Monday, December 30, 2013

Legislation Regulating Cell Phone Surveillance By Indiana Law Enforcement Not What It's Cracked Up To Be

I just had the chance to review legislation Sen. Brent Waltz (R-Greenwood) is offering in the form of SB 64 to limit Indiana law enforcement agency's access to information contained on a person's cell phone. Needless to say, I'm disappointed in its current form. It's completely useless in preventing law enforcement agencies from using software like the Stingray software used by the Indiana State Police to capture bulk cell phone data transmitted within a targeted geographic area without first obtaining a court-ordered search warrant.

The first part of the bill amends a section of the motor vehicle code that makes it unlawful to type, send and read text messages using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. This part of the bill prohibits a law enforcement officer from extracting information from a person's cell phone without the person's consent for purposes of enforcing the no texting while driving law unless the police officer has probable cause to believe the cell phone has been used to commit a crime, and the information is downloaded or extracted under a valid search warrant.

The second part of the bill amends a section of the criminal code setting forth the conditions under which a police officer may detain a person who the officer believes in good faith has committed an infraction or ordinance violation. A new section is added to this part of the criminal code that mirrors the first part of the bill amending the vehicle code to prohibit a police officer from downloading or extracting information from the cell phone of person who has been detained, without the person's consent, unless the police officer has probable cause to believe the cell phone has been used to commit a crime, and the police officer first obtains a valid search warrant before downloading or extracting information from the person's cell phone.


Paul K. Ogden said...

So if you haven't been detained you have less rights than someone who has been detained?

Gary R. Welsh said...

That's the sum of it.

Flogger said...

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The idea of this right IMHO is to prevent the Security Apparatus from having a blank check to violate our rights to be "secure." If there is a reason to spy on me than produce probable cause. Bottom line the Government long ago forfeited their assumption they know best. I do not buy onto a Physical Stop and Frisk either.