You are your cellphone and the New York Police Department
knows your phone identifies you better than a fingerprint or an identity card because you can be marked and tracked throughout your life in real time and the breadcrumbs of your history in movement and communication can be recorded, saved, and used against you for future prosecution — and it may not be legal.
A recent internal memo says that when cops make an arrest, they should remove the suspect’s cell phone battery to avoid leakage — then jot down the International Mobile Equipment Identity number.
The IMEI number is registered with the service provider whenever a call is made.
And that data could allow a detective to match, for example, a cell phone used by one suspect to a phone used by another…. civil libertarians are alarmed by the new policy since normally a warrant is needed to obtain information such as calls made or numbers in an address book.
New York Civil Liberties Union associate legal director Christopher Dunn said it appears the NYPD is “taking phones apart to get information” without warrants.
“It’s hard to believe they feel there’s a real need to take out the battery to prevent leakage,” he said. “Instead, it looks like they’re doing this to circumvent the warrant process.”
Should recording an IMEI part of the booking process?
Should the NYPD be allowed to download the call history from your phone
and any documents or other data stored on the phone?
Or are the NYPD going too far to entrap you in future crimes by digitally associating you in a known time and place in an indeterminate future?