Dearborn, MI asked in Constitutional Law and Criminal Law for Michigan

Q: Can police put spy software on my phone, if so do they need a warrant and can I know if they did

The police went through my phone to see if they could find any material (didn't) after I was arrested for b and e. (they took it too Lansing state police to have them hack into hit. Now they are giving it back today, do you think they put spying software on it and if so, is it legal

3 Lawyer Answers

Brent T. Geers

Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: Highly unlikely that local police would put spyware on the phone. Doing so costs money and effort to monitor it. This is a new and developing area of the law, but I'm thinking even if the police wanted to put spyware on your phone for some reason, I'd imagine they would need a warrant if they ever wanted to use the evidence gathered against you.

Jeffrey Buehner

PREMIUM
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Farmington Hills, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: Generally speaking, the police would need a warrant to place any software on your phone that tracked your movement or collected information. You can read the most recent U.S. Supreme Court opinion on this matter here: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-402_h315.pdf

You should note, however, that engaging in any illegal activity online may result in your computer's i.p. address being identified which can subsequently lead to police search warrants being served upon your isp. You won't know about that until the police are at your door.

Finally, you should be aware that police departments are increasingly using stingray devices. They don't need to put anything directly on your phone to monitor your phone when using a stingray.

Jeffrey Buehner

PREMIUM
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Farmington Hills, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: Generally speaking, the police would need a warrant to place any software on your phone that tracked your movement or collected information. You can read the most recent U.S. Supreme Court opinion on this matter here: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-402_h315.pdf

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