Sunday, June 18, 2017

Israeli AG opines on permissibility of warrantless consent search of soldiers' cellphones

Haaretz reports that Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit (a former Military Advocate General), has issued an opinion supporting the prosecution's appeal of a Military Court of Appeal decision requiring a warrant to search soldiers' cellphones even if the owner consents to the search. Excerpt:
Mendelblit write the opinion regarding an appeal filed by military prosecutors to the Supreme Court on conducting searches of soldiers' phones without a warrant.
Military prosecutors want the court to overrule the military court of appeals, which ruled in November 2016 that extracting information from a soldier’s phone using laboratory techniques, based only on the soldier’s consent, was illegal.
Mendelblit wrote that the military court of appeals made a significant mistake since the suspect’s permission to carry out the cellphone search provides the authority to do so, even without a judicial search warrant.
Once someone under investigation agrees to such a search, they waive their right to privacy, said Mendelblit. If the suspect gives informed consent (with or without limitations), a search warrant becomes unnecessary. The use of a search warrant is not the only way to conduct a legal search of a cellphone, added the attorney general.
The Supreme Court is due to hear the government's appeal tomorrow.

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