Cell phone search without warrant stirs controversial debate

Cell phone search without warrant stirs controversial debate

Posted: Updated:
Courtesy Cellebrite Courtesy Cellebrite

When you're pulled over what are your rights? The laws have been the same for years, but one thing has changed: technology.

Specialized officers are pulling over people for minor infractions and finding millions in drugs and weapons. And sometimes they do it by searching cell phones without warrant or consent.

Police say one of those traffic stops uncovered nearly 10 pounds of Meth in March 2012.

According to court documents an Oklahoma City officer from a special trafficking "interdiction" unit pulled over Noe Vergara Wuences because his paper license tag was not secured. The officer is trained to find people committing interstate trafficking crimes during routine traffic stops by looking for certain suspicious behaviors.

"They will try to talk to the driver to try to ascertain where they're going, where they're coming from, see how nervous they are there are certain cues they're looking for," explained Capt. Dexter Nelson with the Oklahoma City Police Dept. 

Police say in this case a K-9 arrived minutes later and helped find drugs and two cell phones in the car.

Then, officers used one of several Cellebrite forensic devices they have within the force to unlock and download more evidence and information from the phones without a warrant.

Last week a judge ruled the evidence is allowed because of an "automobile exception rule.

"The car gives us a little bit of leeway because you're in a much more mobile form of transportation," Nelson said. The expectation of privacy is less than if a suspect was inside his or her home.

In past decades officers only had access to physical objects suspects carried. But now the ACLU says with so much on our cell phones these days the rule is outdated.

"That officer can search out virtually everything about me simply because I've been pulled over and potentially charged with a crime," said ACLU Legal Director Brady Henderson.

And while police say it helps get bad guys off the street, activists say there should be a better balance between safety and personal rights.

"There's a big, big disconnect there. Between that police practice and people living with a reasonable expectation of privacy," said Henderson.

At least two court cases expected to head to the Supreme Court on this issue. Attorneys with the ACLU say they hope they rule on them next session to update the interpretation of the law that's been the same long before we started carrying our entire lives in our pocket.



  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Oklahoma teens avoid law, risk serious consequences with tattoos

    Oklahoma teens avoid law, risk serious consequences with tattoos

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:00 AM EDT2014-04-24 09:00:33 GMT
    Back in 2006, Oklahoma became the last state to legalize tattoo parlors, but teens are still not allowed to get inked. That's not stopping many young people, sometimes finding themselves in dangerous situations simply because they can't wait a few months or years to get tattooed legally.
    Back in 2006, Oklahoma became the last state to legalize tattoo parlors, but teens are still not allowed to get inked. That's not stopping many young people, sometimes finding themselves in dangerous situations simply because they can't wait a few months or years to get tattooed legally.
  • Tools track kids' phone use

    Tools track kids' phone use

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 10:40 PM EDT2014-04-24 02:40:03 GMT
    Apps keep tabs on teensApps keep tabs on teens
    With so many teens and kids armed with smartphones, parents can often feel out of the loop and maybe even nervous about how their kids are using those devices. There are now more ways than ever before for parents to keep tabs. We asked the folks at Verizon to break down the best options. Lawrence Ross said, "With Family Base you can see who your children are talking to, when they're talking to them." At $5 a month, Family Base gives you alerts and email updates on exactly how your kids are ...
    With so many teens and kids armed with smartphones, parents can often feel out of the loop and maybe even nervous about how their kids are using those devices. There are now more ways than ever before for parents to keep tabs. We asked the folks at Verizon to break down the best options. Lawrence Ross said, "With Family Base you can see who your children are talking to, when they're talking to them." At $5 a month, Family Base gives you alerts and email updates on exactly how your kids are ...
  • Burglary suspect cuts self, leaves blood during Yukon break-in

    Burglary suspect cuts self, leaves blood during Yukon break-in

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 8:36 PM EDT2014-04-24 00:36:59 GMT
    A Yukon man hopes his home surveillance equipment helps with the arrest of a man he says broke into his home and cut himself in the process.
    A Yukon man hopes his home surveillance equipment helps with the arrest of a man he says broke into his home and cut himself in the process.
  • More HeadlinesMore>>

  • Texas teacher accused of taking away second grader's bible during reading time

    Texas teacher accused of taking away second grader's bible during reading time

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:10 AM EDT2014-04-24 09:10:57 GMT
    A Houston area school teacher is being accused of telling an elementary school student she can't read the Bible in school and is not even allowed to bring the Bible to school.
    A Houston area school teacher is being accused of telling an elementary school student she can't read the Bible in school and is not even allowed to bring the Bible to school.
  • Tools track kids' phone use

    Tools track kids' phone use

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 10:40 PM EDT2014-04-24 02:40:03 GMT
    Apps keep tabs on teensApps keep tabs on teens
    With so many teens and kids armed with smartphones, parents can often feel out of the loop and maybe even nervous about how their kids are using those devices. There are now more ways than ever before for parents to keep tabs. We asked the folks at Verizon to break down the best options. Lawrence Ross said, "With Family Base you can see who your children are talking to, when they're talking to them." At $5 a month, Family Base gives you alerts and email updates on exactly how your kids are ...
    With so many teens and kids armed with smartphones, parents can often feel out of the loop and maybe even nervous about how their kids are using those devices. There are now more ways than ever before for parents to keep tabs. We asked the folks at Verizon to break down the best options. Lawrence Ross said, "With Family Base you can see who your children are talking to, when they're talking to them." At $5 a month, Family Base gives you alerts and email updates on exactly how your kids are ...
  • Georgia governor signs gun law allowing guns in churches, schools

    Georgia governor signs gun law allowing guns in churches, schools

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 1:17 PM EDT2014-04-23 17:17:30 GMT
    Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a wide-ranging gun bill into law Wednesday that has critics howling and proponents applauding.
    Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a wide-ranging gun bill into law Wednesday that has critics howling and proponents applauding.
  • FOX25 Slideshows

Most Popular

Stories
Videos
Compiling list...
  • FOX 25 FeaturesMore>>

  • Tell Me Something Good

    Tell Me Something Good

    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
  • Waste Watch

    Waste Watch

    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by 

WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KOKH. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.