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LEGAL BRIEFS: Oregon Restricts Law Enforcement Access to Info on Phones

Governor Kate Brown has signed into law a bill (SB 641) that prohibits law enforcement from obtaining information from electronic devices without a warrant in most cases. There are two ways police access devices. The officer may physically examine and search the phone/tablet/etc, or the officer may extract data from the device electronically. The new law focuses on electronic extraction and prohibits law enforcement from duplicating or copying the data from a portable electronic device without a warrant or consent. The Tenth Amendment Center notes that the law does not prevent officers from photographing or transcribing information "observable from the portable electronic device by normal unaided human senses" (known as "physical examination").

For years, courts have wrestled with the constitutional analysis of when and how these portable electronic devices can be searched by police. In Riley v. California, (2014), the United States Supreme Court held that searching a person's cell phone incident to arrest violates the Constitution, unless the search is authorized by warrant or exigent circumstances. Criminal prosecution using evidence from physical examination cases will likely be tested in court.

  People's Police Report

September, 2015
Also in PPR #66

More PPB Shootings by July
  Than All of 2014

  OR Shootings Echo National Epidemic
PRB Report: Misconduct,
  Discipline, Shootings

DOJ Settlement Creaks Forward
Review Board Gains Power
Audit Exposes Training Flaws
Changes in PPB Directives
O'Deas of Our Lives 66
CPRC Nearly Disbanded
  Oregon Bans Profiling
Homeless Beset All Around
Police Attack May Day 2015
OR Restricts Access to Phones
Updates PPR 66
  • OR Body Cams and Copwatching Laws
  • Police Exaggerate "Gang" Problems
Rapping Back #66

Portland Copwatch
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
(503) 236-3065/ Incident Report Line (503) 321-5120
e-mail: copwatch@portlandcopwatch.org

Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.

People's Police Report #66 Table of Contents
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