I was looking through some marijuana forums earlier this morning, and I saw a discussion about marijuana and texting. The person that created the thread received a picture of marijuana via cellphone, and was wondering if the cops could find out and/or use that against him. If you are ever arrested for a marijuana related offense, yes, law enforcement can easily obtain your phone records. That includes pictures, texts, etc. The reason that I know this is because I have had at least one friend of each major cellphone provider get their information used against them in court. The cops have to subpoena the records, which takes hoop jumping, but they will gladly do it if it helps their case.
There are numerous people out there (myself included) that think this oversteps privacy bounds, especially when it comes to marijuana only activity. From what I can tell, only one major cellphone provider was willing to even fight on behalf of customers. Blackberry fought to block people from accessing it’s customer’s information, but they eventually gave in due to threats from India and the Middle East. There was a proposed “blackout” of wireless Internet and messaging , which would render Blackberrys little more than an average, no data cell phone.
“BlackBerry security architecture was specifically designed to provide corporate customers with the ability to transmit information wirelessly while also providing them with the necessary confidence that no one, including RIM, could access their data,” a company statement read. So why did they change? As the Financial Times reports, it’s all business. “While the Abu Dhabi headquarters of Etisalat, the dominant telecoms operator of UAE, still proudly and prominently displays its selection of top-end BlackBerrys, the company’s salespeople are warning potential customers off the popular handset, and urging them to buy iPhones instead.”
So as you can see, cellphone companies have no loyalty to you. If they don’t cooperate with governments and law enforcement, they will get threatened and go running to their piggy banks. I know some people that have text things about marijuana since texting became popular over a decade ago and been fine. On the flip side, I know people that haven’t had a phone that long that got busted, and what they said was used against them later. It’s up to you how much risk you are willing to take I suppose.
I know that some medical marijuana patients send texts to other medical marijuana patients all the time. They don’t have anything to hide, so they don’t worry about it. Other people involved in marijuana might not be so worry free and should be advised. Texting in code always helps of course!
After 9/11, society became aware of new levels of surveillance that tried to pick up ‘chatter’ in electronic communications. One thing that I always thought about was what surveillance people think when they come across the following text conversation, which is all too common out there in the marijuana world:
Friend 1 – Hey bro, do you got that bomb?
Friend 2 – Yeah man, it’s killer, I got the bomb til Tuesday so you better hurry up.
Friend 1 – Sick! I will meet you after work, bring the fire
I always pictured a team of people in one of those CIA control rooms you always see on television, and one of the many people hunched over their workstations exclaims, ‘hey captain, I think I have something over here!’ :)