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Breaking The Law? Put A Password On Your BlackBerry

SearchandseizureMike Masnick reported on Techdirt about a scary twist on the fourth amendment. According to a paper written by Adam Gershowitz, a criminal law professor, police have the right to search the contents of your smartphone if you are arrested. I am no lawyer but the idea is that if you are arrested then any “container” found on your body is searchable including your phone logs, sms, email… you get the picture.

From the article:

police can search through any container found on the body of a person who has been arrested. It does not matter that the arrest was for running a stop sign, or speeding, or some other seemingly minor traffic infraction. Regardless of the reason for the arrest, police can search through every container on the person’s body, even if the police have no suspicion that there is anything illegal in it. A few courts have concluded that this doctrine permits police to search text messages found on cell phones. My article explores the circumstances under which police can now search not only text messages, but also the email, pictures, movies, calendar entries, and internet browsing history found on iPhones and similar devices — even if the police have no suspicion that there is anything illegal on the iPhone. In short, the article explores ways in which the police can search through the thousands of pages of data on individuals’ wireless technology even if there is no probable cause or other suspicion of illegal activity.”

This is just another great reason for locking you BlackBerry. If you are in the middle of some insider stock trading scandal or are just paranoid then I recommend following these steps to secure your berry:

Set the password and timeout option:

  1. Select Options, then Security.
  2. Next to “Password”, highlight the word Disable and click the trackwheel or trackball.
  3. Select Change Option, then Enable.
  4. Enter your password and press the Enter key.
  5. Enter your password again to verify it.
  6. Next to “Security Timeout,” highlight the displayed time and click the trackwheel or trackball.
  7. Select Change Option, and choose a reasonable time for the handheld to time out and lock.
  8. To exit the “Security” screen, press the back key. You will be prompted to save. Select Yes.
8 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. actually the cops can ask you to unlock your phone or computer to look through it

  2. SNICKA,
    Password protect your phone. Exercise your right to remain silent. Then they probably need to get a warrant. By then you can “forget” or “no longer recall” your password :)

    Truthfully I dont really have that much to hide but still…

  3. Enter it in wrong a bunch of times and it will wipe your bb, won’t it? 😀

  4. Here is another idea: don’t keep sensitive information in any device or media that can be stolen or otherwise taken from you easily, such as a phone.

  5. what luc-mobile said is quite true.
    but then the next thing brought to mind is, why be involved with shady business anyway. living life the right honest way = nothing to hide.

  6. I completely agree guys living clean is the way to go. I just always find these interpretations of US laws interesting. The worst was when I found out that cops can pull you over in NY for changing the radio station since you might have been distracted :)

  7. David, please don’t fall for that “nothing to hide” fallacy. Everyone has something to hide, and rightly so! You don’t need to be involved in shady business to have secrets. You could have sensitive messages or documents pertaining to corporate strategies, business contacts, product development, medical records, psychiatry profiles, social work follow ups, court evidence, social security data or even just plain personal stuff like notes, diary, love letters etc.

  8. I completely agree Luc. Everybody has something that they hide on their BlackBerry. Even if it is just drunken pictures of yourself :)

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