We’ve been troubled by a series of court rulings that have given police broad powers to search mobile phones without a warrant. California lawmakers tried to pass some legislation preventing such searches, but Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the bill to keep law enforcement happy.
Of course, most people have no idea what the police can pull off of your phone when it’s searched, but the ACLU has, thankfully, revealed some documents that ICE filed in a court case. It turns out they can get quite a lot. Using a single “data extraction session” they were able to pull:
- call activity
- phone book directory information
- stored voicemails and text messages
- photos and videos
- eight different passwords
- 659 geolocation points, including 227 cell towers and 403 WiFi networks with which the cell phone had previously connected.
As the ACLU notes, this is a hell of a lot more information than law enforcement could ever reasonably achieve in the past — especially without a warrant.