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Police may not need your phone to get information from it 

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Smartphones contain an incredible amount of information about the person who owns the phone. If that person is being investigated for a crime, it’s very likely that police officers and investigators would like to search the phone for evidence. They may want to read text messages, email messages or direct messages. They may want to look at pictures and videos. 

As a general rule, the police have to get the owner’s permission to search the phone – or they have to get a search warrant. With a warrant, they can sometimes compel the owner to turn over or unlock the phone. But one important thing to remember is that they may not need to deal with the phone at all.

Where is that information stored?

Much of the information on a person’s phone is backed up in the cloud. This means that it can be accessed remotely and could be stored on other servers. It is not necessarily localized information on that device.

For example, say that police officers would like to read your Facebook messages. You refuse to give them your consent. They get a warrant and serve it to Meta, Facebook‘s parent company. Meta then turns over the contents of your Facebook messages. The police never access your phone at all, but they still get the evidence that they were seeking.

Did the police violate your rights?

It is important for investigators to gather evidence properly and without violating your rights. For instance, if they conducted an illegal search, the evidence they gathered may need to be excluded from court. If you are facing serious criminal charges, be sure you know what legal options you have.