Sunday, March 18, 2012

FBI Gets Warrant To Force Google To Unlock Phone

On March 9, the FBI served Google with a warrant requiring them to provide the FBI with the information necessary to allow them to unlock a customer's Android phone.  The case involves Dante Dears, a resident of California who was previously convicted of running a massive San Diego prostitution ring.  Dears had been sentenced to 4 years in prison in 2005 for beating a 15 year old homeless girl he had recruited from a homeless shelter in San Diego.  Dears was released from prison in January of 2009 but he violated his parole 3 times and was sent back to prison to serve an additional 1 and a half years.  Dears remains under house arrest, with an electronic monitoring device affixed to his ankle, until January of 2013.  After he was released from prison in May of 2011, a confidential source met with Dears in his home in Chula Vista California and told authorities that he witnessed Dears accept several phone calls in which he discussed the night's prostitution activities, would send numerous text messages with his phone, and shortly after he would send out the messages, someone would come to his home and give him money.  Armed with this information, his parole officer went to his home on January 17 and seized Dears Samsung Exhibit II Android phone and demanded that Dears unlock the phone's home screen or provide the log in information. Dears refused.  On February 14 the FBI lab reported that they were unable to unlock the phone.  On March 9 the FBI went to a judge and had a warrant issued requiring that Google provide Dears account information, social security number, account log in and password, all contact information and emails stored on the phone, all text messages sent and received, the time and duration of all web pages visited, all GPS data stored on the phone, all search terms used and all of his internet browsing history.  The FBI is claiming that Dears refusal to provide this information violates the terms of his release on parole because he specifically gave authorities permission to get this information when he was released on parole from prison.

Google has not yet disclosed how they will response to this subpoena.  A Google spokesperson said that Google does not comment about specific cases but that they will comply with any lawful requests.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

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