Does a Cop Have a Right to Your Smartphone?

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Let’s say I’m driving along and texting even though I know I shouldn’t be. That’s me everyday right there. Now, let’s say I get pulled over, and for some reason the cop asks to see the phone to see what was so important.

Do I have to hand it over? If my phone has a password, am I obligated to type it in? If he starts getting pushy with me should I just start videoing the whole encounter as YouTube-revenge-backup-protection?

As smartphones have allowed us to have our computers, emails, social media feeds, and a full surveillance system in our pockets at all times, stories of the law enforcements unease with that have been popping up in the press. And of course, the ones that become viral videos aren’t exactly flattering for law enforcement.

I returned as a panelist on last week’s episode of NBC’s Press:Here where we get into what your legal rights are with the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Hanni Fakouri. For the whole episode, including background and examples of cases proving smart phone precedents right now, go here. Below is a clip where we asked Fakouri, EFF’s views on what is legal aside, what you should do if you’re caught in one of these dicey situations.