Just like the law, technology is constantly evolving with each passing day. Smartphone company, Huawei recently introduced pressure-sensitive technology into its new Mate S smartphone, and in demonstrating this technology the company weighed an orange on the screen of the phone. Drug dealers rejoiced with once less piece of parahenalia they need to have, but what impact does this have on a search warrant, if any? Similar pressure-sensitive technology has also recently been released by Apple on its latest line of iPhones, although no mention from Apple as to whether or not this technology has the accompanying software to allow the measurement of weight.
Now you might be wondering what this has to do with drugs, drug dealers and drug trafficking? It is common that when an individual has been suspected of engaging in drug trafficking activities that law enforcement officers not only look at the amount of drugs in the person’s possession, but also look at what other items that the individual may have utilized to further their drug trafficking activities. A key item that law enforcement often cites as proof of drug trafficking is the presence of a scale, used to weigh and measure drugs for packaging for sale, as well as weighing drugs at the time of a purchase. Cell phones also come into play during drug investigations given that cell phones are relied upon as the primary source of communication for most people.
Given the recent Supreme Court Ruling in Riley v. California1, law enforcement now must obtain a search warrant for a person’s cell phone in order to search through content contained on the phone. While text messages alone may provide a plethora of information, it may be that in the future law enforcement may also seek to find information on a person’s phone, specifically looking for data as to the history of what has been weighed, at what time, and associated meta data such as GPS coordinates using this newly implemented pressure-sensitive technology.
1 Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473, 2482 (2014)
If you or a loved one are under investigation or have been charged with activities relating to drug trafficking please give our office a call at 262-632-5000.