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What good is a cellphone when it is just another way for cops to monitor you?

May 03, 2012 What good is a cellphone when it is just another way for cops to monitor you?

My somewhat new iPhone has been a tremendous improvement to help me practice law. On top of the benefits I discuss here, the Garman navigation GPS app is superior to the Blackberry GPS app, and is a one-shot expense.

However, as opposed to the BlackBerry that I used, numerous webpages and apps on the iPhone ask my permission to track my location. Even though I mainly only allow the Garman GPS to do that, my doing so makes it easy for all my movements to be tracked. Even if I did not to engage GPS, cellphone technology makes their owners very easy to track.

Have we come to a point in society where one’s home is the only place one can pick one’s nose without being watched doing so? Surveillance cameras are ubiquitous today. For those not aware of that, just look at the cameras overlooking every cash register at Target stores, targeting your every move and nose pick.

Tyrone Davis learned the hard way that cellphones are no friends of ours in the privacy arena. Montgomery County, Maryland, law enforcement obtained a warrant to listen to his cellphone conversations (yes, wiretap technology can hear our cellphone conversations). His wiretapped smoking gun conversation that led to his drug felony conviction took place in Virginia on a phone that was obtained and set up out of Maryland, and with another call party who was outside of Maryland. Yet, the Maryland’s Court of Appeals, 5-2, yesterday had no problem allowing the interception and use of Davis’s Virginia conversation, reasoning that jurisdiction to do the wiretap was fine because the police listening post was in Maryland. Davis v. Maryland, ___ Md. ___ (May 2, 2012).

Praised be the Davis dissent for tearing into the majority’s reliance on the analogous federal law for finding the police listening post location in Maryland allowed the wiretap. The dissent insists that the unambiguous language of the wiretap law requires the conversation to be in Maryland in order to allow the interception.

George Orwell shakes his head. 

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