Menu Contact
Robert D. DiDio & AssociatesRobert D. DiDio
& Associates
Call To Schedule An Appointment
917-300-0984
SERVING NEW YORK WITH INTEGRITY & COMMITMENT

Search and seizure: Smartphone pass codes lose protection

A December 2016 court ruling may have far-reaching implications for people whose phones are in police hands. In a case in Florida, a man has been ordered by an appeals court to provide the pass code to his smartphone so that police can look for potential up-skirt photos, which the man was accused of taking in a store before running out. The ruling is controversial because it runs counter to other high-court interpretations of Fourth Amendment protections.

The defendant was accused of taking an up-skirt photo, though he claimed he merely dropped his phone. This seems like a simple case at first; have the police check the phone for photos. However, the police didn't have the pass code to the phone, making it impossible to get to the files.

A lower court originally ruled that the defendant didn't have to give up his pass code, based on the idea that one shouldn't have to give up "contents of the mind." The court was also concerned that this would have violated the Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination. Giving up the pass code was seen as a version of testifying against oneself.

However, an appeals court then overturned that ruling, saying the "contents of the mind" argument led to unequal protection -- pass code users would have been protected, but fingerprint users, for example, would not have the same protection. The appeals court also determined that the pass code was not a crucial piece of evidence, and giving it to the police would not have been the same as self-incrimination. The code, said the court, was considered a "non-factual statement" and thus was not a violation of the right not to self-incriminate. This ruling went against prior court precedents.

The bad news for the general public is that there is now precedent for the police to demand your smartphone pass code, potentially revealing evidence that could incriminate you in an investigation. Thankfully, the precedent is limited largely to the state of Florida.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

What Our Clients Say

  1. Pedro from Nassau County

    “I was arrested and charged with being the getaway driver during a knife point robbery. The police stopped my car a block away from the robbery with my co-defendant in the car with me. The victim identified my co-defendant to the police within 5 minutes of the robbery...

    - GREAT JOB MR. DiDIO!”
  2. Johnny From Astoria

    "Mr. DiDio represented me during a murder trial in 2008. I was acquitted of all charges and released from jail after a four-week trial. I am now pursuing a civil suit against the police to compensate me for the time I was wrongfully incarcerated. Mr. DiDio literally saved...

    - GREAT JOB MR. DiDIO!”
  3. Frank from South Jamaica

    “Narcotics officers from Queens County arrested me in front of my house and claimed I had pre-recorded buy money in my pocket after they said I sold cocaine to an undercover officer a few minutes earlier. I was not guilty of the charges and planned to go to trial to prove...

    - GREAT JOB MR. DiDIO!”
  4. Lamar from Brooklyn

    “The Special Narcotics Prosecutor in Manhattan indicted me for the possession of a large quantity of crack cocaine. The police officers claimed they saw me make a sale of cocaine to a female and while they were arresting me, they said a softball size bag of crack cocaine fell from...

    - GREAT JOB MR. DiDIO!”
  5. Pedro from Nassau County

    “I was arrested and charged with being the getaway driver during a knife point robbery. The police stopped my car a block away from the robbery with my co-defendant in the car with me. The victim identified my co-defendant to the police within 5 minutes of the robbery...

    - GREAT JOB MR. DiDIO!”
  6. Kenny From Jamaica Queens

    “I don’t know how to thank Mr. DiDio and his Staff. When I first hired the Law Office of Robert DiDio & Associates, I had two violent felony charges pending against me. I had little or no hope of avoiding significant jail time. My former attorney was encouraging me...

    - GREAT JOB MR. DiDIO!”
  7. Christian from Long Island

    "My mother hired Mr. DiDio to represent me for my first and only criminal case. I was charged with criminal possession of a loaded firearm and other minor charges. Prior to indictment the Prosecutor's Office offered me a plea bargain that would include me pleading guilty to...

    - GREAT JOB MR. DiDIO!”
Email Us For A Response

Tell Us About Your Case

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Robert D. DiDio
& Associates

8002 Kew Gardens Road
Suite 307
Kew Gardens, NY 11415

Phone: 917-300-0984
Fax: 718-793-0165
Kew Gardens Law Office Map