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The PJ Tatler

Bryan Preston


August 20, 2013 - 9:22 am

Some days I don’t even have the passion to rant against this devious administration anymore. Or the media, which keeps giving it pass after pass. Suffice it to say that if any Republican administration sought this particular authority, at the same time as it’s evidently having journalists’ docu-mules whisked off airplanes outside the US for 9-hour interrogations in basements and destroying computers at newspaper offices, well, it would be Armageddon on the evening news. Dan Rather would get himself back on the CBS Evening News just so he could set himself on fire in protest.

But it’s Obama the Lightworker authoring the end of privacy on a global scale, so it’s cool. Nothing to worry about. Look, puppy!

If the police arrest you, do they need a warrant to rifle through your cellphone? Courts have been split on the question. Last week the Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to resolve the issue and rule that the Fourth Amendment allows warrantless cellphone searches.

The particular case doesn’t sound like a good test case. The phone in question is a 2007 vintage dumb phone, not an iPhone or Android model that is basically a computer and video camera with editing and broadcast capabilities in one’s pocket. Additionally, the case involved the arrest of an active crack dealer whose phone started ringing while he was being arrested.

In 2007, the police arrested a Massachusetts man who appeared to be selling crack cocaine from his car. The cops seized his cellphone and noticed that it was receiving calls from “My House.” They opened the phone to determine the number for “My House.” That led them to the man’s home, where the police found drugs, cash and guns.

The possibility of stopping a crime in progress makes the officers’ actions seem not only necessary but proper. They wouldn’t have been doing their jobs if they hadn’t followed up. But how often will the facts present such an obvious villain and what obviously appeared to be a crime in progress?

Nowadays, police are increasingly militarized and increasingly aggressive in how they treat ordinary citizens accused of no crime. Today’s cell phones tend to have high-definition video cameras built in, and police have waged a little war against citizen’s right to tape what law enforcement officers do in public, where there is no expectation of privacy for anyone. Ripping down the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure of smart phones empowers the state a great deal. If the Obama administration wins, a citizen could find themselves put under arrest and have pretty much their entire lives — carried around on their phone — subject to search just because an overly aggressive cop felt like intimidating them.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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All Comments   (4)
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I'm beginning to see the allure of the crazy old "sovereign citizen" opt-out that some people do. If only it were anything but magical thinking.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
How about we split the baby here....

He can have access to all the Obamaphones and any phones that are paid for by government agencies for "official" use.

The rest of us get to be private citizens
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yep, not a good test case. The information was literally announcing itself to them. All they had to do was to look at the phone.

Leaping from this to "I can take this phone back to the precinct for a forensic analysis and use every bit of the data against you." is a long, loooong, stretch.

What Obama really wants is to be able to do that forensic analysis anytime any cop feels like it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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