Protect Your Data From Illegal Law Enforcement Searches
Posted by finid
on June 27, 2011
Category : Commentary
Tags : privacy
“Can police officers enter your home to search your laptop? Do you have to give law enforcement officials your encryption keys or passwords? If you are pulled over when driving, can the officer search your cell phone?” Those are very important questions that you need to be prepared for, if you own a computer or a mobile phone. If you are reading this, you probably own one or both.
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Staff Attorney, Hanni Fakhoury:
That smart phone in your pocket right now could contain email from your doctor or your kid’s teacher, not to mention detailed contact information for all of your friends and family members. Your laptop probably holds even more data — your Internet browsing history, family photo albums, and maybe even things like an electronic copy of your taxes or your employment agreement. This is sensitive data that’s worth protecting from prying eyes.”
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects you from unreasonable government searches and seizures, and this protection extends to your computer and portable devices. In EFF’s “Know Your Digital Rights” guide, we outline various common scenarios and explain when and how the police can search the data stored on your computer or portable electronic device — or seize it for further examination somewhere else — and give suggestions on what you can and can’t do to protect your privacy.
You may read the guide here or view a one-page summary here (pdf)