When does law enforcement technology violate 4th Amendment rights?
Technology can be used in amazing ways to keep us safe, productive and connected. We use technology in so many aspects of our lives that we rarely think about the implications. When it comes to law enforcement, technological advances may be helpful, but they may also lead to 4th Amendment violations.
New York Police Department Ups Its’ Technology Game
The New York Police Department has just announced that they will be upgrading its 36,000 smartphones to the Windows 10 operating system. The Department hopes to increase its’ crime-fighting prowess through a host of customized apps.
According to the NYPD, officers can now tap into surveillance cameras across the city and take part in two-way digital dispatch. These features, it says, have increased response time by 12 percent.
Additional functionality includes:
- Advance database searches
- Crime information boards
- Secure messaging
- Digital Case Management System
- Online forms
The NYPD hopes that this new technology will help it build community trust and make crime fighting more efficient.
When Technology Runs Afoul of Constitutional Rights
When it comes to technological advances, the rights that are most implicated are our 4th Amendment rights to be safe and secure in our persons and property. We know this amendment more commonly as our right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures. Lately, more technological advances have brought about concerns for our 4th Amendment protections.
In the 2001 case of Kyllo v. United States, the Supreme Court held that use of infrared technology to identify marijuana farming inside a suspect’s home violated 4th Amendment rights. Key to this decision was the fact that the farming was occurring inside the home of the individual and police did not obtain a warrant to use the technology. Had the cultivation occurred outside the home and visible from say, a drone, the story would be different.
Most of us use GPS on a daily basis, sometimes without even consciously knowing it. However, according to Torrey Dale Grady v. North Carolina if a government agency places one in your car or on your person, it is considered a search. Without a warrant, this type of search is unlawful.
Using Your Technology Against You
Most people live their lives with their smartphone at the ready. We’ve got photos, notes, calendars, contacts and even our GPS history stored in these tiny personal databases. IS there anything on your phone that you might not want made public?
Not to long ago the police used the contents of a man’s cell phone to tie him to a gang-related shooting. That man attempted to have that evidence suppressed at his hearing but was denied. In his appeal, Riley v. California, the Supreme Court held that obtaining a person’s private information from their cell phones without a warrant is a violation of their 4th Amendment rights.
Understanding Your Rights
If you find yourself under arrest in New York, it’s critical to know your rights. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Ianniello Anderson, P.C. will work tirelessly to protect your rights. Contact us today at 518-350-7755. Serving clients in the Albany, Clifton Park, Glens Falls, Saratoga Springs, Troy, and the entire Northeastern NY areas at (518) 350.7755.