.

      At the borders things degrade even further, however my understanding is that sealed first class mail weighing less than 16 oz has some protection.

  • Do police have the ability to sit in my house & use my number 555-0796 to pretend to be me to entrap my friends/colleagues?

    • by Jeng (926980)

      Yes, if they are raiding your home, and someone calls you, they will pick it up and pretend to be you.

  • by mspring (126862) on Friday July 20, 2012 @04:58PM (#40718037)
    As a sender of a message I regard the message to be in transition until it reaches the recipient *I* intended. Therefore it should be treated as the interception of a message in transit when the wrong person reads of an end device which is not hers.
  • In my college days (read: drug experimentation days), we were at my friend's apartment waiting for two more friends to arrive for our "after hours" party (2:01 am, after the bars close). While packing a bowl, we had our back to the door and there was a knock. We knew our friends were coming and we assumed it was them. "COME ON IN" we said. In walked two police officers (called to our location for a noise complaint). They confiscated our drugs/paraphernalia and cited us for something (I forget the detai
    • Re:True story... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lehk228 (705449) on Friday July 20, 2012 @05:14PM (#40718267) Journal
      They didn't forget to take the drugs/pipes. They correctly recognized that if they took the drugs they had to charge someone with possessing them, if they charged someone with posessing them that person would be banned from getting financial aid for school. The cops made the choice to be decent about it and handle the noise complaint without ruining anyone's life. Kudos to those officers.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by thisisfutile (2640809)
        Oh no, we were cited. We had a court appearance for some type of minor paraphernalia possession which is on my record to this day. I don't remember if I had to pay a fine or do community service (maybe both).
      • I have adult marijuana possession on my record. I got federal student aid just fine, and was a felony fugitive at the time too.
  • by aegl (1041528) on Friday July 20, 2012 @05:14PM (#40718259)

    I can see that once the police had the phone, that looking at the address book is equivalent to looking at an old style rolodex. Looking at received texts is like the precedent cited of looking at received messages on an old style pager. But *sending* texts seems like something new. Are there precedents where a police officer who is a skilled voice mimic answers a seized phone, or starts making calls from a seized phone and impersonates the true owner of the phone?

  • by kilodelta (843627) on Friday July 20, 2012 @05:16PM (#40718283) Homepage
    To the fourth amendment - secure in your person, papers and things. A cell phone is definitely a thing. And without warrant and probable cause the police shouldn't be touching the phone. Use a secure lock code on your smartphone! You don't have to disclose it.
  • This is news? Why would anyone expect our so-called "law enforcement" officers to be held to any standard of honesty or integrity nowadays?

    • This is news? Why would anyone expect our so-called "law enforcement" officers to be held to any standard of honesty or integrity nowadays?

      Yeah, this is the completely expected outcome. Police can lie to you. That's part of their job. At no point should you believe that a cop is telling you the truth. Their job is to get information out of you, any way possible.

      Now, if you do the same thing you're guilty of a crime (it's highly assymetrical).

      But, knowing that, of course they're going to call up somebody

  • You would think that with the Miranda decision they would have to at least text you your rights.

  • the pager is 'nothing more than a contemporary receptacle for telephone numbers,' akin to an address book.

    If a phone is like a pager, then by this reasoning, opening your snail mail is fine, because an envelope is 'nothing more than a contemporary receptacle for street addresses, akin to an address book.' Note that the envelope contains the communication itself, which is protected. That in itself should preclude responding to the letter by a police impostor. The cell phone also contains protected communic

  • by bryan1945 (301828) on Friday July 20, 2012 @11:27PM (#40721049) Journal

    You'll end up calling my mom, wife, dad, or sister. And the local restaurants. I'm fairly sure my local Pizza Hut is not a front for a Columbian coke ring.

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