People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
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.
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