Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Police agencies around the country and in Tampa Bay and Pinellas routinely track cell phone information without warrants according to a new cell phone tracking study by the ACLU based on findings and analysis of public records, which almost makes your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney want to sell his cell on ebay.
Most agencies follow a specific cell phone's use and location. But some law enforcement agencies even avoid having to deal with the cell phone carrier by purchasing their own cell phone tracking technology. Other agencies will find all of the cell phones used at a particular location and time. 
An article in CNET on iphone lock screens even notes that many agencies routinely unlock iphone and android phone screens to search for criminal conduct or evidence on cell phones as a routine investigation tool:

Internal police documents reveal the legal processes that law enforcement agencies use to require Apple and Google to bypass the lock screens on seized mobile phones.
Training materials prepared by the Sacramento sheriff's office include a fill-in-the-blanks court order that, with a judge's signature, requires Apple to "assist law enforcement agents" with "bypassing the cell phone user's passcode so that the agents may search the iphone."
The disclosure provides more details about the increasingly common police practice of searching mobile phones, which are often seized during an arrest. Last year's news that iOS stored logs of a user's approximate whereabouts, something that Apple called a bug and soon fixed, also highlighted how interested law enforcement has become in accessing mobile devices.

Even Da Vinci couldn't keep his iphone records safe from the Tampa Bay and Clearwater Police.
Leonardo da Vinci, Portrait of a Musician, 1490
Clearly, our local Tampa Bay area Police, as well as the Hillsborough and Pinellas Sheriff's Departments, should define the limits of police intrusion into citizen's cell phone use, set out in writing the defined limits of cell phone tracking and prescribe the factual situations when law enforcement officers must seek appropriate warrants signed by Judges when making protected fourth amendment searches, even if it's just a Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer's cell phone.

Not even Leonardo da Vinci can keep his iphone records away from the Pinellas and Hillsborough Police Departments.