|PRIVACY: Americans want police to get warrants before searching
the contents of suspects’ cell phones.
Eighty-three percent of Americans believe police should obtain a warrant
before searching the contents of a suspect’s cell phone, according to the
results of a recent survey.
The survey published by Microsoft’s Digital Constitution blog was conducted
between July 7 and 8, 12 days after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled
police need to obtain warrants before searching the contents of suspects’ cell
Eighty-six percent of respondents also favored police following the same legal
requirements in the digital realm as they do in the physical realm when seeking
out personal information stored on paper.
Seventy-nine percent of respondents said the federal government needs to follow
local privacy laws when seeking email information.
Microsoft is currently suing the federal government over a warrant it issued to
the company to obtain data from the company’s servers in Ireland.
Fifty-six percent of respondents worry that “if the U.S. government decides it
can demand information in other countries without going through their
governments, then other countries will follow suit and force companies to turn
over Americans’ private information.”
“As all of this suggests, the American public understands what’s at stake for
technology and the future of privacy,” said Brad Smith, general counsel and
executive vice president for legal and corporate affairs at Microsoft, in a blog
post about the survey.
The survey results represent a marked change in public attitudes towards privacy
and security since former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden
leaked classified documents exposing the surveillance and intelligence
activities of the United States and United Kingdom.
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Snowden’s activities raised the profile of the privacy debate out of
tech circles and into a mainstream spotlight.
A Pew survey taken immediately after The Guardian and the Washington
Post began publishing documents provided by Snowden revealed that at
the time, a majority of Americans viewed the NSA’s phone tracking
activities were an acceptable way to combat terrorism.
Contact Josh Peterson at email@example.com. Follow Josh on
Twitter at @jdpeterson
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Josh Peterson is a DC-based tech reporter for the Franklin Center's
Watchdog.org news site. Peterson previously spent two years at The
Daily Caller covering tech and telecom regulatory policy as the
publication's Tech Editor. During that time, he focused on
cybersecurity, privacy, civil liberties, and intellectual property
issues, and in addition to covering political protest movements.
Prior to joining The Daily Caller in October 2011, Peterson spent
time in DC researching and reporting on technology issues in
internship roles with Hillsdale College's Kirby Center, Broadband
Breakfast and The National Journalism Center, and The Heritage
Foundation. Peterson has a B.A. in Religion and Philosophy from
Hillsdale College. He is also a musician and music enthusiast, and
an avid martial artist.
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