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.
(U.S. Const. amend. IV)
Until the past few years with the rise of NSA spying and TSA pat downs, the Fourth Amendment has not been talked about as much as the Second or First. That does not make it any less important, as a matter of fact eliminating Fourth Amendment Rights, pretty much eliminates First & Second Amendment rights along with them.
Recently, Democrats in both New York and California have introduced bills that would outright ban the sale of mobile devices with encryption technology. The similar bills introduced in California by State Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) and in New York by Assemblyman Matthew Titone (D-Staten Island), if passed, would require all smartphones that are sold to be “capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider.”
Cooper’s reasoning puts a novel spin on the same, tired “The police can’t do their jobs unless tech companies do it for them” argument. This time, he used human trafficking as the boogeyman that needs defeating and which can only be accomplished if the government has unfettered, disk-level access to its citizens’ cell phones.
“If you’re a bad guy [we] can get a search record for your bank, for your house, you can get a search warrant for just about anything,” Cooper told ArsTechnica. “For the industry to say it’s privacy, it really doesn’t hold any water. We’re going after human traffickers and people who are doing bad and evil things. Human trafficking trumps privacy, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.” Apparently human trafficking also trumps the 4th Amendment as well. Read more…
Forcing everyone into using un-encrypted mobile devices and opening up not just the government sector thieves but private sector thieves as well to be able to access your private information is much worse. People use their smart phones today for banking, medical information and a whole host of other legal activities that require privacy.
While I agree that human trafficking is a disgusting and vile criminal activity that has to be stopped, it is not more important than the fundamental right to privacy. If a warrant can be obtained for all those other things it can be obtained to search a smart phone as well.