I’ve somewhat praised Governor Moonbeam for vetoing a lot of stupid Democratic ideas. But in the rush to pass several hundred new laws at the end of session, I think he erred badly by (a) signing a bill banning open carry; and (b) vetoing this one:
This week California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have required police to obtain a warrant before searching an arrestee’s mobile phone. The bill, which was unanimously approved by the state Assembly and passed the state Senate by a vote of 32 to 4, was introduced in response to People v. Diaz, a January decision in which the California Supreme Court said examining a drug suspect’s text messages 90 minutes after taking him into custody is a valid “search incident to arrest.”
This may no sound like much, but keep in mind what a modern cell phone contains: GPS information on places you’ve been, text messages, e-mail, call records, pictures, video and Angry Birds. In fact, it’s possible, through the wonder of cloud computing, that a cop could use a cell phone to access your tablet, laptop and home computer. I don’t see how anyone could reach any conclusion other than that free access to a cellphone is free access to your “persons, houses, papers, and effects”.
Considering the huge amount of laws out there, the complete lack of care with which our politicians pass those laws — especially laws regarding technology, I can guarantee that your computers contain evidence of some law you have deliberately or inadvertently broken. Are you sure all those girls in /home/games/checkers/saved_games/march/2009/stalemate are of legal age? Nothing illegally downloaded, is there? Videotape a cop, have him arrest you on a bogus obstruction charge and suddenly you might be facing a felony count for having a ripped copy of Weekend at Bernie’s 2.
We are getting more and more of this from state and federal government. Crimes rates are the lowest they have been in half a century, but our politicians continue to eat away at our civil liberties to make sure we’re not doing something wrong.