Friday, 1 May 2015 - 10:05
Court: Police can't search smartphones without approval
The police are not allowed to just search a smartphone after seizing it as it is contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights, the court in Leeuwarden ruled on April 22nd. According to the court, a smartphone is more than just a phone, Tweakers reports. In the Netherlands, up until the ruling the police in were allowed to search a smartphone after seizing it. The court ruled that doing so without any form of prior assessment is a substantial intrusion into a person's private life. The law that allows police to search a smartphone was established before smartphones existed. According to the court, in 2015 a smartphone is much more than a device that shows you the call history of the user. A smartphone also gives access to other personal information of the user. The court ruled that the Dutch legislation fails to provide a reasonable limitation to the police's investigative powers, which makes the police's investigative powers "in fact unlimited". This is contrary to Article 8 of the of the European Convention on Human Rights. This ruling follows a suspect's WhatsApp conversation being used in a lawsuit, Tweakers reports. The suspect was arrested for public violence. A copy of the suspect's WhatsApp conversation was included in the case file, but did not affect the punishment imposed on him at all as it was certain that he was guilty without it. In this case, according to the court, reading the suspect's conversations was completely unnecessary.