- October 21, 2012
- Police & You
The Police & You: Is Your Data Safe?
The Police & You – the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures … and [that] no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation …”
In this new virtual age, technology is the center point of our daily lives. With Iphones, Ipads and laptops at our constant disposal, we rely on them for everything we do. But how often do we really stop and think about what we are putting on all these devises. And how secure are these devices from the watchful eye of law enforcement?
When a person is suspected of a crime, most general search warrants authorize the police to enter your residence and seize “any and all electronic media” that could contain information related to the alleged crime. This includes you laptop, home computer, Ipad, and maybe even your cell phone. And what do police do with all that information that has nothing to do with the allegations for which these items were seized in the first place? Essentially whatever they want.
Furthermore, there are currently no safeguards in place preventing law enforcement from looking at every single document that is kept on these devises. What about the pictures of your kids, you home financing documents, your tax returns, or medical reports? Doesn’t matter. They can look at everything while searching for items related to the suspected offense.
Recently, a case involving a group of hackers that attempted to take down PayPal by inundating them with useless mail has brought this very issue to light. Prosecutors and defense attorneys alike are battling to the very core to protect their respective sides. But so far, all we need to know is that police can look at, keep, or store all the items they seize during a search.
In the PayPal case the judge luckily decided to be the “keeper” of all this evidence, states a recent article by Law.com. But without there being a specific rule or law stating that this is the procedure in the future, any data on electronic devices that is seized by law enforcement has the potential to be lost to them forever.
If you or a loved one has had your electronic data seized or reviewed by the police or federal agents, it is critical that you obtain qualified and experienced legal advice from a Detroit criminal defense attorney. Time you spend waiting to do so may ultimately prove very detrimental to your legal future. Do not delay. You need a buffer between the Police & You.