Mobile Phone Technology and the Law

Filed under Editorials by Adam Torkildson on September 19, 2016 at 9:19 AM

Not that long ago, not many people even had a mobile phone at all. People who are in their mid-30s right now grew up without them. But now, kids as young as five years old have their own phones, and it’s almost expected that every adult has one, and uses it frequently for all of the major aspects of their lives.

And the law? The law is still catching up with what all of the means. Especially from the perspectives of things like distracted driving, mobile technology that can prevent distracted driving, the use of GPS coordinates for everything, information privacy concerns, and figuring out your own personal way of dealing with mobile phone theft – there’s a lot that needs to be hammered out legally!

From a Lawyer’s Perspective

For better or worse, doing things like talking or texting while operating a motor vehicle can lead to reckless driving. And if there’s an accident that results from that, you can end up in court, and which point a lawyer has to try to figure out how to defend you. Currently, different states have different laws about culpability in this regard, and there are also differences in how states treat you if you’re seen talking while driving, even if you aren’t in danger of causing an accident. Texting and driving may not be drunk driving, but some of the consequences can be the same!

Technology To Help Prevent Infractions and Accidents

And though it’s more prevalent that mobile phone use leads to accidents and infractions, there are also apps in place that prevent phone use while driving. These generally work by you setting up some variables where if you’re moving faster than a certain speed, either your text functionality doesn’t work, or there’s an automatic message that’s generated so that you don’t get distracted by pings on your phone. Legally though, these apps can run into issues with regard to privacy and propriety.

Using GPS Coordinates

There’s an intriguing situation that occurs every once in a while now where people trust their GPS too much that they use on their phones as well. Without paying attention to where you’re going, and instead just focusing on GPS navigation apps, you can end up on private property, and in some cases it turns into a criminal case of trespassing, simply because you were paying more attention to your GPS than road signage.

Information Privacy Concerns

The law is also still in flux when it comes to privacy. The texts that you send, the conversations that you have, the pictures that go back and forth between phones – how many of them end up archived on a server somewhere without your knowledge? And if there’s a crime committed somewhere in the mix, can those record be used?

Figure Out Your Personal Anti-Theft Process

If your phone get stolen, with the incredible amount of information that’s present on it, and much of it personal, do you have a plan for the legal implications? Is there a way for you to remotely shut it down? Can you erase files using your account? Once again, the legal implications of having this information out in the wild should suggest to you the care is in order.

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