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How 2 protect ur data from snooping cops

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by Achim, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. Achim

    Thread Starter

    ...when you get stopped for a traffic violation?
    That is the question.

    Big Brother's ever tightening noose:

    In a case explicitly decided to set a precedent, the California Appellate court has determined police officers can rifle through your cellphone during a traffic violation stop...

    Florida and Georgia are among the states that give no protection to a phone during a search. In particular, Florida law treats a smartphone as a 'container' for the purposes of a search, similar to say a cardboard box open on the passenger seat, despite the thousands of personal emails, contacts, and photos a phone can carry stretching back years. But after initially striking down cell phone snooping, California has now joined the list of states that allow cops to go through your phone without a warrant.

    Pedestrians are also traffic...
    I.o.w. everybody's phones are now fair game! Especially those phones/cameras used to record evidence of police excess!
    See where this is going?

    Knowing this I'm now immediately embarking on a quest to find a way – a 'kill switch' – to instantaneously make the data on my phone really inaccessible, to anyone (including law enforcement's data extraction gear) but myself, in case I get stopped by police or other suspicious characters.
    I bet millions of others have now woken up too.
    I expect a plethora of apps and other 'solutions' countering this to flood the (underground) market.

    As a kneejerk reflex I think I would favor an always-on trigger, e.g. a two or three word spoken password, that instantly wipes the phone deeply. Which you would be able to restore later, from your PC, because the system includes an up-to-the-second over-the-air backup mechanism. Encrypted of course.

    Any thoughts, people?

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  2. jerofld

    jerofld Fixing stuff is not easy

    I read this article about 6 months ago when I still used my Droid X primarily. I found a pretty easy way of making it so they couldn't scan my phone. The scanner device plugs into the USB port and uses backdoors in the software to scan everything. My solution: Disable the USB port.

    In Titanium Backup, I froze the "usb.apk" app and then tried to connect my phone to a computer. The computer never saw it. The phone would work fine otherwise. So a simple trace pattern and disabling that usb.apk app would protect you on Motorola Blur devices (assuming they still make it an apk driver). To reactivate USB connections, though, I would have to unfreeze the apk and reboot the phone. Haven't found a way to do the same thing on my Evo 3D, yet. I'm thinking data encryption would be the only way to go there.
  3. Achim

    Thread Starter

    You must be clairvoyant then, because this verdict was handed down on September 26, last...

    In normal, day-to-day circumstances I wouldn't want my USB port disabled. I use it all the time. At home, in the car, in the office. For charging and data transfer. Disabling the USB port on a smartphone would be akin to amputating a limb on a human being!

    That won't work because you would be compelled to hand over the password(s), exactly like with TSA/DHS regulations. But if the phone is instantly wiped there are no data on it that need to be encrypted. In that situation having to hand over passwords isn't an issue either. :D
  4. jerofld

    jerofld Fixing stuff is not easy

    Some article I read 6 months ago was covering how cops are now able to do this data retrieval and it made me curious if I could circumvent it. Maybe it was a different state. Michigan maybe.

    The USB port would be a quick thing to do before handing the phone over, not as an all day thing. Considering the cop has to run your plates, you have a little time.

    If all you want to do is wipe your device, then do Menu button > Settings > SD card > Factory reset. But don't you think it'd be a little suspicious that you hand the cop a wiped device? Where as, if you disable the USB port, you can at least make a plausible lie about it being broken and you have to put your battery in a wall charger at night.
  5. Achim

    Thread Starter

    So replace the real data with some pre-pared filler data and innocuous pictures, etc. Registrations, to your name, should stay the same of course.

    Absolutely. That part is OK. But both you and I have also pointed out the disadvantages of this m.o. Imo they are prohibitive IRL. They would make using a smartphone a bonafide counterproductive PITA. Instead of a productive joy!
  6. Simple solution: don't tell them you have a phone.
  7. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    Like they'd believe you. You'd even look more suspiscious IMO.
    foo likes this.
  8. chrisjz

    chrisjz Member

    I don't have anything to hide, but i completely agree with every American out there, that this is an invasion of privacy. I can understand if i was caught selling drugs, or something extreme. But for speeding, they are allowed to go through my personal stuff?? Its just wrong.

    Keep most of your things on your SD card, Pull it out if you get pulled over. I have a completely fried battery that i keep in my glovebox. Switch it out of and just say your battery is dead. Doesn't take but a couple seconds to do both of those.
  9. Yep, or just take your battery out and hand them a dead phone.
  10. Petrah

    Petrah Psychotic Female

    If I were a police officer walking up to your car and I saw you leaning over to your glove box.. you'd have a gun aimed at the back of your head right quick like.

    Just sayin.
  11. Achim

    Thread Starter

    When it's stuck to your windshield for navigation? Yeah, that's real smart!
  12. mrcaptain

    mrcaptain Well-Known Member

    There is no way you can "hide" data stored in your phone. If the police want to see what's on your phone, they will.
    Phones are exactly the same as computers, in that when you delete something, it is still "stored" on the hard drive.
    There is software to get ALL data from a smartphone, same as there is software to get data from computers. The only difference with computers is there is software which basically writes over the data several times, which makes it really hard and sometimes impossible to get at the data. But ultimately, there is always a way.
    Police know the sort of data people have on their smartphines, and if you don't have such data, it will be very suspicious. They will also know the excuses people use, like "my battery is dead" etc.

    If you don't want to get in trouble with the law, don't break the law. If you have no incriminating data on your phone, you have no problem.
  13. Achim

    Thread Starter

    You seem to make the fundamental Tea Party mistake of forgetting that the law is there to serve the citizen! Not the other way around!
  14. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    The law serves as rules to keep things in order. The law serving the citizens in a way by keeping the peace. that said, not breaking ANY law is still justified as the best way to avoid such incidents.
  15. HJAcevedo

    HJAcevedo Well-Known Member

    From what I understand this is a state law? I don't see it holding up too well in court. If they DO somehow find something on you get a writ of certiori and bring it up to the higher courts. This is a complete violation of our rights. A car stop is NOT enough reason to do such an extensive search AND THEN seizure of information.

    My guess is that smartphones are new technology so as of right now the do's and don'ts with a smart phone are up in the air so certain states are looking to bust some folks who don't have any idea how to defend themselves in court with bogus searches like this.

    It's a lot like when wire tapping was first introduced and whatnot. If your state has this bogus law i HIGHLY suggest fighting it. No way federal courts would let this stand.
  16. HJAcevedo

    HJAcevedo Well-Known Member

  17. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Extreme Android User

    The law has been wrong. Tried to bust a family member for a traffic accident, when I had the car in another town and could prove it.

    The law is supposed to keep things in order, but with so many claims (and proof thereof) of excessive force, some cities (Denver is one) are trying to change things around. Denver has paid out substantial amounts for rogues.
  18. Achim

    Thread Starter

    Exactly !
    AND is often abused by those with the opportunity to!

    Did you get reimbursed for the time, effort, expenses, and aggravation it cost you to set things straight?
    Were you intimidated when you did?

    So first the taxpayer finances the police and then the taxpayer also picks up the tab for its transgressions?
    What is wrong with that picture?

    Let's not forget these 'incidents' (20,000+ hits)!
    So Denver is far from unique. Alas. Quite the contrary. This kind of power abuse is not incidental. It is pervasive!
  19. cds0699

    cds0699 Android Expert

    I hear this all the time, and I disagree 110%. I am a law abiding citizen, living in a "free" country. As such, I have a right to my privacy from unlawful search and seizure. So unless they have a warrant, or probable cause, they do not have any right to search my possessions, including my smartphone. I fail to see how there is probable cause to search my smartphone during a routine traffic stop.

    Same old line, "don't do anything wrong and you won't have any problems". Perhaps research and see that innocent people have had their rights violated a lot in the past, and if we don't learn from the past, and our mistakes, then we are bound to repeat them.

    Last thing I want to see is the United States turn into a police state, and it's happening more and more every day. Police having these rights in routine traffic stops is simply one example.
    chrisjz, Wiley_11 and Petrah like this.
  20. gargoyle725

    gargoyle725 Newbie

    in the first post florida was mentioned. Well I live in fl and if you get pulled over for a traffic violation they canot search you car with out permission or probable cause. Leave you phone in the car. Dont give into intimadation., they will say stuff like why not if there is nothing to hide. Just reply with Because I am a citizen of a free country and I dont want you to. Keep in mind this will annoy the officer and a simple ticket will take a long time to write. My wife had her truck searched once and they messed it all up, no damage but threw everything around. Oh and they did not find anything. The funny thing is they Missed an obvious hiding spot that would have fit an ak47. I am very pro law enforcement but will not let my rights be violated by some gung ho rookie. They may not have quatas but they do get brownie points
  21. Achim

    Thread Starter

    That's what they said for over a decade. Turns out they, the police, lied to the public, their paymasters!, all that time! They do have quotas! To fill the city coffers. Literally milking citizens.

    The police are bald-faced liars, and they can never be trusted. And they are sadists when the mood strikes them.
  22. AngryHatter

    AngryHatter Android Expert

    There are bad people in any group and they are no different. That you believe them to be evil as a group speaks more about you than it does about them.:D
    flatlander likes this.
  23. Achim

    Thread Starter

    Don't ridicule the facts away. That says more about you than about what you say. They lied as a group. The quotas pertain to 90% of those groups. The same m.o./attitude applies to all police forces everywhere across the world. It is clearly inherent to the whole 'group'. Thus the whole 'group' needs to be fundamentally mistrusted and closely watched at all times!

    Thank god for phonecams and the internet!
  24. Kelmar

    Kelmar Done by choice

    This thread has quickly turned down hill and is full of half truths and misconceptions (not to mention that the android applications section isn't the place for this debate).

    Personally, I have COMPLETE respect for those who put their life on the line everyday to protect and serve our communities.

    / thread

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