The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution reads:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Effectively, it forbids warrantless searches of one's possessions.
It seems the Nevada legislature - or, at least, some of its members - don't agree.
Nevada bill AB200 allows police to search the phones of everyone involved in a car crash.
"An act relating to motor vehicles; authorizing a peace officer at the scene of a traffic crash to use technology to determine if a driver was using a handheld wireless communications device at the time of the crash; requiring the suspension of the driver’s license of a driver who refuses a request by a peace officer to use such technology; providing penalties;and providing other matters properly."
. . .
The bill states that motorists give up their rights simply by driving in Nevada.
"Section 1 further provides that any person who operates a vehicle in this State is deemed to have given consent to the use of an investigate technology device on the handheld wireless communications device when requested by a peace officer at the scene of a crash. If a person refuses such a request,the peace officer is required to seize the driver’s license or permit of the person and issue an order suspending the license or permit for 90 days."
What does this mean?
If you are granted the privilege to drive by the government you agree to give up your Fourth Amendment right against being searched without probable cause. Do you still think America is the land of the free?
. . .
Being coerced into giving a government employee your personal information means law enforcement has essentially been turned into the TSA. In the coming years we can expect every state to pass laws allowing police to search motorists smartphones.
There's more at the link.
Big Brother indeed! The problem is, such investigations can go much further than simply determining whether or not one was using one's cellphone at the time of an accident. The "investigative device" can (and almost certainly will) download everything on your smartphone: your call and text message history, your contacts, your online passwords . . . whatever you've stored on it. That's already technically possible, and is increasingly common. Once such information has been downloaded, there's nothing to stop police - or anyone else who can access it; the IRS, say? - using it to check on anything and everything about you.
This legislation needs to be defeated; but I daresay there are enough votes to ram it through. Our constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms have been eroded almost to vanishing point. This is yet another nail in their coffin.
When are Americans going to stand up and say, "Enough!"?