Phones and mobile devices store nearly endless personal information. From photos, messages and contacts to detailed browsing history – one can gather a lot of information very quickly if they can unlock your device. Taken out of context, any of this data can easily be seen as incriminating information.

Recently New Jersey’s Supreme Court ruled that lawfully issued search warrants can call for defendants to turn over their phone’s passcode. Opponents of the ruling question whether this violates an individual’s privacy rights.

A lack of comprehensive data privacy laws

Unfortunately, the Garden State currently does not have comprehensive data privacy laws. This means smart devices and most of the information stored in the digital environment is fair game to those who know how to access it. What does this mean for you? Before the new ruling, you only needed to worry about protecting your information from online theft. Now you must also worry about protecting it from the police.

What can you do?

The first line of defense is you. Law enforcement continuously oversteps boundaries when performing a search and seizure. This change gives them even more authority. Taking precautionary data privacy steps can help prevent the content of your own phone from being used against you. Make sure to:

  • Avoid saving passwords to your device
  • Avoid oversharing on social media and networking platforms
  • Regularly take stock of your digital footprint and delete unneeded accounts or profiles

If your phone was seized and unlocked during a search and seizure, get in touch with criminal defense lawyer Anthony Palumbo today by calling 908-643-6801 or by emailing the firm. We offer free initial consultations so you can get the help you need.