I really don’t know why I torture myself in the mornings, but I have the bad habit of watching the national news on one of the liberal mainstream media stations. I know they are strongly biased towards President Obama, the liberal Democratic Party and they are pro-gay, anti-Christian and anti-conservative. So why do I watch them? Sometimes they provide me with a topic to write about, like today.
Yesterday morning, they had a short blurb about President Obama wanting to give police throughout the country the right to search someone’s smartphone without having a warrant. They had a guest commentator on the subject, John Miller, former assistant Director of Public Affairs for the FBI, share his views on the subject. He said that what the FBI does is seize the smartphone and hold it until they obtain a warrant allowing them to search through the phone. He then explained that what Obama wants is to allow a police officer who believes he/she has probable cause to not only seize the person’s smartphone, but have the legal right to search through it on the spot without having to first obtain a warrant.
What was interesting is that neither Miller nor anyone else even brought up the Fourth Amendment which states:
“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.”
I believe that giving the police the right to seize and search someone’s smartphone is a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment. As much as I’ve supported law enforcement over the years, I also know that there are some police officers that are less than honorable and probable cause to them could mean almost anything. Probable cause can also be at the discretion of a judge if the matter goes to trial.
Currently, Florida, Ohio, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Pureto Rico require a warrant before police can search through a person’s phone. In 20 other states, police can search through a person’s phone for phone calls, emails and text messages once a person has been arrested and without first securing a warrant. By arrested, it means if a policeman pulls you over for a traffic violation, your phone could be subject to being searched without a warrant. In the other 24 states, no legal precedent has yet been established so it could go either way in a court case. For now, I would say your smartphone is not safe from being searched without a warrant until someone takes the matter to court in your state. To find out where your state lies on the issue, Forbes has posted an interactive map you can check out.
Obama’s request shouldn’t be a surprise since he wants the government to have full access to all of your email and phone records without a warrant. Obama wants to invade everyone’s privacy and know everything about all of us and yet he is spending millions of dollars to keep his background and records from the general public.
Remember the man who said he wanted a transparent administration? He forgot to tell the American people that the transparency he refers to is a one-way mirror where he and the government can see everything we do, but we can’t see them. Obama’s campaign slogan should have been ‘All for one and none for all.’