So much for the Fourth Amendment!

The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Effectively, it forbids warrantless searches of one’s possessions.

It seems the Nevada legislature – or, at least, some of its members – don’t agree.

Nevada bill AB200 allows police to search the phones of everyone involved in a car crash.

“An act relating to motor vehicles; authorizing a peace officer at the scene of a traffic crash to use technology to determine if a driver was using a handheld wireless communications device at the time of the crash; requiring the suspension of the driver’s license of a driver who refuses a request by a peace officer to use such technology; providing penalties;and providing other matters properly.”

. . .

The bill states that motorists give up their rights simply by driving in Nevada.

“Section 1 further provides that any person who operates a vehicle in this State is deemed to have given consent to the use of an investigate technology device on the handheld wireless communications device when requested by a peace officer at the scene of a crash. If a person refuses such a request,the peace officer is required to seize the driver’s license or permit of the person and issue an order suspending the license or permit for 90 days.”

What does this mean?

If you are granted the privilege to drive by the government you agree to give up your Fourth Amendment right against being searched without probable cause. Do you still think America is the land of the free?

. . .

Being coerced into giving a government employee your personal information means law enforcement has essentially been turned into the TSA. In the coming years we can expect every state to pass laws allowing police to search motorists smartphones.

There’s more at the link.

Big Brother indeed!  The problem is, such investigations can go much further than simply determining whether or not one was using one’s cellphone at the time of an accident.  The “investigative device” can (and almost certainly will) download everything on your smartphone:  your call and text message history, your contacts, your online passwords . . . whatever you’ve stored on it.  That’s already technically possible, and is increasingly common.  Once such information has been downloaded, there’s nothing to stop police – or anyone else who can access it;  the IRS, say? – using it to check on anything and everything about you.

This legislation needs to be defeated;  but I daresay there are enough votes to ram it through.  Our constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms have been eroded almost to vanishing point.  This is yet another nail in their coffin.

When are Americans going to stand up and say, “Enough!”?



  1. Hey, Oklahoma has gone from "implied consent" alcohol testing–in which your license will be administratively suspended if you refuse the test–to making it a criminal offense to refuse the test.

    What is this "Fourth Amendment" of which you speak?

  2. I didn't see anything in those Nevada bill AB200 words which said that the person being "phone checked" has to be actually involved in the accident. So any witness, or anybody within 500 yards can be forced to hand over the phone? After all, how big is the "scene of a traffic crash"?

  3. I'm thinking keeping a cheap dumb phone with nothing much on it handy and your real phone tucked safely away and powered down might be wise if you have private information on it you don't want leaked to the public by some "public spirited" person that runs across it while snooping.

  4. I have no doubt that the technology exists to extract all your data from nothing more than your phone number. Legal or not, they're going to get from you what they want.
    And if you have a facebarf page it's as good as a de facto Chinese Social Credit Score.

    You know- like leaving comments on Blogger with your Blogger account. Welcome to the future.
    No flying cars, either…


  5. I'll have to stay out of Nevada. My cell is a "Company" phone and considered proprietary and sensitive information.

  6. 'When are Americans going to stand up and say, "Enough!"?'

    Hard to say. There's a lot of ruin in a nation. But you'll know we're there when you see politicians swinging from trees.

  7. 'When are Americans going to stand up and say, "Enough!"?'

    Short Answer… Never. Both my 23 year old son, and 50 year old sister see nothing wrong with any of this. We have spoken in the past about 'state overreach' and neither can really see any happening. I suspect they represent the "Real America" much better than those of us who read and post here.

  8. Skwab:

    That is always the reality of politics. People think our succession war with Great Britain (Revolutionary War, which it wasn't) was an all-hands fight. Not so. IIRC, only 20% were actively supporting it, and maybe 3% fighting. The biggest chunk were neutral, and some opposed it.

    There is always a large group who are clueless to what is happening. Until their own nose gets bloodied, most people go along to get along. That is why things always go to hell before people wake up and decide to address a problem. Mostly this is too late to easily fix things. Churchill has a famous ww2 comment about this situation.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *