Michigan Cops Scan Your Cell Phone Data: ACLU

State police have device that extracts information from mobiles

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 20, 2011 1:16 PM CDT | Updated Apr 23, 2011 1:49 PM CDT

(Newser) – The ACLU is worried that Michigan state troopers are violating 4th Amendment rights by using a gizmo that quickly scans drivers' cell phones during routine traffic stops and extracts information, reports The Truth About Cars blog. The group accuses the state of dodging Freedom of Information requests on how often the procedure is used, noting that police said they would comply only if ACLU paid about $500,000 in processing fees.

Michigan troopers use a forensic device called the CelleBrite UFED, which is capable of collecting photos and video off a phone in 90 seconds. The company boasts it also grabs email, instant messages, GPS locations, call logs, contacts, etc., notes Popular Mechanics. Such devices are relatively common in police investigations, but the ACLU thinks a portable version used by troopers has the potential to violate unwitting drivers' rights against unreasonable search and seizure. "What happens next is unclear," writes Glenn Derene at PM. "If the ACLU presses the matter, it may well end up in the courts, but without a specific incident to pursue, there probably isn't yet a case." Click to read the ACLU letter.

File photo of a traffic stop (not in Michigan).
File photo of a traffic stop (not in Michigan).   (Shutterstock)
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