Would you hand your phone to a stranger? Perhaps.
Would you let a stranger use your computer? Most people, this time, say no.
Why the difference? Perception.
People rightfully believe that their computer contains an enormous amount of confidential and proprietary information. In the hands of a malicious stranger, the stranger can do a lot of damage. A phone, though, until recently accepted and made telephone calls.
The NYTimes wrote about a recent bill proposed to end the stupid and horrible behavior of texting and driving. It needs to be stopped but not this way. The NYTimes explains that
An officer arriving at the scene of a crash could ask for the phones of any drivers involved and use the Textalyzer to tap into the operating system to check for recent activity.
The technology could determine whether a driver had used the phone to text, email or do anything else that is forbidden under New York’s hands-free driving laws, which prohibit drivers from holding phones to their ear. Failure to hand over a phone could lead to the suspension of a driver’s license, similar to the consequences for refusing a Breathalyzer.
A cop can take your smart-phone (mini-computer) plug it in to a police server because he thinks you were T&Ding. The rest of the NYTimes article highlights some privacy concerns including:
I give my computer to a cop because he thought I was texting and driving.
I think it’s important that we start to distinguish more between the former mobile-phone and the current mini-personal computer that is AKA a smartphone. The mini-personal computer, for most people, contains a credit card, banking information, email, text messages, and much more. Some even include fingerprints. There is no one I’m going to hand my mini-computer to a stranger who with a few minutes and internet connection can steal my information and delete my computer’s hard drive.
Your phone doesn’t just make telephone calls anymore. It also reveals where you go every day, who you speak to, your documents, who you’re connected to, your calendar, where you spend money, and much more.
P.s. I’m not quite sure how this will be effective. Texters can simply place a $9 Samsung flip phone in the car to give to the cop OR deny having a phone.
P.s.s. I hope our senators know something I don’t.