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New York District Attorney Wants More Access to Cell Phones

December 16, 2016, on Articles |

Cell phones have pretty much become a part of everyday life for many people and many individuals now have access to a phone. Phones have also become capable of doing much more than they used to and people are storing a lot more info on their phones than ever before. As a result, phones have become really valuable to those investigating crimes. State and federal authorities frequently try to gain access to the phones of suspected criminals to see what they can find on them.

As police increasingly aim to get more and more access to people's phones, there are substantial concerns about privacy rights and constitutional protections that are being raised. No matter how useful the info on a phone may be to police, the police still must act within the bounds of the law when trying to access data. A federal criminal investigation attorney should be consulted by anyone whose phone has been taken by the police, as an experienced attorney can help to make sure your privacy rights are protected.

New York DA Seeks Access to 400 Seized Cell Phones

According to ZD Net, a New York District Attorney is pushing the federal government to pass a law that would require Apple to make its operating system more accessible so it can be searched by police with a warrant.  The DA believes this is necessary because there are more than 400 iPhones that have been seized but which are locked and thus not useful for investigating crimes. 

The DA claims some of these phones could have evidence relevant to murder and sex crimes cases and he asserts that phone users, in general, would not experience increased privacy risks if Apple made it easier for police to access this data.

When Apple released iOS8, the new system included an encryption method that prevents stored data from being accessible unless the phone's password is known. This has created immense conflict with law enforcement officers and led to a tense situation when the FBI got a court order (which Apple ignored) compelling Apple to build a special version of its iOS to get around the encryption and allow access to the phone of the San Bernardino shooter.

The FBI ended up being able to find a way into the phone without Apple helping, but there remains a lingering problem for other cases where the police want to search phones but cannot gain access to the data due to the encryption.

Apple has not cooperated with helping the police to get around phone security protocols like locking codes, and the DA believes that the federal government should force Apple to make its operating system “warrant-friendly.”

If such a law is passed, or if Apple decides to comply to police demands and the police get easier access to cell phones, it will become more important than ever for those accused of wrongdoing to be represented by a federal criminal investigation attorney.

The fact that law enforcement professionals are even pushing for federal laws that require private companies to make their operating systems more searchable shows how far prosecutors are willing to go to try to gain access to data. Contact The Law Office of James E. Tyner, PLLC today and make certain you have a lawyer protecting your privacy!