Opinion: Michigan cops imposing a digital police state

Posted by David Gomez

Michigan State Police are accused of stealing driver’s cell phone data on routine traffic stops. Michigan has become a digital police state.

And if people in Michigan just stand by and let this digital totalitarian crap continue, it will probably come to your state too. We are a nation of copycats after all, governments in the United States like to take other people’s ideas to control people and make them their own.  
    
Now I’m assuming that the cops are taking people’s phones during traffic stops and plugging it into the machine the machine they supposedly have, because that’s what most of the stories have said. However, a story from the Detroit News on April 13 said that the devices were able to get this information from the phones without the owner’s knowledge.
    
But then late last night the MSP told CNET News that:
 
"The MSP does not possess DEDs that can extract data without the officer actually possessing the owner's mobile device. The DEDs utilized by the MSP cannot obtain information from mobile devices without the mobile device owner knowing."
    
It’s nice to know that the Detroit media has had trouble getting its story straight. I guess they don’t always have time to get the full story on civil liberties issues that impact Michigan citizen’s lives.

According to theNewspaper.com, the machine the MSP have can also blast right through any password protections and get to files:
    
“A US Department of Justice test of the CelleBrite UFED used by Michigan police found the device could grab all of the photos and video off of an iPhone within one-and-a-half minutes. The device works with 3000 different phone models and can even defeat password protections.”
    
This should be upsetting to everybody, but it’s especially upsetting to me because I freaking have to live here. I like Michigan, but the government is ruining our state and I’d say that this is proof of that.
    
As of now the only people trying to do something about these ludicrous digital police state actions is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan. The ACLU has submitted dozens of requests under Freedom of Information Act to the State Police since 2008. They told the state police that they want detailed information about how the MSP are using the CelleBrite UFED in their day to day operations.
    
And then the state police turned around and told the ACLU that it would cost $544,680 to retrieve the documents that disclose how five of the devices were used. Over a half a million dollars to find out what the MSP are up to. That’s doesn’t raise any red flags or anything.
    
After filing even more FOIA requests, state police officials then told the ACLU that no documents existed for the time period in question. It sounds like the MSP are giving the ACLU the runaround because they know they’re guilty of something. They keep trying to block the ACLU because they don’t want the public know how these phone scanning devices are being used.
    
To me that’s a sign of guilt and shows that something about the MSP’s policy with the phone scanners isn’t right. It either doesn’t exist, or their official policy tells them to openly violate people’s Fourth Amendment rights.
    
Of course if any official documents regarding these phone scanners do exist, you can bet your ass that somewhere within those documents it says something about “preventing terrorism” or something like that. That’s the excuse we always get post 9/11.
    
If something is bad and strips people of their rights, our “leaders” just tell us to shut up because it’s protecting us from terrorists.

Can you believe that Popular Mechanics wrote a related article asking: Should Cops Be Allowed To Scan Your Phone During A Traffic Stop? The answer to that question is hell no.
    
Michigan has become a digital police state. If I lived in another state, I’d be following this issue really closely because there is a damn good chance that police departments in other states might decide they want to try this too.
    
I mean come on; you guys don’t actually think this a good idea do you? It's time to get mad.
 

See more about: