Archive for February, 2011

Practice safe phone

Monday, February 28th, 2011

We all know that it's not a good idea to make phone calls while driving; indeed, in many jurisdictions it's flat out illegal. The problem is, though, that it's just too easy, and maybe too tempting, to just reach out and touch someone while in the car. If you need a little help remembering, there's the Phone Condom.

This zip-up plastic bag comes pre-printed with messages like "Park Your Phone: Drive Your Car" to remind you of the potential for problems if you drive and talk. Created by Innocorp, Ltd, a Wisconsin company focusing on safety and prevention concerns, this is a low tech solution to a high tech problem. Sure, there's nothing to force you to stick your phone in the bag, but frankly anything that makes you less likely to make that call when you shouldn't is a good thing.

You can order a Phone Condom from their website for $1.99. While it's not free, if it helps keep you safer, it might be money well spent.

Warrantless search of cell phones

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

If you're up to no good in California, or even if you're just concerned about your personal privacy, a recent Supreme Court ruling may be of interest to you. In the case, People v. Diaz, 165 Cal. App. 4th 732, the Court ruled that the police could search the cell phone of the accused without a warrant. While authorities have always been able to check an accused's clothing and personal possessions for the presence of weapons or contraband, this decision takes that search to a new level. For many people, the contacts, documents, text messages, and other data held in their smart phone makes it more like a briefcase than just an instrument to make phone calls on.

The Court's decision was not unanimous, and there has been a great uproar in the legal community about how this authority to search these devices squares with Fourth Amendment protections. The decision is expected to be appealed to the US Supreme court. In the meantime, if you're worried about the data in your phone, you might want to make sure you've password protected your information.