The Michigan State Police have a handful of portable machines called “extraction devices” that have the potential to download personal information from motorists they pull over, and the ACLU would like to know more about them.
The devices, sold by a company called Cellebrite, can download text messages, photos, video, and even GPS data from most brands of cell phones. The handheld machines have various interfaces to work with different models and can even bypass security passwords and access some information.
The problem, as the ACLU sees it, is that accessing a citizen’s private phone information when there’s no probable cause could create a violation of the Constitution’s 4th Amendment, which protects us against unreasonable searches and seizures.
To that end, it’s petitioning the MSP to turn over information about its use of the devices under the Freedom of Information Act. The MSP said it’s happy to comply, that is, if the ACLU provides them with a processing fee in excess of $500,000. That’s more than $100,000 for each of the five devices the MSP says it has in use.
The ACLU, for its part, says that the fee is odious, and that a public policing agency has a duty to its citizens to be open…
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