Law enforcement and intelligence agencies around the world use facial recognition technology and other AI in investigations to track targets’ movements and as evidence in prosecutions. While books and movies often portray this technology as highly advanced and foolproof, reality can be quite different. Recent cases have demonstrated that facial recognition technology is far [...]
When someone is being investigated or charged with a criminal offense, it is one of the most stressful and unnerving times of the person’s life. It is common to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about who to hire and what to ask in the initial consultation with a criminal defense attorney. Below are some tips on [...]
ProPublica recently reported that Facebook hired 1000 workers around the world to review WhatsApp messages that are flagged as “inappropriate.” WhatsApp markets itself as a private messaging platform that secures those messages with end-to-end encryption that only the participants can view. Billions of people around the world use WhatsApp and other such “secure” messaging services to exchange private, sensitive business or personal messages.
Much has been written and tweeted about this past week concerning this topic. Politics aside for the moment, what does the government need to demonstrate to a court that a place should be searched, or a person’s phone calls should be intercepted?
You’ve just enjoyed a great vacation in Europe and are now on your way home. After suffering the hassles of long lines and security at the airport and a cramped flight in coach, you arrive back at Newark Airport. You patiently wait in line for the Customs and Border Entry check and sail through after casually chatting about your trip with the officer who stamps your United States passport and welcomes you back home. While waiting at the luggage carousel and hoping that your luggage hasn’t been lost, you’re approached by a Customs and Border Protection officer (“CBP”) and asked to come with him to another room. In that room, CBP officers ask you about your travels - why you were there, how long you were gone, who did you meet and what did you do. You explain that it was a simple, straightforward holiday trip that you had saved up for over the past year. The officers then ask for your cellphone, iPad and computer. You ask why and they say that it is routine. They examine the devices and find that they are all password protected. They ask you to unlock your devices so that they can examine the contents. You are shocked, you are a U.S. citizen with constitutional rights to privacy. Doesn’t the Fourth Amendment protect you from unreasonable searches and seizures, and require the officers to have a warrant supported by probable cause? Usually it does, but not at the border. When you re-enter the United States, you enjoy significantly fewer protections against searches and seizures.
Between the President’s accusation that the prior President tapped his phones, and WikiLeaks recent exposure of alleged CIA hacking tools and techniques, much has been reported in recent days about the government’s ability to intercept and listen to our conversations over our cellphones; computers; smart home devices such as televisions and baby monitors; products such as Alexa and Amazon Echo; encrypted messaging apps such as Signal, WhatsApp and Telegram; and home security cameras and systems. All of these devices provide potential ways for the government and hackers to enter our seemingly private worlds and eavesdrop. The difference between the government and a hacker, however, is that the government must obtain a court authorized warrant to do so.