Tuesday, June 11, 2013

License, registration, and cell phone

This just in from NJ.com: "License, registration and cell phone, please.

Police officers across New Jersey could be saying that to motorists at the scenes of car crashes if new legislation introduced in the state Senate becomes law.

The measure would allow cops — without a warrant — to thumb through a cell phone to determine if a driver was talking or texting when an accident occurred. It requires officers to have "reasonable grounds" to believe the law was broken.

Supporters say it could be an important tool for cops investigating crashes in a state where distracted driving causes lots of accidents and driving while using hand-held cell phones is illegal.

Opponents say it could touch off a contentious legal debate over whether giving officers such access violates a motorist’s right to privacy or protections against unreasonable search and seizure."

The question that it brings to mind is this, if the person has a locked phone, and refuses to unlock the phone, what will be LE's response? Even if the phone is later seized and given to a mobile forensics crew, not all the available tools can crack locked phones. While civil liberties folks will likely focus on the 4th Amendment issues - it's the 5th Amendment that will bring the most fireworks when people refuse to help and divulge their pass codes.

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