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Encryption Cellphones Communications Handhelds Privacy IT

Encrypt Your Smartphone — Or Else 304

pin0chet writes "Modern smartphones contain ever-increasing volumes of our private personal data — from text messages to images to emails — yet many smartphone security features can easily be circumvented by thieves or police officers equipped with off-the-shelf forensics equipment. Worse, thanks to a recent California Supreme Court ruling, police officers may be able to search your smartphone for hours without a warrant if you're arrested for any reason. Ars Technica has an article exploring the legal issues surrounding cell phone searches and explaining how you can safeguard your smartphone from the prying eyes of law enforcement officers."
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Encrypt Your Smartphone — Or Else

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  • How? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sirsnork ( 530512 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @09:28PM (#34922994)
    I read this yesterday and it basically says "No apps can actually encrypt your entire phone, so buy a Blackberry". They point to some apps that will selectivly encrypt parts of your data but none seem to do all of it. I found myself wondering about the headline if for %99 of the phone sout there it's actually impossible.
  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @09:33PM (#34923058) Journal

    What part of this Supreme Law do they not understand? "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers[data], and effects[cellphones], 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 [phones] to be seized." It was adopted as a response to the abuse of the British Writ of Assistance, which is a type of general search warrant, during the 1760s and 70s and their use forbidden in 1776 when the Colonies declared themselves independent States.

    Cellphones should not be searchable until a police officer stands before a judge and obtains a warrant, and swears an oath that he, the officer, is telling the truth (and punishable with Perjury if not).

  • Re:How? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Lehk228 ( 705449 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @09:38PM (#34923096) Journal
    blackberry still has a huge install base, far huger still if you only consider phones with anything worth stealing on them. blackberries access things like corporate and government secrets, iphones access things like angry birds and youtube.
  • Re:Simple... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dr Max ( 1696200 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @10:00PM (#34923226)
    It doesn’t only affect smartphones they will be able to search all your messages to make sure you weren’t planning something illegal check you don't talk to any known criminals. Also by taking your phone off you it stops you from contacting legal help, which could shut down their operation very quickly.
  • Re:How about... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lazareth ( 1756336 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @10:15PM (#34923286)

    What you're basically saying is that we don't need no stinking privacy, if you've done nothing wrong you got nothing to hide.

    As the laws are now, the citizen has to take steps to prevent unjustified invasion of privacy by the state, which is completely backwards.

  • Re:Or Else What (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @10:34PM (#34923384) Journal
    The police/feds can do more than just read your IMEI number now []. The sneak has been removed from "sneak and peek".
    The peek is now more a search too. Add in "they are free to try to crack the password by guessing it or by entering every possible combination (a brute-force attack)" - how strong is your average MS (patch on the way some time)/Apple(optional ?)/Google(3rd party/soon?) OS NSA allowed crypto effort?
    If its strong, what about a useful plain text like backup database back on your desktop/laptop?
    Bookmarks and that autocomplete cache that never gets wiped?
    Will a country have an encrypted container detection software kit? Could you be held on not providing a pw when requested?
    The smart thing to do is have a very dumb phone and just give up a list of numbers. Back to pen register vs your online life in plain text.
  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @10:40PM (#34923420) Journal

    This has the downside that everyone you text is forced to use the same software

    This has the upside of ensuring that everyone you text is aware of the importance of privacy.

    it's not necessary to do this to preserve your 4th amendment rights

    Apparently it is.

    the US authorities can never intercept US citizens' communications, or any communications within the US, without a warrant

    That's cute.

    Like email encryption, I don't expect text encryption to catch on, but full-disk encryption of data at rest is clearly going to be important.

    They are complimentary approaches. Those who really need it will use both.

  • by Thing 1 ( 178996 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:29AM (#34926412) Journal
    Laws are written vaguely, with the express purpose of "keeping us in line"; if we fear that we're breaking the law constantly then we will behave better, I guess, or more cynically, "Find me six lines from the most honest of men and I will find something in there to have him hanged."

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