Michigan Police Search Drivers’ Cell Phones During Traffic Stops



Michigan state police (or should we say police state?) have been using a handheld mobile forensics device to steal information from cell phones belonging to motorists stopped for minor traffic violations. The high-tech device works with 3000 different phone models and can bypass passwords to process “Complete extraction of existing, hidden, and deleted phone data, including call history, text messages, contacts, images, and geotags,” according to CelleBrite, the company behind the device. “The Physical Analyzer allows visualization of both existing and deleted locations on Google Earth. In addition, location information from GPS devices and image geotags can be mapped on Google Maps.”

So, without a warrant, without people even knowing it, police has the power to look into your entire phone’s memory, including deleted phone data. With geotags, it can retrace pretty much everywhere you’ve went with that cellphone. Since most people have their cellphones at less than 5 feet from them at all times, well, there you go.

Michigan: Police Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops
ACLU seeks information on Michigan program that allows cops to download information from smart phones belonging to stopped motorists.

The Michigan State Police have a high-tech mobile forensics device that can be used to extract information from cell phones belonging to motorists stopped for minor traffic violations. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan last Wednesday demanded that state officials stop stonewalling freedom of information requests for information on the program.

ACLU learned that the police had acquired the cell phone scanning devices and in August 2008 filed an official request for records on the program, including logs of how the devices were used. The state police responded by saying they would provide the information only in return for a payment of $544,680. The ACLU found the charge outrageous.

“Law enforcement officers are known, on occasion, to encourage citizens to cooperate if they have nothing to hide,” ACLU staff attorney Mark P. Fancher wrote. “No less should be expected of law enforcement, and the Michigan State Police should be willing to assuage concerns that these powerful extraction devices are being used illegally by honoring our requests for cooperation and disclosure.”

A US Department of Justice test of the CelleBrite UFED used by Michigan police found the device could grab all of the photos and video off of an iPhone within one-and-a-half minutes. The device works with 3000 different phone models and can even defeat password protections.

“Complete extraction of existing, hidden, and deleted phone data, including call history, text messages, contacts, images, and geotags,” a CelleBrite brochure explains regarding the device’s capabilities. “The Physical Analyzer allows visualization of both existing and deleted locations on Google Earth. In addition, location information from GPS devices and image geotags can be mapped on Google Maps.”

The ACLU is concerned that these powerful capabilities are being quietly used to bypass Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.

“With certain exceptions that do not apply here, a search cannot occur without a warrant in which a judicial officer determines that there is probable cause to believe that the search will yield evidence of criminal activity,” Fancher wrote. “A device that allows immediate, surreptitious intrusion into private data creates enormous risks that troopers will ignore these requirements to the detriment of the constitutional rights of persons whose cell phones are searched.”

The national ACLU is currently suing the Department of Homeland Security for its policy of warrantless electronic searches of laptops and cell phones belonging to people entering the country who are not suspected of committing any crime.

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65 Comments on "Michigan Police Search Drivers’ Cell Phones During Traffic Stops"

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The fact more and more people include "liked" this gives sort of child-like chuckle to me. I quite like realizing that between the hatred, assault, in addition to most available pessimism, individuals may still have a good laugh on them selves in order to find approaches to giggle. It appears as if in order to not to head out insane on earth would be to find humour from it!

This application has been around now for several decades. It’s used by T-Mobile and AT&T. Initially, just like all protection marketed to People in america by our govt, it was forced as a way to find a client who was in problems by the cops. mspy review

Someone said "If you have nothing to hide, you shouldn't be afraid" but what happens when they take 2 hours searching through your phone to find nothing? The chance of them finding a "drug baron" are slim and they'd have better chances looking through their own ranks!

It's sad that a great country such as ours claims that we are free when we have (or spend the night in jail) to give the cops consent to search everything..

dont complain when they have 2 fingers up you, looking for drugs, or whatever the newest 'scourge' is.. remember you wanted to be safe from 'drug dealers'

It's not just Michigan.. I got busted here in California during a traffic stop, with prescription Norcos.. they went through my phone and I had a text from a friend asking if i could give him some for his back.. this was December 30th of 2010 and im just now being put on house arrest for "Possession with intent to sell"…. Just be careful with your text messages, and whatever you do hire a lawyer if this happens to you.. ive seen violent offenders get off with less punishment than me, but my dumb ass got a public defender..

I find no mention in any discussion here, or anyplace else for that matter, that the device requires that the cell phone be plugged into it…. have a look at the picture accompanying this article. If so, it's not possible for anyone to use this device to download any information directly from your phone (or sim card) without at least your indirect knowledge, because the device user has to physically connect it to your phone. I don't agree with any aspect of this device, or similar intrusions (more often below the radar and without our consent), but would hope that people focus on the rights issues, rather than the conspiratorial ones (at least insofar as concerns law enforcement's *secret* use of these devices).

I stoped using my phone about a week ago.

Everyone, no matter if you don't live in Michigan or you do, needs to memorize this line–

"The Fourth Amendment specifically states and requires that search and arrest warrants be judicially sanctioned and SUPPORTED BY A PROBABLE CAUSE" in case you get pulled over for no reason and/ or are asked for your phone.

Be aware, be vigilant. God bless everyone.

that is just awful….im stunned. But somthing tells me "we" are the ones just finding about this tho…

From what I've heard, it was all supposed to be under the radar, and the news caught on when people started talking about it. For once, it seems the Press did its job (key word: SEEMS. Wouldn't surprise me if a lot of places were looking at this as a test, to see if people would put up with it.)

Once again, hidden in plain sight.

Notice something odd about the article?

This stuff is happening in Michigan.

Not Alabama, nor West Virginia, nor Utah, nor Arizona, nor Texas. Michigan, once the most progressive state with a prosperous working class, now leading the way in oppressing its citizens.

How much you want to bet the Michigan Police got their devices free.

Oh Boy, all those states are bizarre. Utah oh no…they even look the same all of them…are they cloned in Utah..

The FBI has had that device for awhile. I guess its finally triggering down to local law enforcement. When the FBI took over the Norma Lopez case in Moreno Valley, CA, they had that same device and went through all the students text messages and photos.

i thk diz shizz iz krazzi wack, son!

"Future Shock" is a book written by the sociologist and futurist Alvin Toffler in 1970. It grew out of an article "The Future as a Way of Life" in Horizon magazine, Summer 1965 issue.[1][2][3][4] The book has sold over 6 million copies and has been widely translated. In the book, Toffler defines the term "future shock" as a certain psychological state of individuals and entire societies. His shortest definition for the term is a personal perception of "too much change in too short a period of time". A documentary film based on the book was released in 1972 with Orson Welles as on-screen narrator. Toffler argues that society is undergoing an enormous structural change, a revolution from an industrial society to a "super-industrial society". This change will overwhelm people, the accelerated rate of technological and social change leaving them disconnected and suffering from "shattering stress and disorientation" – future shocked.… Read more »

Sorry I don't understand.. What makes us special? There's been traitors, conspiracists, and tyrants all over the world history. And there always have been people who's had enough of this and stopped them. Or at least they stood up for their freedom. Only thing different is they didn't have access to the internet. Even the Illuminati order exists more than a hundred years already. What makes us different? And what methods do we have to stop being manioulated?


We are special because we care! And we can do anything we put our minds to do!

It takes hard times to develop psychic muscle, and it takes wisdom, learned through pain, suffering, trials, tribulations, and patience, to know exactly when and where is the right time to push.

It's all about mind over matter- but if you don't have a mind – it really doesn't matter".

Heaven's mightiest angels were once Hell's darkest demons!

I know because I personally had to fight through the darkness to get to the light.

If we could only remove the wires from our tissues for a minute, maybe we'd learn to start exercising the third eye between the temple's summit.

Nice mention of Future Shock- It is the best terminology to describe exactly what has been happening for decades since the turn of the 20th century and the pace of change is only accelerating with each decade. My oldest neice saw poltergeist for the first time and had a lot of questions about TV ending with the anthem and static for several hours. Then the 13 channels with a knob, no remote, rabbit ears and antenna on the house, and then we talked about Grandmom and Great grandmom's way of life of stories past from generation to generation- such as going into town to the icehouse for a block of Ice for the ice-box, because there was no electrical refrideration. She was floored of the idea of not having electricity and how did people get by. Besides Toffler, when I hear of Future Shock, I also think of Herbie Hancock… Read more »

Looks like this device supports every smart phone but Windows Phone 7. Looks like I'll be getting a Samsung Focus or HTC HD7

I just read that Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden gave a presentation at the "Where 2.0" IT converence saying that iphones and iPads with the iOS4 system store where you are. This information is transferred to your desktop via iTunes and from there anybody can access the data.


no surprise this isn't on cnn, fox, or msnbc… a google search of the topic shows it's only being reported on small, local papers

When you are being pulled over, for now on shut the phone off……..

Better yet, take the battery and sim out and hide them.

I want one, someone have $1,199 I can borrow 🙂

Unfortunately this procedure not illegal on the grounds 'you shouldn't be scared if you have nothing to hide' sort of idea. Whilst in many,many cases the device will find nothing of importance there is a small chance it will find something worth looking in to – a drugs baron or possible terrorist. But you are still legally within your own rights to refuse access to your cell phone – and if arrested you have a very strong case for false arrest. I honestly myself don't see any harm in the procedure, if they're only doing it when stopped for minor offenses as the article – and many others – states then the people that stay out of trouble have nothing it worried about.

The procedure is most definitely unconstitutional. To apply "you shouldn't be scared if you have nothing to hide" to this situation is to question the fourth amendment itself; the same argument can be applied to the very amendment that's supposed to protect us from illegal unreasonable search and seizure. And yes if you have nothing to hide it won't turn up anything of importance but it's the fact that it's YOUR business, it's your RIGHT to not have the government search YOUR stuff.

"Where are zie papers!!!" was for the 20th century, now it's "Where is zie chip!!!- your phone please!!– Are you hiding something from me!?!?!"

The gestapo would have to spend hours investigating and interviewing to develop a profile of someone- who were friends and affiliates, personal habits, daily routines, and gossip. Now they get it in 90 seconds or less! Not much of an interview anymore and it's more comprehensive. As the Church Lady would say on SNL "How Convenient, well isn't that special"

Though they can always utilize facebook for all that information as well. That is a fantastic profile gathering resource for TPTB. And I agree with you flips that they are tracking and keeping files on much of the population. I have seen more than enough to convince me that these files are being kept to help identify the 'domestic terrorists' per MIAC http://neithercorp.us/npress/2011/04/a-day-in-the
possible first draft for fema???

headline: iSpy Conspiracy: Your iPhone Is Secretly Tracking Everywhere You’ve Been http://gizmodo.com/#!5793925/your-iphone-is-secre… Sam Biddle — This [illustration at link] is a map of everywhere I've been for nearly the last year. Everywhere. I didn't carry around a special tracking device. The FBI isn't sending goons in unmarked vans to track me. All I did was use an iPhone. And if you have an iPhone, you're being tracked right now, too, whether you like it or not. It turns out that all our iPhones are keeping a record of everywhere you've been since June. This data is stored on your phone (or iPad) and computer, easily available to anyone who gets their hands on it. You know, AT&T and other cellphone providers always store this data, for any cellphone. And law enforcement can get to it when they need to. But I don't want this information bouncing around in my pocket… Read more »
sorry for multiple postings, but, frankly, this seems to dwarf vig's original post … here's the source article cited by gizmo: headline: iPhone keeps record of everywhere you goPrivacy fears raised as researchers reveal file on iPhone that stores location coordinates and timestamps of owner's movements http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/apr/20/… [this poster recommends you see images at the link as well] Security researchers have discovered that Apple's iPhone keeps track of where you go – and saves every detail of it to a secret file on the device which is then copied to the owner's computer when the two are synchronised. The file contains the latitude and longitude of the phone's recorded coordinates along with a timestamp, meaning that anyone who stole the phone or the computer could discover details about the owner's movements using a simple program. For some phones, there could be almost a year's worth of data stored, as the… Read more »
Inch by inch from many different directions the rights of the American public are being slowly stripped away. As an objective observer I must say this will not end well for the American population. The problem exists not with the government which will always want to grab and extend its police and governmental reach. The problem exists with the people who willfully refuse to read history who willfully refuse to stay informed and who willfully allow these illegal activities to take place. Keep in mind democracy by design can only function correctly and lawfully if you have an intelligent, informed and politically active and >activated< population. The current state is not a reflection of a bad government, they are all bad if allowed to function without public scrutiny and control, and the occasional house cleaning, the current state in America is a reflection of an ignorant and uninformed and un-activated… Read more »

noctum z,

You're absoulutely right, and I agree with you word after word. Thank you for your comment.

You know what I figure? The way to "awaken" the population is exacly the same way government lays them asleep with their 9/11's and such things. These things made them hate terrorists and Muslims and forget about their own government. Now we have to figure out the way to make them forget the rapists and terrorists and drug dealers and hitmen and mobsters and whoever else and make them hate their own government that allowed (if not helped) all these things to exist in the first place. And then come up with solutions (in case we even have any solutions by that time) – when they're really trying to find it and not before.

And when I try to open anyone's eyes. ..
I'm the one called 'wierd'. I can't seem to get through to any of my sheeple friends and family.
Not only too late, but, I think 'they' won.

What would they do if I told them I didn't have one? Would I be obstructing injustice?

But for real…

all it will take is one beneficial thing to come of this for people to fully accept it.

Don't worry – they'll fabricate "something beneficial" soon enough.

illuminati in uniforms!creepy

i like how the title of the video mentions they could be breaking the 4th amendment. What else is new? S**t the TSA is doin the same damn thing! SMH!

WHACK!!!! Thank you SIR!!! May I have another!!!

that line in the sand has got to be around here somewhere…….

Yeah that's a hell of a good example! Either take a step forward or step WAY the f**k back….

so i guess im gon have to leave my phone when i pick up my weed…… damn now ima have to ring the doorbell.

ohhh snap… lmbo!!!! i just laughed totally out loud man… but I feel you. on a serious note…s**t's about to get really real.

The fact that so many people have "liked" this brings a sort of child-like giggle to me. I enjoy knowing that amongst the hatred, violence, and all out negativity, people can still laugh at themselves and find ways to smile. It seems like the only way to not go insane in this world is to find humour in it!

THey slowly and meticulously abuse our rights and remove them and we haven't realized. WE THE PEOPLE are THEM.we are sheep FOR SLAUGHTER to them…New World Order soon.WAKE UP