While smartphones and other such connected technologies have certainly improved our way of life, there are obvious concerns arising everyday about privacy, criminality, and mortality when it comes to these devices.
Legally, there are some fairly alarming grey areas out here in the world wide web. If a 17 year old person sends a personal nude photograph via app or smartphone to another 17 year old person, is there any culpability on the company providing the conduit for what is technically child pornography? If so, SnapChat would have likely gone the way of the dodo back in its infancy.
Furthermore, in the case of crimes committed or conceived via the internet, at what point do police have the right to all of our personal data? If a man is arrested for drunk driving, does the police officer have the right to ask Google or Facebook for the geolocation data of the accused in the hours prior to their arrest? Can the cops unlock their phone and check their digital wallet to see how many beers they bought?
And, even more perplexing is the inevitable question of how egregious a crime must be before these requests are considered to be in the best interest of all involved.
In terrorism cases, this query has been broached time and time again. In the opinion of William Barr, the US Attorney General, those who engage in terrorism should be subject to such invasive, privacy-shattering searches.
“This was an act of terrorism,” Barr said. “The evidence shows that the shooter was motivated by Jihadist ideology.”
At this stage of the investigation, Barr said, digital evidence is vital.
“It is very important to know with whom and about what the shooter was communicating before he died. We call on Apple and other technology companies to help us find a solution so that we can better protect the lives of Americans and prevent future attacks.”
Barr would go on to express his frustration that Apple and others were stonewalling these efforts even after search warrants have been issued.
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