The data on your cell phone is extremely valuable – it holds not only personal information like photos and text messages, but often also logins and financial information. It’s important to ensure your data stays private, and you may be surprised to find out some of the ways your personal information is left vulnerable.
Police are allowed to seize and search the possessions of anyone they arrest – and being arrested doesn’t have to mean you spend time in a holding cell or need to go to trial. Often, it only takes a misunderstanding to technically be “arrested.”
Cell phones hold an unimaginably large amount of private information, from finances and healthcare to everyday movements and personal relationships. Yet something as simple as a traffic violation can result in your private information being copied and stored in a police database. Obviously at InCharged we do not condone any illegal behavior and are not trying to help you break any laws, but the right to privacy surrounding mobile devices is certainly fuzzy.
Why You Should Use a Passcode Lock On Your Cell Phone
If you are simply questioned or detained for questioning, you do not have to give a police officer your cell phone. Similarly, if you are pulled over in a car, you do not have to hand it over. If you are arrested, on the other hand, you do have to give law enforcement professionals you mobile device. The legislation is a little fuzzy and under debate right now, but currently if it has a passcode you do not have to give them the code to unlock it (similar to how if the police have “probable cause” to search your car you have to allow them in, but you do not have to unlock the glove box). Of course, this likely won’t stop their technicians from accessing the data, but it can certainly slow the process down. If they have probable cause and are awarded a search warrant, then you do have to comply.
We’re not providing this information because we don’t support law enforcement, but because it can be a huge issue with the security of your personal information. It’s common practice for the data from seized electronics to be copied to police records. Currently, there is little legislation regarding how long they can keep it, who can access it, and what it can be used for.
Additionally, the use of a passcode on your phone can be a lifesaver in case your device is lost or stolen. Even if you have never used your mobile device for shopping or banking, thieves and pickpockets are often extremely skilled at extracting information from even the most innocuous data. This is also a great reason to make sure you don’t use the same password for all of your accounts.
Just a friendly reminder from your fellow cell phone owners at InCharged – don’t forget to use a passcode on your mobile devices, and use multiple different passwords for different websites!