Police Officer Charged With Stealing Suspect's Smartphone Nudes

By Darren Orf on at

Earlier this week, a California cop was accused of texting and disseminating nude photos from a 23-year-old woman's smartphone. Well, the depressing end result of this gross accusation is, yep, he totally did it.

The woman, who was being detained as a suspect on a DUI charge, allowed the cop to slip by her passcode so she could look up the phone number for someone she needed to call. Unfortunately, officer Harrington didn't just stick to the contacts app. He also took a detour through the suspect's camera roll and sent photos to his private mobile phone.

Since we're not exactly dealing with the height on intelligence here, the officer neglected to completely cover his tracks. Apple's iCloud actually uncovered the plot since the suspect synced messages from her smartphone with her iPad. She soon noticed that photos had been sent to a number she didn't recognise. This all happened two months after California passed a law in July making it illegal for cops to search smartphones without a warrant.

Harrington was charged with two felonies. Yes, two. Because of course he did it more than once. According to CNET, information shows Harrington texting another officer saying that "her body is rocking." Ugh.

It's worth reiterating that Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone users alike have no legal obligation to provide passcode info to arresting officers. However, a recent legal loophole outlined by a Virginia judgeruled that a cop could forcibly ask for our fingerprint since the court considers fingerprints a "physical object" and not subject to protection under the 5th Amendment. One of the very few setbacks to TouchID and fingerprint scanning mobile security systems.

So be sure to know your mobile rights if you ever find yourself in a legally sticky situation. However, no technology can fully protect you from creepy cops. [CNET]