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License, registration, and insurance...or your cell phone

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It's possible that in the near future, if you are pulled over by an officer, you'll just hand over your mobile phone when he asks for license, registration, and proof of insurance.

While electronic versions of these documents would be convenient for many, the current practice of an officer taking the paper/plastic versions of them back to his vehicle while he writes up your ticket, could pose some privacy risks, if he is taking your mobile phone to his vehicle, instead.

What is going to stop him from snooping through your phone, at the same time?

A recently passed bill in New Jersey allows electronic proof of insurance, like 37 other states already allow, but explicitly forbids police from accessing any other information on the phone.

But the original version of that recent NJ bill would have allowed police officers to search a driver's mobile phone without a warrant, to determine if a driver was texting or talking on the phone at the time of an accident.

And while it would be forbidden for an officer to snoop under this current e-insurance bill, it might not be in the next one covering e-drivers licenses, or it might not be under future legislation, or in states other than New Jersey.

And even if snooping is illegal, it would still be up to the officer to be a good guy, acting with integrity and complying with that part of the law. What if he doesn't feel like it? What if he snoops and finds something he can use against you and claims an "oops, my finger slipped" moment, leading to the discovery of that data (or he exploits some other loophole in the law to cover his butt)?

License, registration and cell phone: Showing insurance proof on smart phones coming soon?
E-Driver’s License Legislation in N.J. Gains Momentum

I reckon there's not too many people who dont have a mobile phone, especially here at dc. Option #3 could be modified to: I'm not concerned because I dont own a smartphone (or add as another option?).

Here's what would happen in Turkey, if you let a cop touch your phone. In a nutshell, the police saved known terrorists' phone numbers to the phone of the detainee. Then the detainee was kept in prison for 33 months pending a ruling in court. Then he was acquitted of all charges.

The whole evidence against him was cooked.

So, no, I would never let a police touch my phone.

I say if you willingly hand your phone to a police officer, you should assume that he will snoop through it. But as long as it's just an option, and not required, then I don't mind the choice being there.

Couldn't you use one of the password-protection apps, like Asus' own App Locker that was supplied with my Asus tablet, to prevent easy, casual snooping?


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