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Governor Jerry Brown places his veto on the cell phone snooping bill, still no warrant necessary

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Governor Jerry Brown places his veto on the cell phone snooping bill, still no warrant necessary
Right this moment, Californian police can still search your phone or tablet for sensitive info without obtaining a warrant first. California Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed the SB 914 bill, which was sponsored by ACLU and written by State Senator Mark Leno (D- San Francisco).

The bill was passed specifically to prevent law enforcement from searching through your private cell phone or tablet info, and never having to obtain a judge approval about it. The text of the bill quite clearly states that more and more people are having their mobile devices as the central hub for their communication and storing a lot of personal info as well, so it will only make sense they are treated more sensitively, and no search should be undertaken before a warrant:

Existing case law authorizes arresting officers, without a warrant, to conduct a search incident to a lawful arrest, including to search the contents of a cellular telephone taken from a suspect during an arrest. This bill would prohibit the search of information contained in a portable electronic device, as defined, by a law enforcement officer incident to a lawful custodial arrest except pursuant to a warrant
issued by a duly authorized magistrate using established procedures...

The information contained in a portable electronic device shall not be subject to search by a law enforcement officer incident to a lawful custodial arrest except pursuant to a warrant issued by a duly authorized magistrate using the procedures established by this chapter.


Gov. Jerry Brown, however, didn't sign the bill into law and returned it with the following argument:

To the Members of the California State Senate:

I am returning Senate Bill 914 without my signature.

This measure would overturn a California Supreme Court decision that held that police officers can lawfully search the cell phones of people who they arrest.

The courts are better suited to resolve the complex and case-specific issues relating to constitutional search-and-seizures protections.



The U.S. Supreme Court already agreed last week with the California Supreme Court's decision on the matter.

source: L.A.Times

29 Comments
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posted on 11 Oct 2011, 07:18 4

1. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 2934; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


OBJECTION!!!! What rights do cops have to searching my phone if I was going 75 miles per hour and decided to just pull me over for it? Unless they have a warrant out for my arrest or granted permission they have no right!

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 07:41 5

3. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3788; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


Bingo, that is clearly an invasion of privacy. It's like you getting pulled over for running a red light, then the cop follows you home & searches your home. A mobile phone is not just a phone anymore, they are small computers with GB's of personal data that should need a warrant, so a person of the "law" can access it. This will not last for long, if the U.S. Government actually follows the Constitution & the Bill of Rights, police in fact will need a warrant to look through your phone. I believe this is just a matter of time until it happens.

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 08:04

5. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


yea, but california is lala land where they do things against the constitution all the time, like allowing sanctuary cities to illegal immigrants where they cant or at least have a lot of difficulty making arrests and deporting them, and all sorts of liberal madness. And dont get me started on their insane tax structure!! They wonder why businesses are leaving in droves.

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 08:20 1

7. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3788; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


lol Yeah I guess nothing is perfect huh?

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 08:33 2

9. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 2934; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


I have never been arrested or even had a speeding ticket. I follow the law, respect it and try my best to be a decent and productive member of society.
However again I can't stress it enough how important privacy is, if I'm not breaking the law or doing anything wrong, cops have no right to.

Its like oh a cop pulls a female over and says they will need to look through their phone. Looks through the girls photos and saves their private photos, bikini, bra, nudes.

What right or justification does a cop have to do this? Exactly how is that relevant to her driving over the speed limit? Cops can abuse their power and giving them the chance to further do so just makes things worse.

Cops around here will just pull you over for nothing, to the point where I rather walk to the grocery store if I need to buy a snack to eat.

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 08:59 1

11. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3788; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


I respect the good police officers, the ones that actually want to serve & protect. Those are far & few though. Most of the police officers that are active right now are power hungry people who were maybe picked on as children or something happened in their lives & are now thinking they themselves are higher that the law. Some of these people have serious power trips. I consider these "cops" legal crooks. Some police men & women definitely abuse their power. One time I was made to take off my shoes & step on a puddle. I said to the officer can I please not have to step on the puddle with my socks, he said to me & I quote, "I don't care about your socks!” I asked after he was done why I was pulled over & he said "I fit the description". I was like what? I will never forget that. That was just a cop being a bully & pardon my French a PIG. Ohh & this was a New Jersey State Trooper that pulled me over on I-95N on my way back to NY from visiting my friend in Baltimore MD. This was in Feb. of '99.

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 07:40

2. DC_civilian (unregistered)


Unless the law changes (at least in California) then the police can search your phone if they feel like it. Really simple fix for this folks...... put a passcode on your phone. If your phone is locked then they are out of luck. They'll need a warrant to go any further.

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 07:42

4. PowerofPicture (unregistered)


Jerry Brown is an idiot for many reasons and this is one of them.

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 11:23

17. spepper (unregistered)


Which is why we warned the California voters about, because he has a LONG history of "government stupidity" stretching back to the 70's, which is where he got his much-deserved nickname Goveror Moonbeam, originally.

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 08:08

6. pongkie (Posts: 496; Member since: 20 Aug 2011)


if you put a passcode on it, can the popo make you reveal your passcode?

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 14:22

23. Whateverman (Posts: 3187; Member since: 17 May 2009)


From what I read months ago, there is a special device that they connect to your phone that allows them to bypass your security measures and access not only current data, but also things you may have deleted. I'm not sure how accurate that information is, but if it's true... Don't even J-walk in Cali if you're a person of color!

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 18:44

27. indirectguy (unregistered)


It is made by cellbright the same people we use to move info from phone to phone...

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 08:53 1

10. bill15872 (unregistered)


Cops can not search your phone/tablet when they feel like it.... They can only search INCIDENT TO A LAWFUL ARREST. That means that you have to get arrested first....not drive 75 (that's an infraction unless it's 20 over the speed limit). I don't think there is one person who posted that understands this bill yet you jump on here to post your knee jerk reactions to an article heading.

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 09:31

13. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5565; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Right on @bill. Also, if the handset data were encrypted, you can't be compelled to provide the password.... 5th amendment ban against self incrimination and what-not. Unless they move you to Gitmo..... Then Dickie-boy Cheney is going to waterboard you.

This might be a boost for RIM (encrypt the handset data).... I wonder how they would spin it? Our handsets secure you from the prying eyes of LEOs?

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 09:00

12. THE_GAME5 (Posts: 35; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


for whom it would be difficult to protect the image of their secure systems....... blackberry or apple...../.

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 11:09

14. lolwut (unregistered)


Like someone said just put a password on your phone and they will need a warrant. Not a problem for me since i flash a new ROM everyday, sometimes more than once lol

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 11:10

15. DC_civilian (unregistered)


No, the police cannot make you reveal your passcode to your phone. They could *try* to convince you to give it to them (don't). The poor folks in the UK can be forced to give up their passcodes/words but not here in the states (yet).

If you are actually arrested for whatever crime and the police really wanted your cell phone and obtained a warrant you are pretty much screwed. There is some kicka$$ forensic software that can crack iphone encryption easily (Elcomsoft makes the best utility).

Blackberries are probably the toughest to crack as long as you don't use an encrypted SD card in them.

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 13:05

19. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5565; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Interesting how Elcomsoft appears to only work on BB and iOS devices. Any idea why no 'solution' for Android? It would seem to be a natural for them to expand their offering to Android.

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 11:19

16. spepper (unregistered)


Lex Luthor at work again.....

I predict huge epidemics of backed up toilets all over California, as people dump cellphones in toilets everywhere, when police officers approach them.

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 12:35

18. DC_civilian (unregistered)


somebody out there needs to develop a secure erase or "nuke my phone" app to use in emergency situations :)

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 13:06

20. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5565; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


What about the function to wipe my phone after n unsuccessful attempts to enter the password?

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 21:17

29. Bacon Hat Guy (unregistered)


Don't forget they have a device that can bypass your passcode and just suck up info from your phone. Was an article on the device recently on the internet. Hopefully you can trigger the wipe function with incorrect passwords fast enough and still not be charged with tampering with evidence lol.

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 13:06

21. OutragedCitizen (unregistered)


Fine. If the government can search our phones without a warrant, I WANT TO SEE THE CONTENTS OF THE GOVERNOR'S PHONE POSTED FOR ALL TO SEE ... and I'm talking EVERYTHING:

- contacts
- texts
- apps installed
- everyone he's called for as long as his history keeps it (how about that prostitute, Governor?)

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 14:19

22. Alistair (Posts: 19; Member since: 16 May 2011)


If they think they have the right to invade my private property with out consent then in all honesty i should have the right to view anyone from the highest office down if I may see they are going to be a threat to my safety and well being, yet we all know how well that would go over in this day and age. Unless my attorney, a phone rep from my phone company and their attorney is present along with a signed warrant from a high court I am not interested in this BS propaganda that they are trying to sell us on keeping society safe. Who's to say that they can't just walk up anytime they want and rape my right to privacy, and who's going to be there to keep the citizens of the "free" country safe from this. The only weapons of mass destruction i see in this day and age is the power without constraint that we seem to have given to the law enforcement of this country to be able to gain access to my life!

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 15:01

24. snowgator (Posts: 3196; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


IF this is as a few posters have said that they can only search your devices after an arrest, than I almost understand it. But this is a law that needs spelled out. I cannot believe I am about to agree with the ACLU, but if you "look" wrong, an officer just can't be allowed to help himself.

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 16:35

25. denney (unregistered)


I think the moral of the story here is don't get arrested. I have absolutely no problem with a cop going through my phone after he finds 20 kilos of coke in the back of my van, with that information they could probably immediately locate the contact information for my suppliers and customers, hell, if I have lattitude they could find my child labor warehouse and drop zones. The police being capable of searching phones is appropriate, so long as it is being executed in a descreet manner. As far as the privacy argument is concerned, why would you care if you have nothing to hide?

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 18:38

26. Whateverman (Posts: 3187; Member since: 17 May 2009)


The thing is, no one knows what data is being accessed, who can access it, where it goes or how long it's stored for. Imagine pics of your wife and kids falling into the wrong hands. Or your credit card number, email PWs, PIN numbers, addresses, company emails or anything you consider to be sensitive information. And the big question is under what circumstances are they allowed to go through your phone? If the perp is a drug dealer, kidnapper, terrorist...search away! But there has to be a line in the sand somewhere.

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 21:14

28. Bacon Hat Guy (unregistered)


Don't forget law enforcement was one of his biggest supporter and donor. Gee, I wonder how he can make such a law enforcement friendly move.

-pissed off Californian

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 23:19

30. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6177; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


They have NO RIGHTS to search or cell phone. it's our privacy not to let any officer search our cell phones. I think this bill is dumb. Just glad I don't live in california

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